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Thomas Hardy

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Thomas Hardy Cover

ISBN13: 9780143112877
ISBN10: 0143112872
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Whitbread Award winner Claire Tomalin's seminal biography of the enigmatic novelist and poet Thomas Hardy. Today Thomas Hardy is best known for creating the great Wessex landscape as the backdrop to his rural stories, starting with Far from the Madding Crowd, and making them classics. But his true legacy is that of a progressive thinker. When he published Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure late in his career, Hardy explored a very different world than that of his rural tales, one in which the plight of lower classes and women take center stage while the higher classes are damned. Ironically, though, Hardy remained cloaked in the arms of this very upper class during the publication of these books, acting at all times in complete convention with the rules of society. Was he using his books to express himself in a way he felt unable to do in the company he kept, or did he know sensationalism would sell?

Award-winning author Claire Tomalin expertly reconstructs the life that led Hardy to maintain conventionality and write revolution. Born in Dorset in 1840, Hardy came of age in rather meager circumstances. At sixteen, he left home for London and slowly worked his way through many rejections to become a published writer. Despite his mother's admonitions to never marry, he wed Emma Lavinia Gifford in 1874 and, even though he fell easily in love, stayed true to her till her death in 1912. He frequently toured London society, but few felt they knew the true Hardy, and it is this very core of self that Tomalin elegantly brings us to know so completely. Hardy's work consistently challenged sexual and religious conventions in a way that few other books of his time did. Though his personal modesty and kindness allowed some to underestimate him or even to pity him, they did not prevent him from taking on the central themes of human experience — time, memory, loss, love, fear, grief, anger, uncertainty, death. And it was exactly his quiet life, full of the small, personal dramas of family quarrels, rivalries, and at times, despair, that infuses his works with the rich detail that sets them apart as masterpieces.

In this engrossing biography, Tomalin skillfully identifies the inner demons and the outer mores that drove Hardy and presents a rich and complex portrait of one of the greatest figures in English literature.

Review:

"[An] original, compelling interpretation of this constantly surprising writer." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Review:

"This is the triumph of the biographer's art, of which Tomalin is a master." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Full of empathy and clear thought, Tomalin has written a compelling, riveting story as well as a thoroughly researched biography." Boston Globe

Review:

"Tomalin's treatment throughout is well informed but popular in focus; she has no political or theoretical ax to grind....[H]ighly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Do we want or need yet another biography of Thomas Hardy? Does anything important remain to be discussed? The answer, according to Tomalin, is an emphatic yes. Her calm and knowing book proves worthy of its subject." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"A richly introspective biography sure to rekindle interest in Hardy's writing." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"This new biography makes its subject a fascinating case study in mid-Victorian literary sociology." New York Times

Synopsis:

"A masterful portrait" (The Philadelphia Inquirer) from a Whitbread Award-winning biographer

The novels of Thomas Hardy have a permanent place on every booklover's shelf, yet little is known about the interior life of the man who wrote them. A believer and an unbeliever, a socialist and a snob, an unhappy husband and a desolate widower, Hardy challenged the sexual and religious conventions of his time in his novels and then abandoned fiction to reestablish himself as a great twentieth-century lyric poet. In this acclaimed new biography, Claire Tomalin, one of today's preeminent literary biographers, investigates this beloved writer and reveals a figure as rich and complex as his tremendous legacy.

About the Author

Claire Tomalin is the author of seven highly acclaimed biographies, including the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year, Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Gopa, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Gopa)
This biography brings Thomas Hardy alive in a rare way. As a young person in school, I was given plenty of Thomas Hardy to read, but could never understand why my uncle, and esteemed professor at Harvard, considered him one of the best writers in the English language. To me it was just old... But in this biography, the author paints the world Hardy lived in so vividly and tells his story as if she were writing about a dear friend. I was sorry to finish the book. But then I found that rereading his poetry, I could also see and understand the people about whom he was writing, understand his wry humour, and ache for his heartache. The poems came alive as if they were English haikus, wherein a single line brought a whole scene into perfect clarity. So although this book was not new in 2010, it was absolutely my favorite and I thank the author for this gift.
The ten hours' light is abating
And a late bird wings across,
Where the pines, like waltzers waiting,
Give their black heads a toss
...
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780143112877
Author:
Tomalin, Claire
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Author:
Tomalin, Claire
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Authors, English
Subject:
Novelists, English
Subject:
Authors, English -- 20th century.
Subject:
Novelists, English -- 20th century.
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Edition Description:
Mass Market
Publication Date:
20080131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Two 8-page b/w photo inserts, per Lindsa
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
8.36x5.54x1.13 in. 1.05 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Thomas Hardy New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.25 In Stock
Product details 512 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143112877 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[An] original, compelling interpretation of this constantly surprising writer."
"Review" by , "This is the triumph of the biographer's art, of which Tomalin is a master."
"Review" by , "Full of empathy and clear thought, Tomalin has written a compelling, riveting story as well as a thoroughly researched biography."
"Review" by , "Tomalin's treatment throughout is well informed but popular in focus; she has no political or theoretical ax to grind....[H]ighly recommended."
"Review" by , "Do we want or need yet another biography of Thomas Hardy? Does anything important remain to be discussed? The answer, according to Tomalin, is an emphatic yes. Her calm and knowing book proves worthy of its subject."
"Review" by , "A richly introspective biography sure to rekindle interest in Hardy's writing."
"Review" by , "This new biography makes its subject a fascinating case study in mid-Victorian literary sociology."
"Synopsis" by ,
"A masterful portrait" (The Philadelphia Inquirer) from a Whitbread Award-winning biographer

The novels of Thomas Hardy have a permanent place on every booklover's shelf, yet little is known about the interior life of the man who wrote them. A believer and an unbeliever, a socialist and a snob, an unhappy husband and a desolate widower, Hardy challenged the sexual and religious conventions of his time in his novels and then abandoned fiction to reestablish himself as a great twentieth-century lyric poet. In this acclaimed new biography, Claire Tomalin, one of today's preeminent literary biographers, investigates this beloved writer and reveals a figure as rich and complex as his tremendous legacy.

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