Cover image for Thomas Hardy : the novels
Thomas Hardy : the novels
Page, Norman.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York : Palgrave, 2001.
Physical Description:
viii, 199 pages ; 23 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR4757.F5 P34 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This book is designed to serve as a practical guide for students and others wishing to improve their skills in the detailed analysis and discussion of Hardy's prose texts. Its aim is to sharpen readers' awareness of the complexity and subtlety of Hardy's art by encouraging responsiveness to such aspects as language and style, imagery and symbol, descriptive and dramatic method and narrative technique. At the same time extracts are considered not in isolation but in relation to the overall purposes of a highly-organised text.

While the main focus is on four of Hardy's most-widely read novels, the twenty-four examples of close analysis cover six major themes that are relevant to all his fiction. There are also numerous references to his other writings in prose and verse. The second part of the book provides, in succinct form, essential background material, including an outline of Hardy's life and career and an account of the literary, historical and intellectual contexts of his fiction. As well as a guide to further reading, a chapter is devoted to samples of criticism illustrating a range of approaches to the chosen texts and representing the work of important critics past and present.

Author Notes

NORMAN PAGE is Emeritus Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Nottingham.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This book--one in Palgrave's "Analysing Texts" series--aims to act as a guide for showing how close analysis can reveal the subtleties of Hardy's narrative art. The first part sets up six thematic issues in a chapter apiece--writer and reader, beginnings and endings, nature and humanity, individuals and communities, tradition and change, men and women--and then shows how these issues are present by analyzing four different extracts from each of four of Hardy's best-known novels. The second part deals with biographical, historical, and critical context, providing some short examples of criticism. A preeminent Hardy scholar, Page (Univ. of Nottingham, UK) provides virtuoso examples of what close textual analysis can achieve in his sophisticated, detailed, and precisely articulated examinations of ideas, style, and narrative technique. The issues selected are core to understanding Hardy. Even though Page's informed analyses would be impossible for the ordinary Hardy reader to emulate, the book will provide a good starting point for suggesting possibilities to undergraduates. The necessarily succinct nature of extracts and criticism will inevitably lead to some frustration, but the selections may also prompt more in-depth historical or critical investigation. Highly recommended for undergraduate libraries. T. Loe SUNY College at Oswego

Table of Contents

Part I Writer and Reader
Beginnings and Endings
Nature and Humanity
Individuals and Communities
Tradition and Change
Men and Women
Part II Hardy's Life and Work
The Context of Hardy's Fiction
Samples of Criticism
Guide to Further Reading