Thomas Hardy's Public Voice: The Essays, Speeches, and Miscellaneous Prose
Thomas Hardy has generally been viewed as an intensely private figure, shy of publicity and even of people, self-isolated in his Dorsetshire home, and much more cautious and conservative in his personal outlook than might be expected of the author of Tess of the D'Ubervilles and Jude the Obscure. What the present volume reveals is that Hardy's public utterances, addressed to a wide range of literary, social, and political issues, were far more numerous and various than has previously beenimagined. His essays, speeches, and other acknowledged pieces, both formal and informal, are here fully described, edited, and annotated, together with the letters he wrote to newspapers and the many unsigned items, from obituaries to clandestine contributions to literary gossip-columns, that have now been securely or tentatively identified. Also described, although not necessarily reproduced, are his designs for tombstones and memorials, and some of the more striking instances of his lendinghis (immensely famous) name to causes and organizations of which he approved and to public letters initiated by others. The edition as a whole is thus a major work of textual scholarship and a rich source of fresh and often surprising information about a little understood aspect of Hardy's life and work.
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