Alphabetical Index by Title to Published Reviews --
Selected from over 130 Book Reviews available on Members' Research Resources Page:


You can search this page by using CTRL+F and typing a search term into the box


 

Forthcoming Reviews:
 
 

 


Landscapes of Eternal Return: Tennyson to Hardy by Roger Ebbatson. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. Pp 236. ISBN-13: 978-3-319-32838-6.

To be reviewed by Indy Clark, The University of Queensland,
forthcoming in The Hardy Review, XIX, no. 2.





Moral Authority, Men of Science, and the Victorian Novel
by Anne DeWittCambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Pp. 290. ISBN-13: 978-1107036178


To be reviewed by Pamela Gossin, University of Texas - Dallas and University of Nebraska - Lincoln, forthcoming in The Hardy Review, XIX, no. 2.



 


Thomas Hardy, Poet: New Perspectives edited by Adrian Grafe and Laurence Estanove. MacFarland & Company, Inc., 2015. Pp. 232. ISBN -13: 978-0786495382

To be reviewed by Gillian Steinberg, TTHA's POTM and FORUM Director, forthcoming in The Hardy Review, XIX, no. 2.




Thomas Hardy and Victorian Communication: Letters, Telegrams and Postal Systems
by Karin Koehler. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. Pp. xii + 246. ISBN-13: 978-3-319-29101-7


To be reviewed by John McIntyre, University of Prince Edward Island, forthcoming in The Hardy Review, XIX, no. 2.





Published Reviews:






"Affective Worlds": Writing, Feeling and Nineteenth-Century Literature by John Hughes. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2011. Pp: 173. ISBN: 978-1845194420.

Reviewed by Tracy Hayes,
PhD candidate at the Open University, in The Hardy Review, XV, no. 2.

Excerpt -- Through what he refers to as an 'epistemology of feeling', Hughes examines the works of Blake, Wordsworth, Edgar Allan Poe, Tennyson, Charlotte Brontë and Thomas Hardy in order to demonstrate how particular threads within the novels and poetry have been influenced by aspects of each individual author's sensibility and thought. For readers not familiar with the concept of 'affective' reading, Hughes describes this technique as 'a form of philosophically and biographically informed criticism that construes a writer as investigating the physical or emotional determinants of mind, as well as the social conditions of subjectification, through the figurative, expressive, and narrative means of his or her art' (1). This allows Hughes to then analyse 'the related positions of cognitive subjectivity that texts produce in the minds of speaker, character, or reader' (1).  (link to full review)





After Darwin: Animals, Emotions, and the Mind by Angelique Richardson. Amsterdam: Rodopi (Clio Medica: Perspectives in the Medical Humanities), 2013. Pp. 369. ISBN: 978-90-420-3747-2.

Reviewed by Heidi L. Pennington, James Madison University, in The Hardy Review XVII, no. 2, p. 89 - 94:
Excerpt -- The essays in After Darwin: Animals, Emotions, and the Mind address questions of human-animal continuity, the emotional life of morality, and the embodied nature of the mind. As a collection that unites disciplines as (seemingly) disparate as pediatric medicine, animal behavior, and literary studies, it’s no surprise that these essays—through varied engagements with Charles Darwin’s legacy—put pressure on several significant assumptions we continue to make about minds, bodies, emotions, and species. Scholars of Thomas Hardy may be particularly intrigued to trace two ideas elaborated throughout the collection: first, Darwin’s suggestion that the “mind” is a distinctly physical and embodied phenomenon; second, how this rejection of the traditional mind/body dichotomy leads to a similar reassessment of the continuities between feeling and thinking in living beings. (link to full review)



 

Afterward: Conjuring the Literary Dead
, edited by Dale Salwak. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2011. Pp. xvii + 229. ISBN 978-1-58729-989-6.

Reviewed by Andrew Radford, University of Glasgow, Scotland, in The Hardy Review, XV, no. 2:

Excerpt -- In this volume an impressive array of living novelists, poets, textual scholars and biographers craft a ‘community of writers unbounded by the limitations of time and death’ (p. ix) by summoning and questioning the ghosts of great writers past.... Strolling ‘along a dusty Wessex lane’, Aldiss has a chance encounter with Hardy, who is sitting on ‘a folding stool’, sketching a village church (p. 108). Hardy’s winter words, touching upon how writers regulate the perception and reception of the personal and communal past, turn to Charles Darwin and how the evolutionist’s rationalistic findings had the effect of liberating dissident or maverick intellectuals from ‘all that hocus-pocus’ synonymous with dogmatic Christianity (pp. 108-109). This lively exchange prompts Aldiss to reconsider Hardy’s fictional and poetic endeavours ‘to express a new awareness of humanity’s predicament’ (p. 114) in a universe largely devoid of theological or metaphysical solace. (link to full review)




dutta


Ambivalence in Hardy: A Study of his Attitude to Women by Shant Dutta.  Anthem Press, 2007. Pp. 256. ISBN 978-1843317296.

Reviewed by Rebecca Welshman, doctoral candidate, University of Exeter, in The Hardy Review XII, no. 2, p. 162 - 4:

Excerpt --Dutta’s discussion of Hardy’s work clearly shows that Hardy not only sought to represent women from different backgrounds – from heiress to dairy maid – but also sought to delineate women’s characters in as many circumstances and moods as possible.  Dutta observes a more steely side to Hardy’s character; his desire to represent life as it really was, rather than conform to what editors required of him, all the while recognising the negative criticism which this was likely to provoke.  Throughout her analyses Dutta consistently represents ambivalent conflicts within and between Hardy’s characters, such as Wildeve being ‘caught between two conflicting loyalties’ in Return of the Native (p.48).  In Hardy’s fiction Dutta observes ‘vivid, volatile and unpredictable’ human beings; more than ‘mere type[s].’  (link to full review)


yeazell cover


Art of the Everyday: Dutch Painting and The Realist Novel by Ruth Bernard Yeazell. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2008. Pp. xx + 252. ISBN 978-0-691-12726-2.

Reviewed by Kathie Bassett, M.L.A. candidate, Washington University in St. Louis, in The Hardy Review XI, no.1, p. 65 - 8:

Excerpt -- Ruth Bernard Yeazell, commenting on Simon Shama’s assertion that the popularity of Dutch painting in Europe provided the “first mass        consumers’ art market,” [1] argues in the art of the everyday: Dutch Painting and the Realist Novel that the widespread appeal of the nineteenth-century novel represents the “second” such mass market (5).  Noting the equivocal reception of the novel as an artistic creation, Yeazell proposes in this thoughtful study to “address a problem of taste”: “What did the art of the Dutch Golden Age mean to the nineteenth-century, and what was at stake when critics invoked its precedent – as they often did – to justify or attack the realistic fiction of their day?” (xv).  (link to full review)


morgan


The Ashgate Research Companion to Thomas Hardy, edited by Rosemarie Morgan.  Ashgate Publishing, 2010. Pp. 603. ISBN 978-0-7546-6245-7.

Reviewed by Philip Purchase, Washington University in St. Louis, in The Hardy Review XIII, no. 2, p. 174 - 181:

Excerpt -- Where, then, are we to situate this Research Companion, a volume that inevitably dwells in the shadow of the encyclopedic? The volume's implied reader is familiar with Hardy's work and life, and has a sense of relevant literary and historical background. Such a reader will find two crucial merits in the Companion: articles of a consistently high level of scholarship that are engaged with, and thus suggest further reading in, the vast Hardy bibliography, and a number of pieces that suggest new possibilities and new directions for Hardy studies. The book throughout is characterized by a strong sense of the companionate. With few exceptions, the writing is welcoming, lucid, and even-handed in its treatment of the critical tradition, and gives a heartening sense of the collegial underpinnings of Hardy scholarship.  (link to full review)

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Cover for
                Bible and Novel


Bible & Novel: Narrative Authority & the Death of God by Norman Vance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013 pp. 256. ISBN 978-0-19-968057-3.

Reviewed by Dale Kramer, University of Oregon, in The Hardy Review XVI, no. 2, p. 107 - 9:     
Excerpt -- With Hardy, Vance offers a balanced assessment with touches of elegance: e.g., “he could not altogether convince himself that God and religious thought were of purely antiquarian interest with no bearing on the moral life of man” (118). Vance is comfortable weaving between Hardy’s cool assessment of human isolation from God and the seemingly irresistible wan hope and even assumption of a spiritual element available to belief. (link to full review)



The Bigamy Plot: Sensation and Convention in the Victorian Novel by Maia McAleavey.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.  Pp. 260. ISBN-13: 978-1107103160

Reviewed by Molly O'Donnell, Instructor, University of Nevada - Las Vegas, in The Hardy Review, XVIII, no. 2, p. 92 - 4:

        Excerpt --
It is difficult to believe that bigamy, seemingly omnipresent in the plotting of the Victorian novel, has heretofore not been treated in a book-length study of nineteenth-century literature. In part, it is this                 meeting of necessity and novelty that makes Maia McAleavey’s The Bigamy Plot: Sensation and Convention in the Victorian Novel a worthy project. Yet this well-researched and theoretically savvy work’s value often         lies less in earth-shattering revelations and more in delicious little ironies centered on good reading, fascinating historical asides, and reminders of engaging items we may have learned and forgotten.(link to full review)




felstiner


Can Poetry Save the Earth?: A Field Guide to Nature Poems by John Felstiner.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.  Pp. xiv + 396. ISBN 978-0-300-13750-7.

Reviewed by William W. Morgan, poet, poetry editor of The Hardy Review and professor emeritus from Illinois State University, in The Hardy Review XII, no. 1, p.67 - 9:

Excerpt --  The book’s other claim, offered somewhat tentatively, is predicted by the question that forms the book’s title: Can Poetry Save the Earth?  Well, maybe, Felstiner answers; but if it can’t, then probably nothing can.  Certainly poetry could, he seems to think, if everyone read nature poetry with the kind of passionate attention that he brings to it.  But that passionate attention, he would argue, is not a feature of his particular temperament or personality; it is demanded by the character of the poems themselves.  They set the world before us with such intensity, such clarity, such beauty, that we turn from the poems to see the natural world itself with renewed clarity—and, yes, with love.  (link to full review)


wilson


A Companion to Thomas Hardy (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture)
edited by Keith Wilson.  Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.  Pp. xvi + 488. ISBN 1405156686.

Reviewed by Dale Kramer, University of Oregon, in The Hardy Review XII, no. 2, p. 154 - 162:

Excerpt -- Wilson manages his massive volume according to several foci, neatly arranging his contributors’ essays in one of five categories – “The Life,” represented by only Michael Millgate’s “Hardy as Biographical Subject”; “The Intellectual Context,” with seven essays on such topics as the inevitable relationship between Hardy and such topics as philosophy, genre, and gender; “The Socio-Cultural Context,” with another seven pieces on art, music, love, and class; “The Works,” comprising twelve essays on various aspects of the major and some not major novels, short stories, and poetry; and the other inevitable, “Hardy the Modern,” three essays linking Hardy to the presumably altered era that came after. (link to full review)


siddall


Contexts in Literature: Landscape and Literature
by Stephen Siddall.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Pp. 128. ISBN 0521729823.

Reviewed by Philip Purchase, Washington University in St. Louis, in The Hardy Review XII, no. 2, p. 150 - 4:

Excerpt -- Pastoral carries with it a vexed set of relationships with other terms, notably landscape and the representative strategies that approach it.  This is to say that any reading of the literary countryside will have to reckon with pastoral, landscape, and the interplay of the two as part of its methodology.  The stance taken on these issues will necessarily inform further approaches to environmentalism, gender and economic history, and social class.  To address landscape is to address the ways pastoral has framed the very concept of landscape; to address pastoral is to ask to what extent landscape is a crucial defining facet of the genre.  (link to full review)





Darwin the Writer
by George Levine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp. 272. ISBN 978-0199608430.

Reviewed by John Glendening, the University of Montana, in The Hardy Review, XIV, no. 2, p. 92 - 7:

Excerpt -- One relatively minor but ongoing strain of Darwinian interest and scholarly publication, however, though thoroughly enmeshed with science and history, concentrates on how Darwin’s writing fashions and promotes his ideas.  From Victorian times on, but with increasing insight, it has been recognized that his prose, especially in the Origin, which Darwin’s autobiography characterizes as “one long argument,” not only presents theories and concepts but deploys various rhetorical tactics in support of his theory of evolution by means of natural selection.  And it increasingly has been understood that his argumentation entails appeals to imagination and emotion, often embedded in figurative language as in his presentation of “the tree of life” or of natural selection as a God-like observer, that by today’s standards seem contrary to scientific discourse.  George Levine’s Darwin the Writer (2011) makes the most significant contribution yet to our understanding of how style and form, imprinted with personality and culture, meshes with content in Darwin’s scientific, creative writing.  (link to full review)


beer


Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth Century Fiction by Gillian Beer. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Third Edition. Pp. 294.

Reviewed by Anna Henchman, Boston University, in The Hardy Review XIII, no. 1, p. 89 - 91:

Excerpt -- Nearly thirty years after its initial publication in 1983, Darwin’s Plots feels as vibrant and full of surprises as ever.  What is more visible now is the flowering of studies of science and literature that have been inspired by the ongoing work of Gillian Beer and by this book in particular.  The 2009 edition, dated to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th birthday of Origin of Species, contains an updated list of readings related to Darwin and a brilliant new chapter, “Darwin and the Consciousness of Others.”  (link to full review)


wolfreys


Dickens to Hardy 1837 - 1884: the Novel, the Past and Cultural Memory in the Nineteenth Century
by Julian Wolfreys.  Houndsmill, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.  Pp. v + 293.  ISBN 978-0-333- 69623-1.

Reviewed by Keya Kraft, Postdoctoral Associate at Washington University in St. Louis, in The Hardy Review XII, no. 1, p.71 - 4:

Excerpt -- Julian Wolfreys argues that through Hardy’s depictions of a landscape layered by the remnants of the past, “occasionally, a dissenting English alterity emerges, given representation through its indelible impress on the landscape,” and it is precisely this elusive ‘other’ that is “in danger of occlusion or obliteration” (199) at the end of the century.  These expressions of alterity in Hardy’s depictions of the English countryside, which have caused much readerly anxiety and misunderstanding, surface at precisely the moment that a local, traditional culture appears to be succumbing to the inexorable progress of modernity. (link to full review)





A Distant Prospect of Wessex: Archaeology and the past in the life and works of Thomas Hardy by Martin J. P. Davies.Oxford : Archaeopress (Information Press), 2011.  Pp. viii + 218. ISBN 978-1905739417.

Reviewed by Kevin Padian, Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator in the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley, in The Hardy Review, XV, no. 1, p. 96 - 9:

Excerpt -- In this fascinating new book, Martin Davies has given us the gift of an entirely new perspective on Hardy’s work:  that of the archaeologist, the “antiquarian” (sometimes in an ironic sense, as for Parson Tringham), the emerging scientist, the novelist, the poet, the student of human nature.  The subject is elusive.  Davies organizes his book loosely around Hardy’s major works (novels and poems), and each chapter comprises a series of mini-essays about aspects of these works that relate to archaeology.  Archaeology does not appear consistently or uniformly in Hardy’s works, but Davies uses his publications and letters to reach some general conclusions about Hardy’s involvement.  Hardy was current with the developing field of archaeology, and especially its local aspects; he lived in one of the richest archaeological districts in England, and he clearly appreciated the layers of civilization that had left their artefacts to us over the course of millennia.  He was greatly concerned with factual accuracy in archaeological reports and interpretations.  (link to full review)





Double Jeopardy: Women Who Kill in Victorian Fiction
by Virginia B. Morris. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2015. Pp. 192.
ISBN-13: 978-0813153582

Reviewed by William Davis, Jr., Notre Dame of Maryland University, in The Hardy Review, XVIII, no. 1, p. 92 - 93:

Excerpt -- Hardy, in other words, creates a jury of readers, restricts their view of Tess’s criminal action, and plants in their minds the idea of the “primeval sacrifice” of his heroine.  Sacrificed to what, one might ask?  With her execution Hardy “lodge[s] an outraged protest against the treatment of women—especially poor, ‘fallen’ women—by society in general and the courts in particular” (140).  Tess is executed not just by the legal system (the mechanisms of which Hardy withholds from readers); her culture also participates in her condemnation and execution. Overall this is a thought-provoking chapter. 
(link to full review)


schoenfeld cover


Dysfunctional Families in the Wessex Novels of Thomas Hardy by Lois B. Schoenfeld.  Lantham, Boulder, New York, Toronto, and Oxford: University Press of America, 2005.  Pp. xii + 286. 
ISBN 978-0761831693. 

Reviewed by Philip V. Allingham, Associate Professor, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, in The Hardy Review, IX, p. 102 - 4:

Excerpt -- But what is really missing from the Wessex Novels is stable, supportive families, especially the sort of emotionally rich life of the extended family that Hardy himself knew as a boy at Bockhampton. The real Dorset was undoubtedly possessed of happy children, loving parents, and successful businessmen -- Hardy's Wessex is not ... in Hardy's world the central figure, alienated and cut off from such emotional and financial supports, is doomed.
(link to full review)





Economic Woman: Demand, Gender, and Narrative Closure in Eliot and Hardy by Deanna K. Kreisel.  University of Toronto Press, 2012. Pp. 320. ISBN 978-1442642492.

Reviewed by Emily Coit, Worcester College, Oxford, in The Hardy Review, XV, no.1, p. 99 - 102:

Excerpt -- As Kreisel notes, we have heard a great deal about the anxiety provoked by the uncertainties—both epistemological and financial—of the credit economy in which the capitalist operates. One of her achievements in this book, however, is to show us that in the Victorian era, amassed wealth need not be eerily intangible to elicit fear. The gold under the mattress may not provoke epistemological crisis as readily, but it can be just as ominous a herald for economic crisis. Similarly, her book suggests that readers interested in the intersections between literature and economics in the nineteenth century should give renewed attention to female consumers who are problematic not because of their excessive appetites, but because of their failures to desire and to spend. (link to full review)


hughes


'Ecstatic Sound': Music and Individuality in the Work of Thomas Hardy by John Hughes. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2001. Pp. 246 ISBN 978-1-84014-633 8.

Reviewed by Drew Edward Davies, Assistant Professor, Department of Music, Northwestern University, in The Hardy Review, XI, no. 1, p. 69 - 71:

Excerpt -- Few authors index music, music making and natural sounds as ubiquitously as Thomas Hardy. Throughout his poems and fiction, Hardy employs sonic images almost diagetically in order to construct ironic dichotomies of sonorous beauty in times of loss and to communicate a heightened sense of human experience, whether sorrowful or joyful. ... Nonetheless, scant literature has focused specifically on the web of meanings inferable from the musical passages in Hardy’s works, a task masterfully undertaken by John Hughes in Ecstatic Sound, an erudite book aimed primarily toward literary historians and critics, as well as toward intellectuals with a detailed familiarity with Hardy.  (link to full review)


tucker


Epic: Britain's Heroic Muse by Herbert S. Tucker.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2008.  Pp. viii + 737.  ISBN 978-0-19-923298-7. 

Reviewed by Ross C. Murfin, E.A. Lilly Distinguished Professor of English, Southern Methodist University, in in The Hardy Review,XI, no. 2, 144 - 50:

Excerpt -- In his fittingly epic study Epic:  Britain’s Heroic Muse 1790-1910, Herbert F. Tucker explains that, although the epic was creatively and variously reinvigorated in the nineteenth century, Romantic and Victorian writers (from Robert Southey to Thomas Hardy) who adopted the form (in works ranging from Joan of Arc to The Dynasts) nonetheless approached their task with an ambivalence that twenty-first-century readers can understand. This ambivalence is grounded in what Tucker calls “the long conspiracy to make the ongoing appeal of epic look like a sideshow attraction, safely off the common reader’s beaten path . . . .  The splendor of epic, so the lesson runs, is a glory that was.” (link to full review)


wainwright


Ethics and the English Novel from Austen to Forster
by Valerie Wainwright.  Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. Pp 200. ISBN 978-0754654322.

Reviewed by Sara A. Malton, Associate Professor, St. Mary's University, Halifax, Canada, in The Hardy Review XII, no. 1, p.67 - 9:

Excerpt -- As its title promises, Valerie Wainwright’s Ethics and the English Novel from Austen to Forster is at once a learned and broad ranging study. Engaging with the complexities of various strands of ethical thought, Wainwright puts a range of nineteenth- century novelists in useful conversation with contemporary thinkers on culture, ethics, and modernity.  Wainwright’s aim is to examine several prominent novels’ exploration of what she terms an “ethics of modernity” (2).  (link to full review)


ozturk


Evolutionary Aesthetics of Human Ethics in Hardy's Tragic Narratives by Riza Öztürk. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011. Pp. 160. ISBN 978-1443828970.

Reviewed by M. Kari Nixon, PhD candidate, Southern Methodist University, in The Hardy Review XVI, no. 2, p. 103 - 7:

Excerpt -- Riza Öztürk’s Evolutionary Aesthetics of Human Ethics in Hardy’s Tragic Narratives (2011) presents a surprisingly unique perspective on Hardy and evolutionary theory. Öztürk’s monograph sidesteps the well-worn paths into which Darwinian scholarship has settled, as well as the familiar methodologies of the discipline as a whole. This is paradoxically both the book’s strongest and its weakest point. Since Öztürk uses Evolutionary Aesthetics to initiate applied readings in the nascent critical perspective of evolutionary literary studies, it simultaneously provides a welcome theoretical innovation and also falters because of this innovation, as it struggles to bear the weight of an as-yet unpolished, rather unwieldy theoretical framework. (link to full review)


glendening


The Evolutionary Imagination in Late Victorian Novels: An Entangled Bank
by John Glendening. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. Pp 293. ISBN 978-0754658214.

Reviewed by Jessica Webb, Ph.D. candidate, Cardiff University, in The Hardy Review, XI, no. 1, p. 74 - 6:

Excerpt -- Although Hardy’s admiration of On the Origin of Species and his interest in evolutionary theory has been widely noted by literary critics, Glendening comments upon the implications that this had upon Tess and, more specifically, the scene in which Angel Clare carries the stranded dairymaids across the flooded road from bank to bank. Glendening draws upon work by Phillip Mallett, who has already explored the ‘entangled bank’ imagery in Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes and Return of the Native, suggesting that Hardy’s bank is not entangled itself as a manifestation of nature but subject to entanglement within the constructs of society.  (link to full review)


efron


Experiencing Tess of the D'Urbervilles: A Deweyan Account
by Arthur Efron.  Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi (Value Book Inquiry Series), 2005.  Pp.262.  ISBN 978-9042016941.  

Reviewed by Suzanne Keen, Washington and Lee University, in The Hardy Review, VIII, p. 134 - 8:

Excerpt -- Efron, for his part, takes a Deweyan approach, emphasizing the embodied mind and the essential similarity of aesthetic emotions and those felt in response to the stimuli of everyday life. ... [Dewey] does, as Efron explains, appreciate Hardy, naming Tess (in 1935) as one of the most influential books of the prior fifty years (191). Dewey's emphasis on what contemporary cognitivists would call "hot cognition," cognition with and through the emotions, seems to me especially appropriate to Hardy's imagination of the bodies and minds of his characters.  (link to full review)





Form and Faith in Victorian Poetry and Religion by Kirstie Blair.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.  Pp. vii + 258. ISBN 978-0-19-964450-6.

Reviewed by Keith Wilson, Professor at University of Ottawa, in The Hardy Review, XVI, no. 1, p. 102 - 5:
Excerpt -- The paired nouns – form/faith, poetry/religion – of Kirstie Blair’s title neatly encapsulate this book’s core proposition: that for much of the nineteenth century assumptions about form in the writing of poetry and about form in worship mutually reinforced each other.  Far from being primarily a poetry of doubt and anguish, as suggested by predictable readings from Arnold or Clough or the younger Tennyson or the older Hardy, the century’s most central (and once most popular) verse not only articulates a faith sufficiently strong that it can be taken for granted but also reflects in its formal properties its authors’ preferred rituals of worship.  (link to full review)





A General Drama of Pain: Character and Fate in Hardy's Major Novels 
by Bernard J. Paris.  New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2012. Pp. 132. ISBN 978-1-4128-4598-4.

Reviewed by Tracy Hayes, PhD Student, Open University, in The Hardy Review XVI, no. 1, p. 111 - 4:


Excerpt -- Paris's aim in this book is to engage with Hardy's 'mimetic portraits', and to illustrate how tragedies such as Tess, The Mayor and Jude are 'the products of a very complex combination of social, psychological and natural forces' (xvi). These forces are influenced by 'interpersonal strategies' of three kinds – individuals moving 'toward people', becoming 'compliant or self-effacing'; moving 'against people' and becoming 'aggressive or expansive'; or moving 'away from people', leading to 'detachment and resignation' (29). In the three novels chosen by Paris for exploration, emphasis tends to be placed upon the detached and the resigned, particularly with reference to the latter two novels. (link to full review)


fincham


Hardy the Physician: Medical Aspects of the Wessex Tradition by Tony J. Fincham. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Pp. xii + 267. ISBN 978-0-230-20317-4.

Reviewed by JoAnna Stephens Mink, Professor Emerita of English, Minnesota State University, in The Hardy Review, XI, no. 1, p. 71 - 4:

Excerpt -- Fincham's background as a General Practitioner allows a unique perspective as he applies skills from the consulting room to literary analysis, using interpretative psychotherapy to explore Wessex ... This type of inter-disciplinary approach, particularly integrating literature and the sciences, is a worthwhile addition to Hardy studies.  (link to full review and rejoinder)    







Hardy's Landscape Revisited: Thomas Hardy's Wessex in the Twenty-First Century by Tony Fincham. Robert Hale Ltd., 2010. Pp. 258 plus glossary. ISBN 978-0709086994.

Reviewed by Tracy Hayes, PhD candidate at the Open University, in The Hardy Review, XIV, no. 1, p. 82 - 4:

Excerpt -- Tony Fincham's new book is not simply a pictorial history of South West England, it is the illustration of a journey – part reality, part dream – taken by both Hardy himself, and those who wish to follow in his footsteps. Both beautiful and informative, Wessex today should not be explored without this book close to hand.  (link to full review)






A Hundred Years of English Poetry by Edward B. Powley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Pp. 192. ISBN-13: 978-1107494428

Reviewed by Gillian Steinberg, POTM Director, in The Hardy Review, XVIII, no. 1, p. 89 - 92.

Excerpt -- Cambridge University Press recently made the surprising choice to reissue Edward B. Powley's A Hundred year's of English Poetry, which was first released in 1930. The book is clearly a relic of its time and thus interesting as an historical artifact. (link to full review) 






Imagining Minds: The Neuro-Aesthetics of Auste, Eliot and Hardy
by Kay Young.  Ohio State University Press, 2010. Pp. 194.  ISBN 9780814251744

Reviewed by Pamela Gossin, University of Texas at Dallas, in The Hardy Review XIII, no. 2, p. 181 - 3:

        Excerpt
-- Well before the advent of functional MRIs, both literary and scientific researchers utilized the insights of creative individuals who offered extraordinary self-consciousness of their own minds’ mechanisms for         and patterns of meaning-making. In interesting, but not unproblematic ways, Young’s study draws upon a wide variety of such interdisciplinary approaches to provide conscientious new readings of several of Austen’s         works, Eliot’s Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda, and Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and Tess of the D’Urbervilles.  (link to full review)






Inquisitive Eyes: Slade Painters in Edwardian Wessex by Gwen Yarker.  Bristol: Sansom & Co., 2016. Pp. 130. ISBN 978-1-908326-85-0

Reviewed by Kathie Bassett, TTHA Book Reviews Director, in The Hardy Review, XIX, no. 1, p. 91 -5:

        Excerpt --
The provocative title of Gwen Yarker’s visually enchanting volume Inquisitive Eyes: Slade Painters in Edwardian Wessex invokes Hardy’s profound interest in seeing clearly “the essence of things” in             nature, and this provides an intriguing framework to view the gloriously expressive landscapes painted in Hardy’s fictional Wessex between the years 1880 and 1914...For these early [Slade] artists, Yarker argues that         Hardy’s work so completely defined the contours of the Wessex landscape that they could not help but view their surroundings except through Hardy’s lens. (link to full review)





Landscape and Gender in the Novels of Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Thomas Hardy by Eithne Henson. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2011. Pp. 260. ISBN 978-1409432142.

Reviewed by William A.Davis, Jr., Notre Dame of Maryland University, in The Hardy Review, XIV, no. 2, p. 89 - 92:

Excerpt -- Henson’s main interest lies in exploring how gender attitudes find expression in landscapes and nature and in offering feminist readings of landscapes.One might ask why an author would narrow her inquiry down to these three writers from a century in which landscape and nature were the obsession of practically everyone.  Henson’s answer is that these three “together provide an exceptionally rich variety of examples of landscape use, which intersect with a number of areas of contemporary social and ideological preoccupation” (4).  Inferred is the idea that these writers are therefore representative of others in the ways in which they write about landscape.  (link to full review)






Landscape and Literature 1830-1914: Nature, Text, Aura by Roger Ebbatson.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.  Pp. 232.  ISBN 978-1137330437.

Reviewed by Meg Dobbin, PhD candidate, Washington University in St. Louis, in The Hardy Review XVI, no. 2, p. 97 - 100:

Excerpt -- If at times the theoretical priorities of Landscape and Literature inhibit a more fine-grained analysis of the literary texts at hand, Ebbatson’s theory-rich analysis pays off in numerous exciting new insights, ultimately offering a reevaluation of the connection between literature and nature. The main argument Ebbatson presents is that literature reflects the struggle of man within yet inherently alienated from nature: the double desire of man, in the words of Max Horkheimer, “to emancipate himself from coercion by nature and from those forms of social life…which have become a straitjacket” (qtd 4).
(link to full review)


watson


The Literary Tourist: Readers and Places in Romantic and Victorian Britain
by Nicola J. Watson.  Houndmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Pp. 244.  ISBN 1-4039-9992-9. 

Reviewed by Cristina Ceron, University of Verona, Italy, in The Hardy Review, X, p. 94 - 99:

Excerpt -- The Literary Tourist: Readers and Places in Romantic & Victorian Britain is not only a survey of a very specific type of travel literature that encourages the reader to situate an author's imaginative setting against the physical site of inspiration but it is foremost a book that delves into the cultural history of reading. ... Yet, in spite of her solid analysis of Hardy’s authorial stance, Watson’s point is not always clear, and this is especially evident when she tries to reconcile the novelist’s elusiveness with his realistic descriptiveness. Starting with the incontrovertible premise that Hardy “created a region in which the real, although still verifiably there, actually has rather less purchase upon the tourist’s imagination than the overlay of the fictive” (178), she goes on by investigating Hardy’s alleged stance in relation to the nature of Wessex. ... The reader’s impression is that the scholar is particularly insistent in stressing the tourist aspect of the Wessex novels, and that in doing this, she confuses the effect with the cause. If I understand Watson correctly, as she investigates the view of some tourist guide writers, she makes use of their claims in order to stress her point. For instance, when she states that Annie McDonnel’s prose “highlights the ways in which Hardy’s novels solicit both tourism and tour-guides” (183), she seems to imply that this effect was what Hardy aimed at deliberately.  (link to full review)





The Madder Stain: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Thomas Hardy by Annie Ramel.  Amsterdam: Brill / Rodopi, 2015. Pp. 190. ISBN-13: 978-9004293403


Reviewed by Meg Dobbin, PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, in The Hardy Review XVIII, no. 1, p. 93 - 95:

Excerpt -- In The Madder Stain: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Thomas Hardy, Annie Ramel examines the disrupting stains, blights, wounds, and inaudible screams—what critic Hillis Miller once described as “the chain of red things”—that run through Hardy’s fiction (qtd. 2). Bringing psychoanalysis to bear on these disturbances in the fields of sight and sound, Ramel shows that the “madder stain” is “a point of contract” with the Lacanian Real or that which “cannot be integrated into the symbolic order and remains undifferentiated, outside language” (3). Ramel argues that the piercing, fragmented presence of this “sheer, absolute, insoluble mystery” is Hardy’s poetical “signature."  (link to full review)


kendall


Modern English War Poetry
by Tim Kendall.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.  Pp. 276.  ISBN 978-0199276769. 

Reviewed by DeSales Harrison, Oberlin University, in The Hardy Review, X, p. 89 - 94:

Excerpt --
The struggle to retrieve reality from the grips of falsity and pretense can turn poets into warriors, heroes, champions of the truth.  But what is the relationship between this conflict, this war of words, and other conflicts in which sticks and stones, bayonets and rifles, machine guns and poison gas, do all the talking? It is this question which Tim Kendall's Modern English War Poetry takes up as its animating problem: "The most urgent issue addressed ... is the relationship between art and violence: how, and with what difficulties and ethical questions, can one communicate with and about the other?"  ... Asserting the limitations of Hardy's poems illuminates instead the limitations of Kendall's approach. It is Hardy, after all, who expands the harmonic capacities of English poetry to include the voices of dissonance, difficulty, and strain to which so much of English Modernism owes an unpayable debt.  (link to full review)





Narratives of Child Neglect in Romantic and Victorian Culture
by Galia Benziman. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Pp. 256. ISBN 978-0-230-29392-2.

Reviewed by So Young Park, Gustavus Aldolphus College, MN, in The Hardy Review, XIV, no. 2, p. 85 - 9:

Excerpt -- Galia Benziman’s Narratives of Child Neglect asks the central question:  What role does child neglect – its representation and exploration – play in 19th-century British literature? To address this question, Benziman goes back to Puritan, Enlightenment, and Romantic writings on childhood education and child rearing to trace the history of the problem of child neglect and its impact on Romantic poetry and Victorian fiction. Examining milestones in theories of childhood education such as Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education and Rousseau’s Émile, Benziman lucidly delineates the influence of these far-reaching works and offers incisive critical readings of 19th-century literary classics by authors from Maria Edgeworth to Thomas Hardy.  This is a wide-ranging, impressive study that explores an important issue, till now a neglected theme in 19th-century British literary studies.  (link to full review)


austin


Nostalgia in Transition, 1780 - 1917
by Linda M. Austin.  Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2007.  Pp. 256. ISBN 978-0813925981

Reviewed by Ilaria Mallozzi, Royal Halloway University of London, in The Hardy Review, XIV, no. 1, p. 73 - 5:

Excerpt --  
In offering such a dense landscape of human feelings, obsessions, and expectations, Austin could not but privilege Hardy’s works. A whole chapter deals with Hardy’s insurgent and obscure exploration of human tensions, which makes clear how his visions emerged as another important paradigm for dealing with Victorian dualism. Austin also shows the connective power of Hardy’s poetry, from his interest in personal memories to his re-evaluation of a collective memory. (link to full review)


claybaugh


The Novel of Purpose: Literature and Social Reform in the Anglo-American World
by Amanda Claybaugh.  Ithaca, N.Y. and London, U.K.: Cornell University Press, 2007.  Pp.ix + 237. 
ISBN 978-0801444807. 

Reviewed by Sara A. Malton, St. Mary's University, Halifax, Canada, in The Hardy Review, X, no. 2, p. 175 -6:

Excerpt -- Adopting a welcome transatlantic focus, Amanda Claybaugh investigates the relationship between the rise of reform and the development of a distinctly Anglo-American realism in the nineteenth-century. Taking Harriet Martineau as her model for a reformist writer, she examines the often uneasy relationship between a series of prominent nineteenth-century novelists and reform in an expanding transatlantic literary marketplace. According to Claybaugh, the role that reformist print culture played in the development of nineteenth-century literature cannot be underestimated: “nineteenth-century novels,” she claims, “were written, published, read, and reviewed according to expectations learned from social reform” (7).  ... Yet “although Hardy stood on the periphery of the literary world [she] sought to describe,” Claybaugh asserts that he is in fact worth studying in relation to the other authors addressed in her book for his very uncertainty about what reform can achieve: his work, she argues, “shows that reform is not enough.  And in doing so, it points beyond the novel of purpose to something more utopian and visionary” (186).  (link to full review)





The Origin of Hardy's Tragic Vision
by Riza Öztürk. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. Pp. 106. ISBN 1-4438-4201-X.

Reviewed by Dale Kramer, University of Oregon, in The Hardy Review XVII, no. 2, p. 95 - 6:

Excerpt -- Öztürk’s definition of tragedy emphasizes “moral responsibility” and “free will” (see 42-43, among others) as central to true tragedy. Of course he is scarcely alone in emphasizing the ethical significance found in most tragic actions. But to stress ethics de-emphasizes the emotion enforced by a tragic action, not to mention the compelling sense of tragedy in narrative actions that lack moral implications. Indeed, the essential aspect of tragedy is suffering (either physical or mental or emotional, or a combination of these), but it must be suffering that cannot be avoided, exactly because the choice elected by the tragic hero will result in disaster or denial of true self whichever choice he/she makes. (link to full review)






Postal Pleasures: Sex, Scandal, and Victorian Letters by Kate Thomas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. 251. ISBN 978-0199731169.

Reviewed by Galia Benziman, The Open University of Israel, in The Hardy Review XV, no. 2.
   
Excerpt -- Working from within a the perspective of queer theory, Kate Thomas illuminates the function of the Post Office in Victorian England as a vast network of sexual and social transgressions that animated the British cultural imagination in the second half of the nineteenth century. Arguing that the Post Office is “something of an overlooked state apparatus by those working broadly within a Foucauldian tradition” (32), Postal Pleasures further challenges the commonplace assumption that correspondence was a private matter, or – in broader terms – that the private/public divide was one of the rigid dichotomies of Victorian culture.  ... Despite these less convincing moments, however, the compelling qualities of Postal Pleasures and its many insightful observations are apparent also in its analysis of Hardy’s novel. Thomas offers here a provocative and fascinating lesbian reading of A Laodicean. (link to full review)


andres


The Pre-Raphaelite Art of the Victorian Novel: Narrative Challenges to Visual Gendered Boundaries
by Sophia Andres.  Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press, 2005.  Pp. xxvii + 208. 
ISBN 978-0814251294. 

Reviewed by Robert Schweik, State University of New York at Fredonia, in The Hardy Review, VIII, p. 111 - 120:

Excerpt -- Finally, what is one to make of Andres' claim that "[b]y reconfiguring in his novel the androgynous figures of Burne-Jones's paintings, Hardy engaged in contemporary debates over the destabilization of gender constructs the women's movement had created since the 1860's"? Here is Andres' summary of her argument: "Unlike Edward Burne-Jones, who suspended gender boundaries by representing both male and female figures as androgynous ...  Hardy, in his reconfigurations of Burne-Jones's paintings, represents only Sue as androgynous ... Sue -- that extraordinary complex and ambiguous character as Hardy portrays her -- an "androgynous ideal"?  (link to full review)


rode


Reading and Mapping Hardy's Roads
by Scott Rode.  New York and London: Routledge, 2006.  Pp. 126.  ISBN 0415978386. 

Reviewed by Rebecca Boylan, Georgetown University, in The Hardy Review, X, no. 2, p. 176 - 9:

        Excerpt -- This literary road trip begins with a ghost story – a true spine tingler – about Thomas Hardy which Scott Rode propels convincingly into the focus of his study on the novelist’s material and ideological                 re-creation of the road “as a palimpsest by which to critique Victorian constructions of gender identities, class ideologies, and power relationships” (5). ... Rode posits that in The Return of the Native, roads                     determine “the limits or margins of desire’s fulfillment as well as the dominating . . .  power of desire and cultural identity” (16). Rode identifies the causeways of Tess of the D’Urbervilles as sites of pagan ritual and             sacred pilgrimages, reaffirming the working class, as well as provoking technological and gender wars (16). Finally, he argues that roads in Jude the Obscure extend “an alternative and more equitable mode of                     gendered relationship that can reconcile ideas concerning sexuality that the Victorians found irreconcilable” (17).  (link to full review)






Reading Constellations: Urban Modernity in Victorian Fiction by Patricia McKee.  New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. 184.  ISBN-13: 97801993331905

Reviewed by Heidi L. Pennington, Visiting Assistant, Professor James Madison University, in The Hardy Review XVIII, no. 2, p. 94 - 98:

        Excerpt --
Patricia McKee’s Reading Constellations: Urban Modernity in Victorian Fiction offers the enticing claim that the city is both a participant in and the remedy for the alienation produced by modern                 capitalism in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend, Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, and Henry James’s “In the Cage.” While readers of Hardy might not immediately associate his works         with “urban modernity,” Reading Constellations will make many readers grateful that McKee makes the connection. She brings to bear on all of these Victorian fictions a specific theoretical lens which permits her             monograph to enter critical conversations about historiography, materiality, and subjectivity in the Victorian world. In this way, it is impossible to discuss this monograph without also discussing Walter Benjamin, the             source of McKee’s theoretical lens. (link to full review)






Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture by Deborah Lutz. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 2015. Pp. xii +227. ISBN: 978-1-107-07744-7

Reviewed By Tracy Hayes, PhD candidate, The Open University, in The Hardy Review XVII, no. 2, p. 97 - 101:

Excerpt -- Lutz writes that “Victorian relic culture sees death, and the body itself, as the beginning of stories rather than their end” (8), and literary representations of reliquary are a central concern of this book. The written word can be seen as a dual line of communication between the dead and the living, but Lutz also foregrounds the materiality of relichood; her chapters are punctuated with photographs of hair jewellery, death masks, books bound with human skin and even skull fragments reputed to have been collected by Edward Trelawny after the cremation of Percy Bysshe Shelley on the beach at Viareggio in 1822. ... Deborah Lutz's book is an erudite piece of scholarship, a wealth of information, argument and insight that cannot truly be done justice to in a review.  (link to full review)





Representations of Hair in Victorian Literature and Culture
by Galia Ofek.  Farnham, England/Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009,  pp. 271.  ISBN 978-0754661610

Reviewed by Rebecca Boylan, Georgetown University, in The Hardy Review, XV, no. 1, p. 103 - 9:

Excerpt -- Ofek’s scholarship affirms past and present consciousness and confusion in how hair identifies one within her own culture.  Her close reading of several literary and visual works scrutinizing the social, economic, and political realms of mid to late nineteenth-century hair is exhilarating voyeurism; the era’s fetishism of hair is no Victorian secret, but Ofek reveals how and to what effect hair itself defines, symbolizes and resonates the significance of those gazing upon the female in addition to the female herself.  Ofek has provided us with a most erudite and provocative way to re-read the Victorian novel via the Victorian female protagonist’s hair as a gauge of her culture’s insistence and resistance to a medley of nineteenth-century tensions that Ofek identifies and analyzes in her study: “natural forces and cultural codes; ‘low’ and ‘high’ culture; sensuality and spirituality; private and public spheres; potentially disruptive self-assertion and reassuring social conventionality; personal subjectivity and communal identity; originality and reproduction; authenticity and artificiality; the requirements of realism and the powers of the imagination” (ix).  (link to full review)




Satire in an Age of Realism by Aaron Matz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.  Pp. xvi + 218. ISBN 978-0-521-19738-0.

Reviewed by Keith Wilson, University of Ottawa, in The Hardy Review, XIV, no. 2, p. 97 - 101:

Excerpt --  The problem with Matz’s distorted view of Hardy is that his eye is so restrictively focused on the Worst – Jude the Obscure and the challenge to realist expectations made by its mode of “terminal satire” – he pays scant attention to anything else, however relevant to the issues explored in his discussion of Jude.  Hardy had a poetry-publishing career of more than thirty years after Jude, a period that included appearance of the vast three-volume work that Hardy himself, like many of his contemporaries, came to regard as his major achievement. The Dynasts gets just one index entry – referring to an endnote – in this study, and is not included in the listing of Hardy’s works in the bibliography, despite the fact that it addresses many of the questions adumbrated by Matz in his discussion of Jude. (link to full review)


musselwhite


Social Transformations in Hardy's Tragic Novels: Megamachines and Phantasms by David Musselwhite.  Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.  Pp. vii + 225.  ISBN 1403916624. 

Reviewed by Richard Nemesvari, St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, Canada, in The Hardy Review, VIII, p. 138 - 147:

Excerpt -- By employing the post-Marxist, post-Freudian theories of, first of all, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, most specifically those developed in their texts Anti-Oedipus (1972, trans. 1984) and A Thousand Plateaux (1980, trans. 1987), Musselwhite attempts to show the ways their "typology of social formation" (1) can be paralleled to Hardy's exploration of cultural conflict. ... Thus although the title Social Transformations in Hardy's Tragic Novels may seem to promise a 'materialist' reading of the author, what is in fact provided is a largely psychological interpretation of the selected novels, with all of that methodology's attendant strengths and weaknesses. I have always found doubtful the idea that Hardy is somehow 'theory proof,' and Musselwhite's book provides a sufficient number of interpretive insights to show that contemporary theory can be a source of productive engagement with Hardy's texts, even if at times its arguments are stretched to the point that they become unconvincing. Such a difficulty, however, is hardly the sole purview of 'theory.'  (link to full review)


Henchman


The Starry Sky Within: Astronomy and the Reach of the Mind in Victorian Literature by Anna Henchman.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. xvi + 294.  ISBN 978-0-19-968696-4.

Reviewed by Andrew Radford, University of Glasgow, in The Hardy Review XVI, no. 2, 100 - 103:
Excerpt -- Henchman’s strongest chapter boldly goes to the final frontier in terms of Hardy’s stylistic innovation – The Dynasts and its plethora of cosmic myths, metaphors and allegorical resonances. Henchman positions this remarkable ideological and generic hybrid as ‘an anti-novel, and its narrating chorus of spirits as an anti-narrator to show us a distorted version of narration that makes the norms of the omniscient narrator freshly visible’ (196). (link to full review)


Nussbaum & LaCroix


Subversion and Sympathy: Gender, Law, and the British Novel
, edited by Martha C. Nussbaum and Alison LaCroix. Oxford: Oxford University Press., 2013. Pp. 336.  ISBN 978-0199812042.

Reviewed by William A. Davis, Jr. PhD, Notre Dame of Maryland University, in The Hardy Review XVI, no. 1, p. 105 - 111:
Excerpt -- The aim of Subversion and Sympathy is to provide a shot in the arm to the literature and law movement, taking as its premise the idea that the conversation between the two fields “can illuminate deeper human issues with which both disciplines are concerned” (6).  More specifically, the book’s preface asks whether Victorian novels can teach us about laws and legal problems and, if they can, how and where do they do so?  (link to full review)


Abbott &
              Bell


Thomas Hardy: A Beginner's Guide
by Rob Abbott and Charlie Bell.  London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2001.  Pp. 88.  ISBN 0340800364. 

Reviewed by Shannon Rogers, Saint Joseph's University, in The Hardy Review, VI, p. 38 - 40:

Excerpt -- Thomas Hardy: A Beginner's Guide is just that -- a guide for the student or adult reader who knows little to nothing about Hardy and is approaching his works for the first time. ... While cautioning the reader not to take biographical connections too much to heart, Abbott and Bell provide relevant details about Hardy's life and background. After all, we crave human faces for our authors. And many issues and events in Hardy's work are obviously connected to his life. The authors do an admirable job of explaining, in a short space, Hardy's historical relevance in recording the passing of rural traditions, the impact of the spread of railways, and other issues. ... A Beginner's Guide closes with details of further sources for learning about Hardy. The discussion of feminist responses and their various shifts will be especially helpful to a student attempting to decipher diametrically opposed feminist interpretations. I found the explanations of structuralism and post-structuralism -- complete with examples -- particularly useful to the non-literary critic.  (link to full review)


purdy


Thomas Hardy: A Bibliographical Study by Richard Little Purdy, Charles P. C. Pettit, ed.  Delaware and London: Oak Knoll Press and the British Library, 2002.  Pp. 432, illustrated.  ISBN 1-58456-070-3.  

Reviewed By Rosemarie Morgan, Yale University, in The Hardy Review, VI, p. 40 - 6:

Excerpt -- For some unaccountable reason Richard Little Purdy's A Bibliographical Study has been out of print for about 20 years despite the fact that for all of that time it has been regarded as the authoritative Hardy bibliography -- universally acclaimed for its comprehensiveness and accuracy and holding a unique place in the World of Hardy scholarship. "Unique" because Purdy not only had unrestricted access to Hardy's books and private papers but, shortly after the great man's death, also learned, directly, a good deal from his acquaintance with Florence Hardy, and such solid family friends as Sydney Cockerell and Harold Child. ... At another level of comprehension, Hardy became, in fact, a veritable expert on autobiography. I would go so far as to say that the Life-and-Letters genre of Victorian literature formed the bulk of his daily reading material during his last years. He read autobiographies copiously -- by the dozen. Thus, when he started his own letter-sorting years (1917-19) and the beginning of the Life, with Florence Hardy busily typing out his manuscript versions at his side, he had become one of the best-versed readers in autobiography of his time. And several of his friends knew of his self-writing of the Life -- "knew" as opposed to "suspecting,"  as Pettit puts it (which instantly taints Hardy's practices and motives).  (link to full review)


goater


Thomas Hardy: Figures de l'alienation by Thierry Goater.  Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2010. ISBN 978-2753512184.

Reviewed by Laurence Estanove, Universite de Toulouse, in The Hardy Review XIII, no. 2, p. 170 - 4:

        Excerpt
-- Goater starts from the marginal – alienated – position of the writer in his time and the misunderstandings he had to face from critics as he departed from the realistic or what Goater calls the “humano-                liberalistic”codes of his time. According to Goater, alienation stands at the heart of Hardy’s universe, of his metaphysical and social views and of his artistic expression, which thus calls for a re-reading of his work in             this light ... One of the most enlightening aspects of Goater’s book appears then, in the short study of the marks of exile and alienation in language itself, in the process of communication – in soliloquies, parallel                 monologues, indirect communication. The linguistic isolation, of which such characters as Clym are victims, leads Goater towards another of the most interesting points of the book – “l’excommunication logique”:             “Man is exiled in a world deprived of logos, or whose logos he cannot understand or accept” (62, my translation).  (link to full review)






Thomas Hardy: Folklore and Resistance by Jacqueline Dillion.  London: Macmillan Palgrave, 2016.  Pp. 206.  ISBN 978-1-137-50319-0.

Reviewed by Kevin Padian, University of California - Berkeley, 
in The Hardy Review, XIX, no. 1, p. 88 - 91:

        Excerpt --
Can there be a major British writer in whom folklore is more naturally ingrained than Hardy?  He was raised in one of the most traditional (contemporaries would have called it “backward”) regions of                 England, where ancient customs and beliefs persisted more than in many areas.  In this wonderful book, which collects topics on which she has previously published useful studies, Jacqueline Dillion shows how                     Hardy’s novels and stories are imbued not only with accounts of many of these traditions (either directly witnessed or related to him by his mother and others), but by constant allusions to them.  She traces the histories         of several classes of these traditions and their permutations, all of which will be familiar to students of Hardy, and unearths some wonderful stories about them (the history and etymology of “bonfire” alone is worth the         price of admission).  (link to full text)





Thomas Hardy: Half a Londoner by Mark Ford.  Cambridge, Mass. and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2016.  Pp. xx + 305. ISBN 978-0-674-73789-1.

Reviewed by Keith Wilson,
Emeritus Professor, University of Ottawa, in The Hardy Review, XIX, no. 1, p. 86 - 88:

        Excerpt --
For readers accustomed to the reflex association of Thomas Hardy’s name with England’s West Country, as reshaped into the “part-real, part-dream” imaginative landscape of Wessex, the title of Mark             Ford’s new study may seem a touch perverse, if not downright provocative. The sanction for it, however, derives from Hardy himself.  Writing to Edmund Gosse on 13 December 1916 to agree to serve again on a             committee responsible for organizing an annual book and manuscript sale in support of the wartime Red Cross, Hardy anticipated that he would not be able to give much practical assistance to this cause, ruefully                 reflecting on the fact that “I have not been in London this year – an unprecedented thing for one who was once half a Londoner” (Collected Letters 5, 190).  (link to full review)






Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels by J.B. Bullen. London: Frances Lincoln Limited Publishers, 2013. Pp. 256. ISBN: 978-0-71-123275-4

Reviewed by Rebecca Boylan, Georgetown University, in The Hardy Review XVII, no. 2, p. 101- 5:

Excerpt -- In Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels, Bullen traces a web of thought which he quite successfully follows in accord with most critics that Hardy’s sense of place is dependent on his sense of time – historical, chronological, cultural, and personal.  To appreciate place and time in Hardy is to understand how he contextualizes his sense of tragedy within an equally vibrant sensibility of “optimism . . . pleasure, joy and satisfaction [which produced] the enormous positive vitality of his work” (9). It is, Bullen reminds us, in Hardy’s visionary awareness of time and place as a cultural site of human interaction that the writer observes and preserves the significance of our longing and discovering beside our loss and suffering.  Because the villages, buildings, woods, and fields are “not just a backdrop for the characters”, Hardy’s readers may become fully engaged participants in his stories, able to know how the architecture created both by Nature and by humanity assumes importance in the essential fabric of Hardy’s impressions of Wessex. (link to full review)





Thomas Hardy: The Poems by Gillian Steinberg. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Pp. 254. ISBN 978-0230349131

Reviewed By Rosemarie Morgan, Yale University, in The Hardy Review XV, no. 2:
Excerpt -- Steinberg’s textual analyses and attentive readings of Hardy’s key poems are original and, at all levels of interpretation, keen and rewarding; they encapsulate, with insight and depth, a wider range of material than many critics could capture in chapters twice as large. Steinberg’s study is exceptional in important ways. She pays close attention to Hardy’s multiple voices, even to the extent of differentiating between two aspects of the same voice, the “‘before’ and ‘after’ halves of the same character” ... This critically important distinction between Hardy’s multiple voices, especially in distinguishing what I have called elsewhere “the alternative narrator,” or “the bystander narrator,” remains oddly overlooked in millennium studies. (link to full review)



Dolin &
        Widdowson



Thomas Hardy and Contemporary Literary Studies
by Tim Dolin and Peter Widdowson, eds.  Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.  Pp. xii  + 227.  ISBN: 0-333-99445-0. 

Reviewed by T.R. Wright, University of Newcastle, in The Hardy Review, VIII, p. 106 - 111:

Excerpt -- This collection of essays itself, partly the product of a symposium held in Newcastle, New South Wales, in September 2000, is designed as an exercise in testing the water both in Hardy studies in particular and in English studies in general. Dolin and Widdowson proceed to lament the fact that Hardy criticism has not "turned out to be as progressively 'theoretical' as it once promised to be." They concede, however, that it has benefited from a mixing of professional and amateur readers and "from a strong vital tradition of engaged anti-theoretical criticism." ... What links "amateur" readers of Hardy with "professionals", I would argue, and what makes the best work of us "professionals" worth the attention of the "amateurs", is a continuing concern to understand the novels and poems in all their profundity, obscurity, self-contradiction, and complexity.  (link to full review)


Reviewed by Keith Wilson, Department of English, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in The Hardy Review, IX, p. 95 - 9:

Excerpt -- It is often the fate of the essay collection not to end up greater than the sum of its parts, which then inevitably invites the question of why these particular parts should be brought into association with each other between a single set of covers. The editors' implicit answer to this is contained in the millenarian resonances of the title they attach to their introduction: "Hardy and Literary Studies at the Turn of the Century." Their fortuitously discovered "running theme" concerning "questions about the future sustainability of 'literary studies' and about 'the death of the book' itself in the face of new technologies which call all in doubt" (12) sounds more apocalyptic than the essays themselves warrant, and Hardy studies at the turn of the century seem still to be doing much what they have always done: bringing informed thought to bear on the work of a major writer. Fortunately, the majority of the essays gathered together here generously fulfill that task and are a most welcome addition to current Hardy scholarship.  (link to full review)


lloyd-jones


Thomas Hardy and the Comic Muse
by J. K. Lloyd Jones.  Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2009.  Pp. 263. ISBN 978-1443804868.

Reviewed by William A. Davis, Jr., College of Notre Dame of Maryland, in The Hardy Review XIII, no. 1, p. 87 - 9:

Excerpt -- “Could it be,” writes J. K. Lloyd Jones in Thomas Hardy and the Comic Muse, “that the tendency to revere certain artists for their resplendently tragic themes leads to a predisposition for commentators (and, following them, everyone else) to overlook works that do not appear to sit easily in the same category?” (1).  For Jones, and for the reader of this well-documented and clearly written study, the answer is an emphatic “yes.”  I came to this book expecting two things:  first, a clear and illuminating analysis of its proposed subject; and, second, having chuckled now and then when reading certain of Hardy’s works, occasion(s) to have a few laughs with Hardy on such subjects as marriage, religion, male villainy, the rustic choruses of his novels, and the like.  Thomas Hardy and the Comic Muse provides both, and more. 
(link to full review)





Thomas Hardy and Desire: Conceptions of the Self by Jane Thomas.  Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Pp. 233. ISBN: 978-0-230-22463-6.

Reviewed by Thierry Goater, Rennes 2 University, France, in The Hardy Review XVII, no. 1, p. 98 - 101:

        Excerpt -- The first merit of Thomas’s book lies in the analysis of the notion of desire in relation to the self, a central aspect in Hardy’s conception of the human subject. Thomas is also to be commended for dealing             with fiction as well as with poetry, with short and long fiction alike, with ‘major’ and ‘minor’ novels, without ever creating an artificial hierarchy between genres and texts and always combining synchronic and                     diachronic approaches. This allows Thomas to highlight both the permanent features and the evolutions in Hardy’s work. The clarity of her book is to be praised, too. The general introduction explains the subject                 matter and presents the outlines of the book. Thomas is always anxious to guide her readers: each chapter is nicely introduced and concluded, thereby providing coherence throughout the whole work.
        (link to full review)


radford



Thomas Hardy and the Survivals of Time
by Andrew Radford.  Aldershot, Hants. and Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2003.  Pp. 264.  ISBN 978-0-7546-0778-6.

Reviewed by Kevin Padian, University of California, Berkeley, in The Hardy Review, X, p. 84 - 86:

Excerpt -- I think  that  [Radford]  approaches Hardy in the way that best addresses (if there is a best way) who he was, what he knew, the milieu that he grew up in, how he thought about the traditions that he inherited and lived in. In short, Hardy's soul. ... There are very few sources that provide such a nuanced treatment of the layers of history (and deep history, even unto archaeology and paleontology) as Radford's book. Yet these layers are omnipresent in Hardy's work and it is surprising that commentators have not made more of this. Radford's thesis is, briefly, that features of culture that seem to have no optimal rational explanation for their existence are there because they have always been there, and survive in some bizarre mutated form that comparative historical analysis can uncover.  (link to full review)


asquith


Thomas Hardy, Metaphysics and Music
by Mark AsquithBasingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.  Pp. 234.  ISBN 978-1403941381. 

Reviewed by Eugene Davis, Purdue University, in The Hardy Review, IX, p. 99 - 101:

Excerpt -- Asquith sees the nexus between music and the increasingly pessimistic view of humankind in the novels as a pervasive metaphor. It is wrong, he believes, to see Hardy's use of music limited to isolated metaphors: "Instead, music forms a web which weaves together the events unfolding in the narratives into a unified expression of his gloomily coherent metaphysical vision." ... While I regret its celebration of Hardy's gloomy, mechanistic philosophy, so single minded that dissenting voices are muted, Asquith's patient study of important Victorian debates over the role of music in life and art extends our appreciation of Hardy's achievement and merits praise.  (link to full review)


wickens


Thomas Hardy, Monism, and the Carnival Tradition: The One and the Many in The Dynasts by G. Glen Wickens.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002.  Pp. ix + 255.  ISBN 0-8020-4864-1.   

Reviewed by C. M. Jackson-Houlston, Oxford Brookes University, U.K., in The Hardy Review, IV, p. 46 - 9:

Excerpt -- The focus of Thomas Hardy, Monism, and the Carnival Tradition raises two key questions: does this book tell us more about Hardy's relations to the thought of his day? Does a reassessment of the genre of The Dynasts help us to appreciate Hardy's unique Napoleonic drama more fully? The answer to both is a qualified 'yes'. ... In spite of Hardy's reluctance to present himself as a philosopher, his engagement with contemporary theoretical debate about whether the structure of the universe is based on one sole principle (monism) or is dualistic or pluralistic is clearly an active one. ... The major thesis here is that The Dynasts should be relocated 'within the serio-comical genres' and redefined as a novel (xi). Wickens establishes a firm case that Hardy's constant use of reversals of fortune and the folk humour in the working-class sections of the work (and in Hardy's novels) are carnivalesque in effect, and he recognizes the need to accommodate the overall non-comic tone of The Dynasts.  (link to full review)


wright


Thomas Hardy on Screen by T. R. Wright, ed.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.  Pp. xiv + 216.  ISBN 978-0521840811. 

Reviewed by Paul J. Niemeyer, Louisiana State University, in The Hardy Review, VIII, p. 147 - 156:

Excerpt -- It is in this spirit of determining what various films have to say about Hardy, and, of course, of determining what these film adaptations say about those who create and consume them, that editor T. R. Wright's Thomas Hardy on Screen is presented. Wright and twelve other scholars, among them some of today's best Hardy critics, have each contributed a chapter to this volume, and the result is an impressive collection. In his introduction, Wright explains that the guiding principle of the essays is not that most shopworn issue in all of adaptation studies, fidelity; instead, the individual authors have chosen to examine what he calls "the 'essence' of Hardy's works" (1), the perhaps elusive quality that filmmakers have labored to bring intact from novel to screen in a bid to make their films suitably "Hardyesque."  (link to full review)


ray


Thomas Hardy Remembered by Martin Ray.  Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.  Pp. xix + 338. ISBN: 978-0-7546-3973-2.

Reviewed By Lynda Kiss, independent scholar, in The Hardy Review,XI, no. 2, p. 157 - 8:

Excerpt --
Hardy’s views on reviewers appear quite frequently in this assemblage of interviews and recollections – I have borne Hardy’s response in mind while composing this review. … Ray has no agenda to revise radically our view of Hardy the man or the writer; the figure that emerges from the pages will be broadly familiar to Hardy scholars. (link to full review)


Reviewed by Rosemarie Morgan, Yale University, in The Hardy Review,XI, no. 2, p. 155 - 7:


Excerpt --
Hardyans are in for a rare treat with the late Martin Ray’s Thomas Hardy Remembered. When Ray first compiled this book back in 1999 the late James Gibson had already prepared a parallel version which he published as Thomas Hardy: Interviews and Recollections Not wanting to tread on any eminent toes Ray delayed publication, for indeed the two books do, unfortunately, cover much of the same ground. The differences, though, are significant.  (link to full review)


Reviewed by Keith G. Wilson, University of Ottawa, in The Hardy Review,XI, no. 2, p. 151 - 5:


Excerpt --
This book is a typically Martinesque labour of affection for a writer to whom he devoted a huge portion of his academic life.  It comprises a fascinating and judicious compilation from a wide range of sources of more than 140 previously published recollections by many of those who knew, or at least met, Hardy.  (link to full review)




 


Thomas Hardy, Sensationalism, and the Melodramatic Mode by Richard Nemesvari. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Pp. 245. ISBN 9780230621466.

Reviewed by Judith Mitchell, University of Victoria, in The Hardy Review, XIV, no. 1, p. 76 - 8:

Excerpt --Nemesvari’s arguments are carefully placed in relation to Hardy’s personal and cultural situation; beyond that, however, the book’s shrewd close readings are everywhere linked to the large, pervasive issues in existing Hardy criticism. Hardy’s well-known anti-realism, in Nemesvari’s view, is usefully examined in terms of Peter Brooks’ concept of the “moral occult,” a phenomenon characteristic of the sensational, melodramatic, and tragic modes in which Hardy was working. The overarching project of the nineteenth-century novel, the “ethical engagement between individual and society in a world without deity or divinity” (5), plays itself out in Hardy’s fiction in his creation of hybrid texts, his “willingness to mix apparently disparate genres.” This genre-mixing, according to Nemesvari, “comes close to being [Hardy’s] most distinctive novelistic device,” and by the end of the book his reader can only agree.  (link to full review)


Gatrell


Thomas Hardy Writing Dress
by Simon Gatrell.  Oxford: Peter Lang, 2011.  Pp. 298. ISBN 978-3-03-430739.

Reviewed by So Young Park, Gustavus Adolphus College, in The Hardy Review XVI, no. 1, p. 114 - 9:
Excerpt --  Through the lens (or shall we say, gauze) of clothing and dress, Gatrell examines an astounding range of Hardy’s writings, calling attention to everyday clothing, accessories, footwear, women’s gowns, mourning clothes, work clothes, and military uniforms.  The strength of this book lies in Gatrell’s artful gathering of details, instances, and anecdotes of clothing and fashion from across Hardy’s long career: we get familiar examples such as Tess Durbeyfield’s wedding dress, purchased by Angel Clare, and lesser-known artifacts such as Sue Bridehead’s plain, mulberry-colored dress, worn at a prison-like teacher’s training college.  (link to full review)





Thomas Hardy's Brains: Psychology, Neurology, and Hardy's Imagination by Suzanne Keen. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2014. Pp. 264. ISBN 978-0814293522.

Reviewed by Rosemarie Morgan, editor of The Hardy Review, in The Hardy Review XVII, no. 2, p. 83 - 9:

Excerpt -- Rarely does a new scholarly study open up untrodden pathways in Hardy. There are the routine “Companions” which refresh our acquaintance with current studies and, from time to time, enlightening new perspectives appear in the scholarly journals but in terms of conceptualizing Hardy’s scientific imagination Suzanne Keen’s Thomas Hardy’s Brains: Psychology, Neurology, and Hardy’s Imagination forges ahead into entirely new territory. (link to full review)





Thomas Hardy's Legal Fictions by Trish Ferguson. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh Critical Studies in Victorian Culture Series), 2013. Pp. 256. ISBN: 978-0748673247.

Reviewed by William A. Davis, Jr., Notre Dame of Maryland University, in The Hardy Review XVII, no. 1, p. 94 - 8:

Excerpt -- Ferguson is the first scholar to give careful attention to such matters as what she calls “domestic trial scenes,” moments in which characters, typically women, are subjected to legalistic interrogation, typically by men, and the corresponding “narrative advocacy” found in some novels.  Her chapter on the insanity defense brings for the first time important legal and journalistic backgrounds to several of Hardy’s early novels, while other chapters address issues such as land law reform, Hardy’s connections to sensation fiction and “Tichborne fiction,” and the legal status of women in Hardy’s fiction.  The book as a whole offers some brand new material on Hardy and the law along with new interpretations of some familiar themes. (link to full review)


gossin


Thomas Hardy's Novel Universe: Astronomy, Cosmology, and Gender in the Post-Darwinian World
by Pamela S. Gossin.  Burlington, VT.: The Nineteenth Century Series, Ashgate Publishing Company, 2007.  Pp. xvii + 300.  ISBN 978-0754603368. 

Reviewed by Anna Henchman, Boston University, in The Hardy Review, X, no. 2, p. 180 - 3:

Excerpt -- “Astronomical ideas and imagery are so ubiquitous in so many of Hardy’s novels, that it is nothing short of amazing that no one has previously conducted a thorough study of them and their relationship to other literary treatments of science,” comments Pamela Gossin midway through Thomas Hardy’s Novel Universe (115).  She’s right. ... Hardy’s novel universe is populated by comets that look like tadpoles of fire, spiral nebulae, meteors, and “double stars which revolve round and round each other and from a distance appear to be one” (151).  His characters plunge optically into deep space, until they can be sure that “scarce any other human vision was travelling within a hundred million miles of their own” (163).  His universe contains system upon system of bodies in motion, bound together by mutual influence that stretches over millions of miles.  By placing these passages next to one another, Gossin transforms the way we see Hardy.   (link to full review)







Thomas Hardy's Pastoral: An Unkindly May by Indy Clark.  Houndsmills, England and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Pp. 217. ISBN-13: 978-1137505019

Reviewed by Paul Niemeyer, Associate Professor, Texas A & M International University,
in The Hardy Review XVIII, no. 2, p. 88 - 92:

        Excerpt --
Clark’s Thomas Hardy’s Pastoral: An Unkindly May, is the first book-length attempt to connect Hardy with the pastoral since Draper’s study, and Clark’s approach to the subject is a complete departure         from earlier treatments: instead of modifying or qualifying Hardy’s works to fit the pastoral genre, Clark pursues a thesis that Hardy himself altered—Clark’s preferred term is “adapted”—the pastoral to fit his own             needs.  In Clark’s terms, it is not enough to understand what pastoralism is and where Hardy can be placed among its poets; one must understand what Hardy turns the pastoral into and how he presents it.
        (link to full review)




millgate


Thomas Hardy's "Poetical Matter" Notebook
edited by Pamela Dalziel and Michael Millgate. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 57. ISBN 0199228493.

Reviewed by Rosemarie Morgan, University of St. Andrews, and Editor of The Hardy Review, in The Hardy Review XIII, no. 1, p. 85 - 7:

Excerpt -- What I did find remarkable, indeed utterly compelling, are certain memos that are so intensely vivid and piquant that one has a sense of encountering the very germ of a poem. ... Thomas Hardy's "Poetical Matter" Notebook, offers a rich mosaic of poetic patterns for readers to piece together and although the notebook may reveal few new insights into Hardy's mind at work there is surprise and wonder on every page. And, that is, of course, Hardy's mind at work.  (link to full review)

Reviewed by Philip Purchase, Washington University in St. Louis, in The Hardy Review XIII, no. 1, p. 80 - 5:

Excerpt -- To read the book through is to gain a renewed sense of the emotive and intellectual centers of Hardy's life, condensed into what a retrospective survey judged worthy to stand as the raw matter of poetry. Hardy's transcription into this accumulative or commonplace book includes material dating back to the 1860s; the editors discuss the dating of the notebook itself in their introduction, coming to the conclusion that Hardy began using it in the early 1920s, and that he was still making entries "with increased intensity from the autumn of 1926 onwards, until the beginning of his final illness..." (xviii).  (link to full review)

 

millgate
                cover


Thomas Hardy's Public Voice: The Essays, Speeches and Miscellaneous Prose by Michael Millgate, ed.  Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.  Pp. 500.  ISBN 019818526X.   

Reviewed by James Gibson in The Hardy Review, VI, p. 36 - 8:

Excerpt -- By editing this comprehensive collection of Hardy's non-fictional public utterances, Michael Millgate has done yet another great service for Hardy scholarship and put us all more than ever in his debt. ... In his introduction Millgate writes,  'what the present edition reveals is that Hardy's public utterances were not only more numerous than previously assumed but took many different forms and addressed a wide variety of literary, social and political issues.'  If ever evidence were needed of Hardy's astonishing range of interests it is here and may be seen in the 400 or so items which are listed at the beginning of the book. 
(link to full  review)


gilmartin


Thomas Hardy's Shorter Fiction: A Critical Study
by Sophie Gilmartin and Rod Mengham.  Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. Pp.xii + 144. ISBN 978-0-7486-3265-7.

Reviewed by Sheila Hwang, Associate Professor, Department of English, Webster University, St. Louis, in The Hardy Review XII, no. 1, p.74 - 6:

        Excerpt -- Gilmartin and Mengham’s study has twin purposes: first, to provide a general overview of the distinct thematic trends in each of Thomas Hardy’s four short story collections; and second, to provide some             close readings of individual stories within the collections.  The volume does an excellent job of achieving its first aim and, given its brevity, makes a good effort toward fulfilling the second.  In addition, the text helpfully         puts the stories in context by linking them to Hardy’s biography, journals, poetry, and novels. (link to full review)

Reviewed by Tracy Hayes, The Open University, in The Hardy Review, XIX, no. 1, p. 97 - 100:

        Excerpt --
Sophie Gilmartin and Rod Mengham begin their analysis of Hardy’s short stories by stating that “No previous study has shown how the powerful challenge to readerly competence mounted in the stories             reveals the complexity of Hardy’s motivations” (vii). This is however to ignore Kristin Brady’s Short Stories of Thomas Hardy (1982), and Martin Ray’s definitive study of 1997: Thomas Hardy: A Textual Study of         the Short Stories, which discussed in detail Hardy’s textual practices from the development of a manuscript through to selection for publication in volume form. Another unfortunate oversight is that this is a 2016                 paperback edition of a book originally published in 2007 which does not seem to have been updated in the intervening nine years. (link to full review)



gatrell


Thomas Hardy's Vision of Wessex by Simon Gatrell.  Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.  Pp. xvii + 264.  ISBN 0-333-74834-4. 

Reviewed By Rosemarie Morgan, Yale University, in The Hardy Review, VIII, p. 120 - 134:

Excerpt -- Certainly Hardy made copious revisions to his "Wessex" construct in an attempt, with hindsight, to unify and co-ordinate the microcosm that had emerged from the novels, but the very fact that this proved to be too complex and often too incoherent to effect with any thoroughgoing consistency tends, invariably, toward the "dream." And this dream fades, distorts, and re-shapes with each and every novel. A "vision," I would suggest, has more clarity, coherence, epiphanic signification and more aspirations to reality, than does a dream. A vision also bears the burden of consciousness. "Dream" by contrast, provides greater leeway, more of an apt leeway for the creative mind, to the irrational, the impressionistic and the unconscious.  (link to full review)





Unexpected Elegies: "Poems of 1912-13" and Other Poems About Emma by Claire Tomalin. New York: Persea Books, 2010. Pp. 96. ISBN 0892554096.

Reviewed by William W. Morgan, Illinois State University, in The Hardy Review, XIV, no. 1, p. 79 - 81:

        Excerpt
-- This is an inviting little book—small format, modest length (62 pages of poems plus the 11-page Introduction, some well-chosen illustrations, and suggestions for further reading), and attractive overall                 design with the well-known portraits of Hardy and Emma in their thirties on the cover.  Claire Tomalin’s Introduction has all the strengths of her other work on Hardy—a fearless willingness the embrace the emotional         dimension of critical reading and writing as well as a tough-minded adherence to fact.  In the crowded world of Hardy publications, this book addresses a niche that had not been covered: it is a compact volume                 bringing Hardy readers a concentrated, accessible introduction to his memorial poems about his first wife, Emma.  (link to full review)






Victorian Murderesses: The Politics of Female Violence by Ayşe Naz Bulamur.  Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2016. Pp. 176. ISBN 978-1443887281

Reviewed by Caitlin Santavenere, graduate student at
Notre Dame University of Maryland, in The Hardy Review, XIX, no. 1, p. 95 - 7:

        Excerpt --
Overall Victorian Murderesses: The Politics of Female Violence is a provocative collection of essays investigating the oppression of the Victorian female and how these four acts of fictional violence                 provide ample examples and metaphors of the patriarchal, political, and religious aspects of society. Bulamur’s knowledge on the topic and research is outstanding and shines through in all of the chapters presented.             There is a sense, however, that Bulamur has so much more left to say; throughout her essays there are threads of research that one wishes she would explore. It would be interesting if she could expand upon her own         thesis and perhaps form better developed connections between the works. Bulamur brings up engaging arguments about each novel but the essays feel rushed and, at times, disorganized.  (link to full review)




War, the Hero and the Will: Hardy, Tolstoy and the Napoleonic Wars
by Jane Bownas. Sussex Academic Press, 2015. Pp. 224. ISBN-13: 978-1845196707


Reviewed by Keith Wilson, University of Ottowa,
in The Hardy Review XVIII, no. 1, p. 85 - 89:


Excerpt -- Over the longer haul, critical judgment, aided by generic fashion, has of course been much kinder to Tolstoy’s novel than to Hardy’s “Epic-Drama  . . . in Three Parts, Nineteen Acts, and One Hundred and Thirty Scenes.” Notwithstanding this imbalance in respect bestowed and attention received, their shared historical focus suggests the appropriateness of the comparative analysis whose challenges Jane Bownas bravely takes up in this book.  Welcome as such a pairing is, her study betrays something of the difficulty its author has faced in finding solid foundations, beyond those of shared subject-matter and daunting length, for bringing together two works so radically different in genre, structure, purpose, characterization, narrative emphasis, and conceptual underpinnings. (link to full review)



rogerson


The Wood Engravings of Agnes Miller Parker by Ian Rogerson.  London: The British Museum/Mark Batty Publisher, 2005.  Pp. 327. ISBN: 0-9762245-4-2.

Reviewed By Rosemarie Morgan, Yale University, in The Hardy Review, X, p. 86 - 89:

Excerpt -- The history of illustrating Hardy is a rich one beginning in 1872-73 with James Abbott Pasquier's woodblock prints for A Pair of Blue Eyes (Tinsley's Magazine) and Helen Paterson's drawings for Far From the Madding Crowd (Cornhill 1874) ... Of Miller Parker herself -- her affinity with Hardy is quite remarkable. Her sensitive feel for the world of nature, her dynamic settings, lyrical flowing lines, delicate figure compositions and intricate geometric forms add a dimension to Hardy's work which is both complementary and contrapuntal. Her art work, like Hardy's literary evocations, is not only intensely visual but provocative.  (link to full review)