Reading Thomas Hardy: Selected Poems
Thomas Hardy is unique in English literature as a major novelist who is also a major poet. His collected poetry is among the most distinctive bodies of verse in the language, and includes such pinnacles of the lyric tradition as ‘The Darkling Thrush’ and the series of haunted love-elegies written in memory of his first wife Emma and such instantly recognizable titles as ‘Drummer Hodge’, ‘A Trampwoman’s Tragedy’, ‘Convergence of the Twain’. It is also among the most controversial. Ever since his poetry first appeared in the collection Wessex Poems in 1898, readers and critics alike have stumbled over its awkwardnesses or been seduced by its idiosyncratic music, have celebrated its unprecedented formal inventiveness or deplored its perceived lack of ambition. It has been variously read as an archetype of the Victorian intellectual odyssey, as the work of a proto-modernist, and as the fountainhead of contemporary British verse. At once traditional and modern, the acme of artifice and a conduit of intense emotion, it remains a critical enigma. This exemplary study guide seeks to set Hardy’s poetry in the context of his life, times and literary heritage, and to understand, through a close reading of selected poems, both the challenge it offers to criticism and the elusive power it continues to exert over each new generation of readers. All his collections are introduced including Wessex Poems, Poems of the Past and Present, Time’s Laughingstocks, Satires of Circumstance, Moments of Vision, Late Lyrics and Earlier, Human Shows and Winter Words.
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appeared ballad Basingstoke Casebook central Chosen Poems collection’s couplet Darkling Thrush Davie’s dead diction dimeter Donald Davie Dorset Dylan Thomas Dynasts Edition Edmund Gosse effect Emma Emma’s emotional English essay example F. R. Leavis final line final stanza Hardy poems Hardy’s poetry Hardy’s verse Hardyan hexameter HMVP Human Shows Julie-Jane Julie-Jane’s Keats’s Larkin Late Lyrics literary Lyrics and Earlier Macmillan Max Gate memory metre metrical feet Moments of Vision narrative nature Neutral Tones novels past pentameter perhaps Philip Larkin poem Hardy poem’s Poems of Thomas poet poet’s poetic Poetry of Thomas present prose published Review revised rhyme rhythm Satires of Circumstance scene second stanza seems sense Song speaker stanza form stylistic thematic theme third stanza Thomas Hardy Thomas Hardy London Thoughts of Phena Time’s Laughingstocks tion tive Tom Paulin typical Victorian W. H. Auden Wessex Heights Wessex Poems Wind and Rain Winter Words writing