Cover image for Oxford reader's companion to Hardy
Oxford reader's companion to Hardy
Page, Norman.
Publication Information:
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xx, 528 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR4752 .O94 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



The first attempt to produce a Thomas Hardy Dictionary was made in 1911, before many of his finest poems had even been written, and since then there have been many attempts to produce reference works on his works and his life. None, however, can claim the authority and comprehensiveness ofthis Oxford Reader's Companion to Hardy. Under the editorial direction of Professor Norman Page, more than 40 of the world's most prominent experts on Hardy have been brought together to combine their insights and understandings of all aspects of Hardy studies. The result is a unique synthesis of knowledge, incorporating different nationalinterests and traditions of scholarship, investigating Hardy's life, work, and influences, and the historical context in which he wrote. As well as the assurance of sound scholarship and the convenience of the companion format, there are unexpected delights for the browser, such as entries on alcohol, humour, and pets. The Oxford Reader's Companion to Hardy is an indispensable bible for the Hardy scholar and the Hardy readeralike.

Author Notes

Norman Page, Emeritus Professor, University of Nottingham.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In 1999, Oxford introduced a new branch of its esteemed family of Oxford Companions with the publication of Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens [RBB O 1 99] and Oxford Reader's Companion to Trollope (1999). Reflecting the general format of the previous volumes, these two new compilations cover not only the authors' lives and works but also the social, cultural, and political milieu in which they lived. Thus, the alphabetically arranged entries range from lengthy treatments of each author's publications, to family members, friends, and associates, to places, ideas, and events that had a significant influence on their lives or that figured prominently in their writings. In addition, both volumes include articles that offer valuable overviews of the major critical and biographical studies available on each writer. A significant difference is that only the volume on Conrad also includes entries for major characters. The more than 400 entries in the Conrad companion were authored by Knowles and Moore (both noted Conrad scholars) and four additional contributors, while the 320 entries in the Hardy companion are the work of Page, who is a prominent and prolific authority on English literature, and an international team of 42 scholars. Both volumes include black-and-white illustrations, author chronologies, and useful indexes that arrange entry headings under broad subject categories. The Conrad companion also contains an index of references to his works, a family tree, and a section of maps; and the Hardy companion features five appendixes, ranging from an index to his poems to a list of media adaptations, the latter of which is disappointing in its incompleteness. Both volumes could have benefited from a more generous use of see references; for instance, neither companion refers users from Evolution to Darwinism or from World War I to First World War. Oxford Reader's Companion to Conrad is the first truly encyclopedic work devoted to Conrad. It complements Leonard Orr and Ted Billy's recent A Joseph Conrad Companion (Greenwood, 1999), which is a collection of 14 essays that survey the biographical and critical scholarship on Conrad, and it provides both broader and more in-depth coverage of Conrad's life and works than does Norman Page's A Conrad Companion (St. Martin's, 1986). Because Oxford Reader's Companion to Hardy does not include separate entries for Hardy's characters, earlier guides to Hardy, such as F. B. Pinion's A Hardy Companion (Macmillan, 1976) and Glenda Leeming's Who's Who in Thomas Hardy (Taplinger, 1975), continue to be useful resources for Hardy scholars. Reflecting the high scholarly standards and readability that one has come to expect of an Oxford Companion, these volumes are highly recommended for all academic libraries and for larger public libraries.

Library Journal Review

These additions to the "Reader's Companion" series (following those on Dickens and Trollope) address the need for one-volume encyclopedic surveys of these two master novelists. Although each book uses a basic A-Z format, there are differences as well. The Joseph Conrad reference is concerned with seven broad areas: biography, places associated with the life and writings, literary life, reputation, the works, influences and sources, and historical and cultural contexts. The heading "Conrad, Joseph" in the body of the book refers the reader to a chronology of Conrad's life. Each novel is treated in one long, undivided essay, and individual characters are discussed in detail, as are various critical approaches to the writer. A number of entries end with brief bibliographical paragraphs. Knowles (English, Univ. of Hull, England) and Moore (English, Univ. of Amsterdam) worked with four other contributors. The Thomas Hardy companion is also concerned with seven broad areas: the works, people, places, contexts, publishing, criticism and scholarship, and miscellaneous topics. Both a biography and a chronology are included. Long discussions of the novels are divided into sections (e.g., composition, illustrations, plot, reception, and critical approaches), while the essays on the poetry collections are not. The characters are not discussed individually, and there is one "critical approaches" entry rather than single references to each theory. Many entries end with bibliographies of one or more critical studies, and a good-sized bibliography is included, as are a number of useful appendixes (index of the poems, characters in the fiction, place-names, glossary of dialect words, and Hardy's works in the cinema, radio, and television). Page (English, Univ. of Nottingham. emeritus) worked with 42 contributors. Both works are lively and thorough, and both are highly recommended for upper division academic library collections as well as larger public libraries. (Illustrations not seen.)--Morris Hounion, New York City Technical Coll. Lib., Brooklyn (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Hardy scholar Norman Page provides a most knowledgeable companion to the prose, poetry, and life of Thomas Hardy. Extremely easy to use, the Companion "has been designed to provide, in an easily accessible form, a guide to Hardy's life and work and to the rich and multifarious contexts in which they can best be understood. Its entries, written by a team of more than forty scholars, range from substantial essays to short notes." The book offers first a chronology and a subject index; the greater part of the book is an alphabetical arrangement of those subjects. "Major articles cover Hardy's fourteen published novels, his eight collections of verse, his autobiography, letters, notebooks, and the like." Five appendixes supply an index to the poems by title, a list of characters in the novels, a list of place-names, a glossary of dialect words and expressions, and versions of the works on film, radio, and television. Every library should own at least one book on Hardy; this would be an excellent choice. J. J. McShane; Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Contributorsp. x
List of Abbreviationsp. xi
Chronologyp. xii
Subject Indexp. xvii
The Oxford Reader's Companion to Hardyp. 1
A Index of Hardy's poemsp. 495
B Characters in Hardy's novelsp. 507
C Place-names in Hardy's writingsp. 510
D Glossary of dialect words and expressionsp. 512
E Hardy in the cinema and on radio and televisionp. 517
Bibliographyp. 519
Picture Acknowledgementsp. 529