Select one of the keywords
Thomas Hardy    by Claire Tomalin order for
Thomas Hardy
by Claire Tomalin
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Here is the definitive portrait of one of English literature's most fascinating figures. Written in crisp, clear prose, and dominated by an engaging, wonderfully readable narrative style, Claire Tomalin's Thomas Hardy will intrigue and please anyone interested in learning more about the writer of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and The Return of the Native.

As an exemplary literary biography - of which there have been too few in recent years - Thomas Hardy, because of Tomalin's meticulous research and her adroit management of historical, cultural, and literary material, presents a comprehensive look at an author, his work, his life, and - perhaps most significantly - his political and social environment.

Readers will read about young Hardy, the frail but imaginative child who went on to work grudgingly at an architectural firm by day so that he could resolutely pursue his passion - writing - by night. Like virtually all writers, Hardy endured the bitter and seemingly endless disappointments of rejections from publishers. When he went on to become a 'published and celebrated author,' famous for his rural tales of romance and repression, he also - eventually - would become noted for his poetry as well as his literary attacks upon the 'rigid social mores of Victorian England by depicting the plight of the lower class and women, while damning the upper and middle classes.'

'Prolific and enigmatic,' Thomas Hardy, as the 'sphinx-like' and 'unrevealed' novelist and poet, was unique and important in the history of English literature, and this most recent biography ought to generate a renewed and much deserved interest in Hardy's works. Almost certainly, if you read Tomalin's Thomas Hardy, you will be returning to the library to reacquaint yourself with the singular Hardy's great novels and poems. Tomalin's astute biography - a fine achievement by a veteran biographer and journalist - is 'a rare achievement' (The Guardian, U.K.) and, I would further add, is most highly recommended. Enjoy!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews