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Thomas Hardy drew thirty-one illustrations for Wessex Poems (1898). Noting both the human potential for and the limits of anthropocentrism, Hardy uses image and text to situate the human in retreat. He explores metaphor and allegory as rhetorical tropes of connection in poems, while exploiting visual and verbal borderlands between the human and nature, dirt, stone, and glass. This essay aims to advance nineteenth-century illustration studies by examining the capaciousness of visual-verbal fields and contact zones. It focuses on specific thematic and aesthetic boundary crossings within one volume to understand how imagetext relations function by challenging traditional perspectives and reshaping meanings.