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26 September 1991
... 1. Marty South’s Letter to Edred Fitzpiers (ThomasHardy: The Woodlanders, end of Chapter XXXIV) Deer Mister Fitzpiers A’m writen to thee now to tell thee what may lie heavy on thy belly! Yon hiair that Barber Percomb took that wer my hiair, by t’Holy ...

Embarrassed

Graham Hough

7 October 1982
Thomas HardyA Biography 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 637 pp., £15, June 1982, 0 19 211725 4
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The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. III: 1902-1908 
edited by Richard Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 367 pp., £19.50, July 1982, 0 19 812620 4
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The Neglected HardyThomas Hardy’s Lesser Novels 
by Richard Taylor.
Macmillan, 202 pp., £17.50, May 1982, 0 333 31051 9
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Good Little Thomas​ Hardy 
by C.H. Salter.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £15, August 1982, 0 333 29387 8
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Thomas Hardy​ and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form 
by Penny Boumelha.
Harvester, 178 pp., £18.95, April 1982, 0 7108 0018 5
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Illustration and the Novels of Thomas​ Hardy 
by Arlene Jackson.
Macmillan, 151 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 333 32303 3
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... There has been an abundance of good critical writing about ThomasHardy, from Lionel Johnson in 1894 to our own day, but his biography has been in a curious condition from the start. The authorised version (Early Life, 1928; Later Years, 1930) is supposed to be by ...

Raining

Donald Davie

5 May 1983
Later Poems 
by R.S. Thomas.
Macmillan, 224 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 333 34560 6
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Thomas Hardy​ Annual, No 1 
edited by Norman Page.
Macmillan, 205 pp., £20, March 1983, 0 333 32022 0
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Tess of the d’Urbervilles 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Juliet Grindle and Simon Gatrell.
Oxford, 636 pp., £50, March 1983, 0 19 812495 3
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Hardy’s Love Poems 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Carl Weber.
Macmillan, 253 pp., £3.95, February 1983, 0 333 34798 6
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. I: Wessex Poems, Poems of the Past and the Present, Time’s Laughingstocks 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 403 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 0 19 812708 1
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... At the end of a recent and refreshingly untypical poem R.S. Thomas, recalling his sea-captain father, addresses him where he lies in his grave:               And I, can I accept your voyages are done; that there is no tide high enough to float you off ...

Cheeky

Norman Page

16 March 1989
Collected Letters of Thomas HardyVol. VI, 1920-1925 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 379 pp., £27.50, March 1987, 0 19 812623 9
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Collected Letters of Thomas HardyVol. VII, 1926-1927 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 304 pp., £29.50, October 1988, 0 19 812624 7
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Thomas HardyThe Offensive Truth 
by John Goode.
Blackwell, 184 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 631 13954 0
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The Thomas Hardy​ Journal. Vol. IV: October 1988 
edited by James Gibson.
Thomas Hardy​ Society, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1988, 0 00 268541 8
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Hardy’s Metres and Victorian Prosody 
by Dennis Taylor.
Oxford, 297 pp., £32.50, December 1988, 9780198129677
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Collected Short Stories 
by Thomas Hardy.
Macmillan, 936 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 47332 9
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... is another ghostly volume we are unable to read, for it contains all those letters that have been lost or destroyed. Hence a scholarly enterprise such as the Purdy/Millgate edition, now complete, of Hardy’s letters, handsomely produced and impeccably edited though it is – or perhaps precisely because it has such a finished and monumental look – can inadvertently create a false impression ...

Ghosts

Hugh Haughton

5 December 1985
The Life and Work of Thomas​ Hardy 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Michael Millgate.
Macmillan, 604 pp., £30, April 1985, 0 333 29441 6
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The Literary Notebooks of Thomas HardyVols I and II 
edited by Lennart Björk.
Macmillan, 428 pp., £35, May 1985, 0 333 36777 4
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Emma Hardy’s Diaries 
edited by Richard Taylor.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 216 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 0 904790 21 5
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The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. V: 1914-1919 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 357 pp., £22.50, May 1985, 0 19 812622 0
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy, Vol. III 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 390 pp., £32.50, June 1985, 0 19 812784 7
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Annals of the Labouring Poor: Social Change and Agrarian England 1660-1900 
by K.D.M. Snell.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £30, May 1985, 0 521 24548 6
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Thomas​ Hardy 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 547 pp., £12.95, June 1984, 0 19 254177 3
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... In a letter of May 1919 Hardy told his friend Sir George Douglas he hadn’t been doing much, ‘mainly destroying old papers’. ‘How they raise ghosts,’ he added. He was still at it in September when he complained of the ...
2 August 1984
The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. IV: 1909-1913 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 337 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 19 812621 2
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The Letters and Prose Writings of William Cowper. Vol. IV: 1792-1799 
edited by James King and Charles Ryskamp.
Oxford, 498 pp., £48, March 1984, 0 19 812681 6
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The Land and Literature of England: A Historical Account 
by Robert M. Adams.
Norton, 555 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 393 01704 4
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. II 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 543 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 812783 9
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... The fourth volume of the Collected Letters of ThomasHardy opens with a recommendation for Mr Harry Pouncy, ‘Lecturer and Entertainer’, of Dorchester, apparently with a view to his extending his fascinations to a wider public. There follows a note to ...
24 January 2013
... Pancras Old Church Cemetery. I might go into the church and heave a sigh or two before continuing via a gate set in the cemetery wall to the Mary Rankin Wing of St Pancras Hospital. As a young man, ThomasHardy supervised the removal of bodies from part of the cemetery to make way for the trains. He placed the headstones round an ash tree sapling, now grown tall, where I stop sometimes to look at the ...

Cramming for Success

James Wood: Hardy​ in London

14 June 2017
Thomas HardyHalf A Londoner 
by Mark Ford.
Harvard, 305 pp., £20, October 2016, 978 0 674 73789 1
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... the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.’I was often put in mind of ‘The Painter of Modern Life’ while reading Mark Ford’s study of ThomasHardy. Ford doesn’t mention it (though he does refer to Baudelaire’s flaneurial poems), perhaps because that manifesto is too obvious, or too obviously theoretical: he prefers to build his case ...

Diary

Christopher Nicholson: Rare Birds

22 November 2018
... Mr Rhodes. 4. 1825, month unknown. Shot near Leeds, Yorkshire, by Lord Harewood’s keepers. 5. 1827, 15 October. Shot in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire; became part of the collection of the Rev. Thomas Gisborne of Staffordshire, known for his 1797 book, An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex. Exhibited, along with a Baillon’s crake, at a meeting of the Literary and Philosophical Society of ...

In the Graveyard of Verse

William Wootten: Vernon Watkins

9 August 2001
The Collected Poems of Vernon Watkins 
Golgonooza, 495 pp., £16.95, October 2000, 0 903880 73 3Show More
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... of Watkins as a hard-working, pleasant and largely irrelevant anachronism to prevail, and for poets and critics to forgive him, by forgetting how in the 1930s and 1940s, under the influence of Dylan Thomas, he was an eager perpetrator of New Romanticism. Watkins was at Repton and Cambridge with Christopher Isherwood, and makes a cameo appearance as the gullible Percival in Lions and Shadows ...

Anxious Pleasures

James Wood: Thomas Hardy

4 January 2007
Thomas HardyThe Time-Torn Man 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 486 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 670 91512 2
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... but ‘stretched out in a horizontal line, like a gigantic ostrich feather whose tip kept blowing away’. But where Flaubert turns his train-steam into writing, flourishing his fine literary simile, Hardy, flirting with the pictorially gnomic, seems to want to resist that conversion; Hardy would like to preserve the visuality of the detail. Hardy was supremely a man ‘who used to notice such things ...

Hardy’s Misery

Samuel Hynes

4 December 1980
The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. 2 
edited by Richard Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 309 pp., £17.50, October 1980, 0 19 812619 0
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... The first volume of Hardy’s letters, published two years ago, covered the three decades from 1862, when at 22 he set off for London to work as an architect, to 1892, the year after the publication of Tess. The story that ...
14 November 1996
Letters of Emma and Florence Hardy 
edited by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 364 pp., £45, April 1996, 0 19 818609 6
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... Hardy’s wives were not inclined to be reticent about the trials of life at Max Gate. Florence was struck with uneasiness after one particularly edgy bout of discontent: ‘I hope you burn my letters ...

Enlarging Insularity

Patrick McGuinness: Donald Davie

20 January 2000
With the Grain: Essays on Thomas Hardy​ and Modern British Poetry 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 346 pp., £14.95, October 1998, 1 85754 394 7
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... been expected either to abandon Britain and British poetry, or to devote himself to them. In his idiosyncratic and contradictory way, he chose to do both. His reputation has suffered as a result. ThomasHardy and British Poetry was first published in 1972, and written in California, where Davie had taken up a professorship at Stanford. With the Grain reprints the Hardy book in its entirety, along ...

Kiss me, Hardy

Humphrey Carpenter

15 November 1984
Peeping Tom 
by Howard Jacobson.
Chatto, 266 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 7011 2908 5
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Watson’s Apology 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth, 222 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 7156 1935 7
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The Foreigner 
by David Plante.
Chatto, 237 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 7011 2904 2
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... if the outside they were set in was somehow also metaphorical, that’s to say was really the inside of something else.’ So it’s rather a blow to Barney to discover he’s a reincarnation of ThomasHardy. The discovery comes about at a séance organised by Sharon in her bookshop, where, under the influence of a hypnotist, Barney finds himself recounting, in the first person, Hardy’s memory of ...

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