Review by Choice Review
Author of Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy (CH, Sep'75) and editor of Critical Essays on Thomas Hardy (1990) and Critical Approaches to the Fiction of Thomas Hardy (CH, Oct'80), Kramer (Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) assembled a team of international scholars who lay out sensible approaches to understanding Hardy's works. Aiming at both first-time and advanced readers of Hardy, the essayists attempt to provide "a dispassionate survey of general characteristics and specific demonstrations of Hardy's ideas and skills" and to help nonspecialist readers come to "their own admiration" of Hardy's work. Essays explore Hardy's life, aesthetics, and attachment to Wessex; the impact on his work of late 19th-century developments in science, religion, and philosophy; and issues of sexuality and gender. Two essays on the author as 19th- and 20th-century poet invite fresh perspectives. Other essays offer ideas old and new to ponder, including how Hardy's study of Gothic architecture and his readings of philosophers Ludwig Feuerbach and Auguste Comte influenced his work. Michael Millgate provides an essential overview of biographical sources. Well equipped with notes, suggestions for further reading, and a chronology of Hardy's life and publications, this volume will be a reliable, trusted companion for serious upper-division undergraduate students and scholars and for sophisticated general readers. R. F. Cayton; Marietta College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.