Top critical review
11 people found this helpful
Kindle edition review
on 13 April 2011
Lovers of Thomas Hardy's poetry are not well served by the ebook editions currently available but this seems to be the best on offer. There is a short, illuminating introduction by Claire Tomalin setting the poems in the context of Hardy's life and the poems are grouped by subject or biographical content with brief notes on most of the groups. Each poem starts on a new page and most of Hardy's best known poems are included. However the selection contains less than a hundred poems and some well known ones are inevitably left out. You will not find Beyond the Last Lamp, Friends Beyond and In Tenebris to pick out three.
The ebook edition does have a number of rather glaring faults. For some reason, except where he numbered stanzas, Hardy's division of his poems into verses has been done away with. In some poems the division into verses is integral to the poem's construction, for example in Afterwards, Wessex Heights and During Wind and Rain. Not having the stanza breaks detracts greatly from the enjoyment of reading the poems. There is no reason for it and it seems to indicate a certain fecklessness in production by the publishers.
The book does have a table of contents where each poem is listed but the table cannot be reached from the Go To facility on Kindle. To get to it after reading poems you have either to go to the cover and page forward or go to the Beginning, which takes you to the introduction, and page backwards. There is no index of poems by titles or first lines so the table of contents is the only way of navigating to individual poems.
All told, given the price, this thoughtlessness of production leaves you feeling a bit miffed. And the price is an issue. This is an ebook delivered by simple electronic transfer. There are no material costs, no binding or printing costs and no costs for transporting the book to a retailer, yet the ebook is more highly priced than the paperback. Make up your own mind about the pricing policy of this so-called eminent publisher.
UPDATE April 2014 My comments regarding price are less appropriate now as the price has been reduced by about 50% since I wrote the review and the Kindle edition is now lower priced than the paperback.