A comprehensive up-to-date of Thomas Hardy’s major work written by a specialist Hardy scholar.
Description: Widely popular throughout the world, Hardy still seems to speak to us, in fiction and in poetry, as our contemporary. In this new edition of his popular study, Peter Widdowson identifies the elements in his work which enable Hardy to be read in this way: the focus on unstable class and sexual relations in a society undergoing rapid change; the highly-charged and contradictory representations of women at the heart of this dangerously ‘metamorphic’ social process; the self-reflexive artifice of the writing itself as an aspect of Hardy’s ‘satiric’ worldview; his ironic humanism in the ‘new Dark Age’ of the modern world. Drawing on contemporary approaches to literary study in an accessible way, the essay offers a sketch of Hardy criticism up to the present; re-reads all the novels in brief to show where this radical and destabilising Hardy is to be located in the text; and similarly attempts to recast our conception of Hardy the Poet by showing how preconceived and selective it is. This short book, therefore, offers a comprehensive guide to reading Hardy anew as a writer who continues to challenge our assumptions about art and life.
Author: Widdowson , Peter