Thomas Hardy (Routledge Guides to Literature)

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9780415234917: Thomas Hardy (Routledge Guides to Literature)

Thomas Hardy was the foremost novelist of his time, as well as an established poet. Author of Jude the Obscure and Far from the Madding Crowd, Hardy reflected in his works the dynamics of social, intellectual and aesthetic change in nineteenth-century England.
This guide provides students with a lucid introduction to Hardy's life and works and the basis for a sound comprehension of his work, including:

  • the major aspects of Hardy's life in the context of contemporary culture
  • a detailed commentary on Hardy's most important work and a critical map of Hardy's complete writing
  • an outline of the vast body of criticism that has built up around Hardy's work with examples of recent critical debate.

Exposition and guide, this volume enables readers to form their own readings of one of the most important writers of the nineteenth century.

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From the Back Cover:

An instant best-seller, Tess of the d'Urbervilles has become a cultural icon. It also engendered fierce controversy when Hardy famously defended Tess as a 'pure woman' in the first volume edition. Current arguments about Hardy's relationship with his heroine and her rural world have ensured that this text remains a centre of ideological debate. In this rich and complex novel, Hardy's daring treatment of the fallen woman issue reaches a profound depth of tragic intensity. And he sets his powerful critique of Victorian society in a 'Wessex' landscape that is incomparably evoked.

In this Readers' Guide, Geoffrey Harvey selects extracts from the most significant, and often brilliant, essays among the huge body of critical writing that Tess of the d'Urbervilles has attracted. He focuses on important textual issues unique to this novel, and contextualises areas of recurrent debate. Beginning with the sharply conflicting responses of contemporary reviewers in the 1890s, this Guide traces the evolution of Tess criticism up to the most recent work of the 1990s, encompassing the major developments in literary theory - among them humanist formalism, New Criticism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, political criticism and feminist theory. This Guide is designed to afford essential support for the study of one of Hardy's finest and most challenging novels.

About the Author:

Geoffrey Harvey is the author of The Romantic Tradition in Modern English Poetry (1986). He is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Reading.

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