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by Claire Tomalin

Download Thomas Hardy fb2, epub

ISBN: 0143112872
Author: Claire Tomalin
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (January 29, 2008)
Pages: 528
Category: History & Criticism
Subcategory: Literature
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 748
Size Fb2: 1509 kb
Size ePub: 1891 kb
Size Djvu: 1821 kb
Other formats: lit mobi lit lrf

Claire Tomalin is the author of eight highly acclaimed biographies, including Thomas Hardy and Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, which won the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year Award.

Claire Tomalin is the author of eight highly acclaimed biographies, including Thomas Hardy and Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, which won the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year Award. She has previously won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Hawthornden Prize, the NCR Book Award for Non-Fiction, and the Whitbread Biography Award. Claire Tomalin lives in London and is married to the playwright Michael Frayn.

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FREE shipping on qualifying offers. A masterful portrait ( The Philadelphia Inquirer ) from a Whitbread Award-winning biographer The novels of Thomas Hardy have a permanent place on every booklover's shelf.

CLAIRE TOMALIN Thomas Hardy The Time-Torn Man PENGUIN BOOKS Contents LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS MAP showing the area around Higher Bockhampton and Max Gate PROLOGUE PART. The Time-Torn Man. PENGUIN BOOKS. List of illustrations.

This established the familiar glooming outline of the great Wessex writer we still know and, with some anxious reservations, still love

This established the familiar glooming outline of the great Wessex writer we still know and, with some anxious reservations, still love. Here was the sensitive novelist who turned out to be a neglectful husband; the tender confessional poet who cunningly "falsified" his own biography; the twinkling public man who notoriously believed in a malignant universe.

Claire Tomalin (born Claire Delavenay on 20 June 1933) is an English author and journalist, known for her biographies on Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Samuel Pepys, Jane Austen, and Mary Wollstonecraft. Tomalin was born Claire Delavenay on 20 June 1933 in London, the daughter of English composer Muriel Herbert and French academic Émile Delavenay.

When Thomas Hardy drew his first chancy breaths inside a Dorset cottage in 1840, Wordsworth had yet to become .

When Thomas Hardy drew his first chancy breaths inside a Dorset cottage in 1840, Wordsworth had yet to become England’s poet laureate. By his ninth decade, still writing, Hardy enjoyed listening to the wireless with his dog, Wessex, and had seen the silent-film adaptation of his own Tess of the D’Urbervilles. The author’s life span seems somehow even vaster than it was, a match for the cosmically long view Hardy took of his fictional characters, fate’s playthings set in motion on a blighted star

Claire reveals a personal relationship with Hardy - with childhood memories of her sister reciting his poem 'Lyonnesse'; and how she snuck into her local library to read Jude the Obscure at fourteen, much to her mother's dismay. Her mother was born just two years after the publication of Jude in 1895, and was aware of how its revolutionary.

Thomas Hardy is the acclaimed biography by bestselling author Claire Tomalin. An extraordinary story, beautifully told. Tomalin is the most empathetic of biographers' Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday. Paradox ruled Thomas Hardy's life. In the hands of Whitbread Award-winning biographer Claire Tomalin, author of the bestselling books Charles Dickens: A Life and The Invisible Woman, Thomas Hardy the novelist, poet, neglectful husband and mourning lover all come vividly alive Read online.

бесплатно, без регистрации и без смс. Thomas Hardy is the acclaimed biography by bestselling author Claire Tomalin'An extraordinary story, beautifully told

бесплатно, без регистрации и без смс. Thomas Hardy is the acclaimed biography by bestselling author Claire Tomalin'An extraordinary story, beautifully told. Tomalin is the most empathetic of biographers' Craig Brown, Mail on SundayParadox ruled Thomas Hardy's life. His birth was almost his death; he became one of the great Victorian novelists and reinvented himself as one of the twentieth-century's greatest poets; he was an unhappy husband and a desolate widower; he wrote bitter attacks on the English class system yet prized the friendship of aristocrats

"A masterful portrait" (The Philadelphia Inquirer) from a Whitbread Award-winning biographer, and author of A Life of My Own  The novels of Thomas Hardy have a permanent place on every booklover's shelf, yet little is known about the interior life of the man who wrote them. A believer and an unbeliever, a socialist and a snob, an unhappy husband and a desolate widower, Hardy challenged the sexual and religious conventions of his time in his novels and then abandoned fiction to reestablish himself as a great twentieth-century lyric poet. In this acclaimed new biography, Claire Tomalin, one of today's preeminent literary biographers, investigates this beloved writer and reveals a figure as rich and complex as his tremendous legacy.


No biography by Claire Tomalin can be anything less than interesting and readable, but unfortunately after her superior efforts on the lives of Jane Austen and Samuel Pepys in recent years Tomalin has produced a biography that is neither very needed nor one of her better efforts. Few of the great English writers have a life already better chronicled than Hardy, given the recent excellent biographical study by Millgate (not to mention the two-volume autobiography Hardy himself produced late in life and had published posthumously as a "biography" under the name of his second wife Florence). Tomalin's room to make a new mark here is thus very limited, and she does so by emphasizing his poetry, his relations with his first wife Emma, and by engaging in some very bizarre speculation based on the few areas in Hardy's life where we have very little evidence. Where such speculation was necessary for her lives of Austen and Pepys (given the comparative paucity of supporting materials about their lives, and, in Austen's case, of first-hand documentation of her subject's life), it seems perverse when dealing with a life so thoroughly documented both by Hardy himself and by those who knew them. In one instance, she proposes that because the name of Abel Whittle is THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE is also the name of a Dorset man who was a contemporary of Hardy's mother Jemima, that this might mean that Hardy collaborated with the plot of that novel with his mother--a highly dubious speculation.

Tomalin is on much more solid ground when she talks about Hardy's famous deteriorating relationship with his odd lonely wife Emma, who grew to loathe her husband in her later years and to document that hatred in great detail in her journals. Emma Hardy emerges as a much more distinct character in this work than does the droll, controlling Hardy or his frustrated second wife Florence, and again it might have been better had Tomalin stuck more to the facts to give a fuller portrait of her three main figures. The biography is also oddly too short, given the length of Hardy's life: odd details, like his brief meeting with the Prince of Wales in the twenties, whereas his relations with other writers (such as E. M. Forster) are given in barely any of the space they deserve. And at times Tomalin does not seem to have taken her narrative through the requisite drafts she might have: for example, midway through one paragraph she suddenly begins to describe in great detail a vitriolic attack Emma Hardy directed against Hardy's sister Mary without any explanation whatsoever of what prompted the tirade. Hardy's life was too rich, and Tomalin too good of a writer, for this book to be unreadable or uninteresting, but given her achievements with her biographies of Austen, Pepys, Katherine Mansfield, Mary Wollstonecraft, and others this book comes as a big let-down.
Thomas Hardy's continuing popularity and ever-rising acclaim ensure that there is a new biography of him every few years. This may seem excessive, as he wrote a two volume autobiography, and nearly everyone agrees the definitive biography (Millgate's) was written decades ago and has itself been recently updated. We can thus only ask, "Is this book worthwhile?"

It depends on who you are. Like most biographies, it has two potential audiences: those who have never read a Hardy biography and those who have read several or all. The former is clearly primary, and the book is excellent for them. It will give them new appreciation of the subject and his works, which is any artistic biography's test. Though outwardly extremely simple, Hardy was inwardly very complex, and Tomalin's significant insight into his personality and some of his stranger actions is probably more valuable than the widely available bare facts. She does not go as deep here as some will want, but it is quite sufficient for most. Her book covers Hardy's whole life and is accurate and very readable; some may want more ornamented prose, but she is clear and never bogs down in scholarly pretentiousness. She does not assume readers are intensely familiar with Hardy's work but, somewhat strangely, does often casually refer to other writers and works as if everyone knows them. One should of course read at least the vast majority of any author's work before coming to a biography, and any reasonably well-read person will have no trouble following the other references, so this should not be a problem. Even more accessible to neophytes is the book's conciseness - 380 pages not counting documentation, which is quite short considering that Hardy lived into his 87th year. Also in their favor is that documentation is confined to the back, letting those wanting only the text read without interruption or clutter. Finally, there is a small picture section and convenient index.

There is much less to attract the other audience. Several other biographies are more comprehensive, but more importantly, this has virtually no new facts. That said, Tomalin's method is somewhat different and, depending on one's degree of devotion, perhaps makes the book worthwhile. Her prime distinction, clear from the first paragraph, is that she emphasizes poems over fiction. Hardy considered himself a poet first and insisted that he wrote fiction for money - and indeed he wrote poetry nearly his whole life but quit fiction in 1895 despite living until 1928. However, he remains known mostly for fiction, and biographers have concentrated on it. This will likely have an ambivalent effect on casuals - some will bemoan fiction being deemphasized; some will appreciate the novelty -, but hard-cores may well be refreshed. Particularly interesting is that Tomalin uses the poems mainly for biographical insight - a risky move. The advantage is that she often sends us back to the works, often with new insight or appreciation, which is the highest praise that an artistic biography can get. That said, she often has no evidence besides subjective readings. Few have made better or more thorough artistic use of their lives than Hardy, but I am against biographical readings on principle without undeniable evidence, and the presentation of her readings as fact sometimes irks me. In her defense, her readings are always very well-argued and indeed convincing, and her non-biographical readings are also admirable. Over and above the poetry focus, the book is in the best way often nearly as much critical as biographical; she interweaves the works into the text in a way that is rarely done, and fans will appreciate it. This is what a literary biography should do in my view. Some may disagree, wishing Tomalin focused more on Hardy.

This brings up a few contentious points. The Prologue makes clear that the book is about Hardy the writer, and it certainly does a good job of that, but some may want more. I for one would have liked more detail about his architectural career. On the other hand, Tomalin should be commended for generally sticking to biographical facts. This is particularly important with Hardy because he was private, had his autobiography put out in a deliberately misleading way, and burned nearly all private papers. Details of his daily life, especially later years, are known almost entirely via irregular visitors and servants, most of whom spoke decades later and some of whom are for various reasons unreliable. This has inevitably meant that biographers have indulged in much speculation - some of it plausible, some of it absurd. Tomalin nearly avoids this altogether, even when it would have been especially interesting or seemingly inevitable, e.g., why Hardy had no children despite wanting them greatly. It must be said, though, that this is not always to the unambiguous good. For example, when neither an overt explanation from Hardy nor an objective outside one presents itself for one of the many paradoxes in his actions, thoughts, or personality, Tomalin is at a clear loss. The contrast between Hardy's deep pessimism and his generally successful life is a glaring instance. Her clear frustration at being unable to explain is near-embarrassing and quite puzzling when it seems obvious that Hardy simply had an ability to see deeply into the human condition without being bound by his own circumstances. Many, probably most, great artists have this; it is indeed arguably necessary to great art. Failure to see this is biographical criticism's main and often near fatal side effect and greatly regrettable. More valuably, Tomalin convincingly dismisses several of the wilder claims made by others.

Documentation and objectivity are important in any biography, and here Tomalin excels. She has 70 pages of notes derived from an impressively large and diverse array of sources. They are mostly very reliable, and Tomalin is unusually candid about acknowledging when they are not, which makes looking at the notes essential even to those normally disinclined. This is unfortunately annoying because the notes average several per page, requiring one to constantly flip to the back, but they are at least marked in the text. There is also an eight-page bibliography of great use to anyone interested in further reading.

Tone is also always integral to biography, and Tomalin's generally strikes the right note for me but is bound to rouse some ambivalence. This is no hagiography, but she clearly has great respect for Hardy and is perhaps too keen to defend. Even his greatest critic would be hard-pressed to find a major fault in his life, but Tomalin's lack of unqualified negativity may pique some readers. Interestingly and quite unusually, she has much the same attitude toward others; for instance, unlike many, she is sympathetic to Hardy's wives despite being well aware of their faults. A prime example is her account of Hardy's first marriage, which was very bitter toward the end. She refuses to blame either Hardy, writing almost as if the marriage fell apart of itself. One can easily call this ridiculous, but it may after all have been true to an extent and is at any rate a very Hardyesque depiction; his novels are full of tragedy, but it is remarkable how little anyone is to blame. He would probably have appreciated the objectivity. In contrast, Tomalin is notably clear-eyed in regard to Hardy's work, unafraid to be detrimental when she thinks it justified. If anything, she goes too far here - to me at least, as several of the works she slights I think are great. This is of course subjective, but we must value her honesty at any rate.

All told, this is probably the best biography for general readers, but those wanting a comprehensive one are probably better off with Millgate, and everyone should read Hardy's autobiography before any outside book.
It is remarkable see the appearance of such a retrograde biography. Nothng new except the cover. "How many times do we have to hear....?"

Tomaline's work is not really the fruit of research. It rehashes all that Millgrate had covered and leaves out (!!!!) all that has been found of interest since Millgate's biography. We hear nothing of Hardy's first wife's hatred of him...didn't she leave a multi-volume diary entitled "Why I Hate My Husband"? No, instead Tomaline gives us the wife that made the man a poet. We get nothing of the control freak whose alter ego was "Will Strong," the prinipal character from an unpublished first novel. Hardy was such a control freak that he wrote his autobiography in the third person (imagine spaking about yourself as "he" and suggesting motives to yourself as though to another!) and then had his second wife publish it in her name after his death to make it seems a biography? There is so much that is newly interesting about the author that it is indeed surprising that Tomalin's rewriting Millgate (by the way, a quite Hardean strategy of overwriting which made his novels palimpsests of notable quotation), made its way to the press. Same ol' same ol. Ho hum.

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