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  • New Hardy Companion
  • Benjamin F. Fisher
Rosemarie Morgan , ed. The Ashgate Research Companion to Thomas Hardy. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010. xxiv + 663 pp. $175.00

Visions and revisions related to authors (and other artists) continue to appear, the majority of them recording shifting perspectives on their subject. Morgan's book is no exception. F. B. Pinion's earlier A Hardy Companion: A Guide to the Works of Thomas Hardy and Their Background (1968) is superseded by the present book, in which the editor and twenty-five authors contribute chapters focused on aspects of Hardy as evidenced in this complete listing: [End Page 539]

  • "Introduction," Rosemarie Morgan

  • "Hardy Bibliographies," Charles E. C. Pettit

  • "The First Hundred Years of Hardy Criticism, 1871-1971," W. Eugene Davis

  • "Hardy Archives," Charles E. C. Pettit

  • "Hardy and Victorian Popular Culture: Performing Modernity in Music Hall and Melodrama," Richard Nemesvari

  • "Hardy in (a Time of) Transition," Suzanne J. Flynn

  • "Hardy and the Law: Sexual Relations and 'Matrimonial Divergence,'" William A. Davis

  • "From Stratford to Casterbridge: The Influence of Shakespeare," Dennis Taylor

  • "The Evolution of Wessex," Rosemarie Morgan with Scott Rode

  • "Philosophy, Metaphysics and Music in Hardy's Cosmic Vision," Mark Asquith

  • "One Church, Several Faiths, No Lord: Thomas Hardy, Art and Belief," Timothy Hands

  • "Evolution and Deep Time in Selected Works of Hardy," Kevin Padian

  • "Hardy's Poetic Cosmology and the 'New Astronomy,'" Pamela Gossin

  • "Hardy and Scientific Humanism," Andrew Radford

  • "'Tune' and 'Thought': The Uses of Music in Hardy's Poetry," John Hughes

  • "Psychological Approaches to Thomas Hardy," Suzanne Keen

  • "Hardy and Gender," Judith Mitchell

  • "Hardy and the Cinema: 'A Plethoric Growth in Knowledge,'" Paul J. Niemeyer

  • "Hardy's Short Stories," Sophie Gilmartin

  • "The Dynasts: Hardy's Contribution to the Epic Tradition," Harold Orel

  • "Hardy: The Driftiness of Tragedy," Dale Kramer

  • "Hardy and Masculinity: A Pair of Blue Eyes and Jude the Obscure," Phillip Mallett

  • "Reading Absences in Hardy's Lyrics: Representation and Recognition," DeSales Harrison

  • "Illustrating Hardy's Novels," Ian Rogerson

  • "Hardy and the Biographers," Phillip Mallett [End Page 540]

  • "'The Proudest Songster of Them All': Some Thoughts on Three 'Everyday' Lyrics," Tom Paulin

  • "Vision and Revision: Time Warps in Moments of Vision," Gillian Beer

  • "Hands in Hardy," J. Hillis Miller

These chapters appear under various categorizing headings. The volume concludes with a "Thomas Hardy Bibliography" and a detailed index.

In a 1200-word review it would be difficult to confront the panorama of these considerable dimensions or to single out one or two of the chapters as outstanding because each is significant in its own way. What follows, then, are selected highlights. Editor Morgan's "Introduction" is a work of enviable concision, presenting a wealth of pertinent information to set the stage. Such excellence is no surprise; for years Morgan has prepared the annual chapter on Hardy for "The Year's Work" section of Victorian Poetry, and her chapters are models of information well assembled. Just so with the approaches taken by the chapter authors; all combine to create a book that is a "must" for anyone concerned with gaining useful information about Hardy and his writings, no matter the particular interest. A reader should note, too, the attentive consideration given to the bibliographical work by Richard L. Purdy. Like Henry James, Hardy prepared somewhat different versions of one or another of his individual works, contingent upon requirements/demands of different periodical editors; choosing a "definitive" text of any one work raises issues. One readily thinks of Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

From bibliographical viewpoints, which may elicit their own kinds of controversies, it should be a natural step to evaluations of the status of Hardy's short stories, because the stories have attracted more, and more serious, attention since the time of Pinion's Companion. There, for example, one finds no index entry for "The Fiddler of the Reels." That story keeps drawing notice from critics, as is attested in several sections of the present book, Gilmartin's chapter on the short fiction being the most relevant. There we also find persuasive cause to keep Hardy's short fiction in mind because this body of his work addresses the same concerns as we find in the novels (which, of course, have been...


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