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 r...more
that, my friends, is a 'pastoral legend' that i grew up believing and this book killed for me. the whole cat...more
And love alone can lend you loyalty;
-I know and knew it. But, unto the store
Of human deeds divine in all but name,
Was it not worth a little hour or more
To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came
To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be
You love not me.
In one of the BBC's Book Club programmes Claire Tomalin disarmingly tells how she was more or less forced by her publisher to come up with a decent by-line to her biography of Thomas Hardy, which she had hoped to call, in all simpl...more
Many of Hardy's denigrators would, though, concede that he writes beautifully, and his oft-neglect...more
There are a few horrible infelicities of language which suggest that maybe her editor is a little in awe of her rep...more
I found the story of the young Hardy growing up in quite poor and difficult circumstances in Bockhampton really fascinating - I suppose I...more
SHe has researched her sudject very well and has produced a book one cannot put down
hardy lived in repressive time yet wrote sucessfully despite his socialistic principles
I had a falltering attempt at trumpetmajor many years ago but now have an appetriite to revisit this victorian litary master
As Tomalin points out and discusses in some de...more
In this biography Tomalin manages to be detailed but not tedious – which in my view is no small feat. Her writing is fluid, simple, and unpretentious. She does not make too many assumptions. I imagine that when compiling a biography, particularly for an enigmatic character like Hardy, it would be easy to infer too much. Tomalin mostly sticks to what she can corroborate with journals, letters, news articles and the lik...more
Hardy (1840-1928) grew up and spent most of his adult life in the Dorset area of southwest England. Almost all his fiction takes place in this...more
Hardy did not have the fortunate birth of some of his literary contemporaries and was always something of an outsider by nature. Slightly...more
However, I didn't enjoy it as much as Claire Tomalin's previous biography of Samual Pepys. Partly that's because Hardy led a less interesting life than Pepys; he spent most of his time writing, he travelled to L...more
Besides viewing Hardy's life from a 21st-century perspective, Claire Tomalin emphasizes his poetry as much as his novels. Her decision to do so may have stemmed from a newly found fondness for his poetry, or it may have been her rationale for writing a new Hardy biography among so many already available. Tomalin is a biographer so confident in her own voice that she can make any subject seem fresh and memorable. As in her biographies of Jane Austen, Samuel Pepys, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Katheri...more
Brilliant biography. She was able to present Hardy's complex relationships in a sufficiently detailed and rounded way, and never with those irritatingly manufactured controvesies that so many writers of biography seem to feel the need to manufacture or to add fuel to e.g. the delightful A. N. Wilson.
I picked this up thanks to Nick Hornby's glowing review, and found it really was all that. Tomalin's focus on Hardy as a poet actually serves to help a newcomer to Hardy understand the nuances of his work, and proves an interesting unifying theme to his life.
She became literary editor of the 'New Statesman' and also the 'Sunday Times'. She has written several noted biographies and her work has been recognised with the award of the 1990 James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the 1991 Hawthornden Prize for 'The Invisible Woman The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens'.