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A Laodicean (Penguin Classics)by Thomas Hardy
Synopses & Reviews
The daughter of a wealthy railway magnate, Paula Power inherits De Stancy Castle, an ancient castle in need of modernization. She commissions George Somerset, a young architect, to undertake the work. Somerset falls in love with Paula but she, the Laodicean of the title, is torn between his admiration and that of Captain De Stancy, whose old-world romanticism contrasts with Somerset's forward-looking outlook.
Paula's vacillation, however, is not only romantic. Her ambiguity regarding religion, politics and social progress is a reflection of the author's own. This new Penguin Classics edition of Hardy's text contains an introduction and notes that illuminate and clarify these themes and draws parallels between the text and the author's life and views.
First published in 1881, this is one of Hardy's most unusual novels, a contemporary romance in which the heroine is torn between her infatuation with a dilapidated castle, a wealthy railway contractor, and her desire to be a part of the modern world.
Using the restoration of a castle as a framework, classic novelist Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) considers the ancient analogy between architecture and philosophy. "Laodicean" is a term for early Christians lukewarm in their beliefs. Hardy's character, passionate architect George Somerset finds himself captivated by "Laodicean" Paula Power, whose views on conventions of any kind are lukewarm at best. 13 illustrations.
About the Author
Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840. In his writing, he immortalized the site of his birth—Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester. Delicate as a child, he was taught at home by his mother before he attended grammar school. At sixteen, Hardy was apprenticed to an architect, and for many years, architecture was his profession; in his spare time, he pursued his first and last literary love, poetry. Finally convinced that he could earn his living as an author, he retired from architecture, married, and devoted himself to writing. An extremely productive novelist, Hardy published an important book every year or two. In 1896, disturbed by the public outcry over the unconventional subjects of his two greatest novels—Tess of the DUrbervilles and Jude the Obscure—he announced that he was giving up fiction and afterward produced only poetry. In later years, he received many honors. He died on January 11, 1928, and was buried in Poets Corner, in Westminster Abbey. It was as a poet that he wished to be remembered, but today critics regard his novels as his most memorable contribution to English literature for their psychological insight, decisive delineation of character, and profound presentation of tragedy.
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