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Woman Much Missed

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  718 ratings  ·  109 reviews
'Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me...'

After the death of his wife Emma, a grief-stricken Hardy wrote some of the best verse of his career. Moving and evocative, it ranks among the greatest elegiac poetry in the language.

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of P
Paperback, Little Black Classics, #14, 56 pages
Published February 26th 2015 by Penguin Classics (first published 1914)
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Leonard Gaya
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
The author of Tess of the D'Urbervilles considered himself primarily as a poet. The verses collected in this short volume express Thomas Hardy’s grief after his wife’s death. But let’s step back a moment, shall we?

Thomas Hardy met Emma Gifford at thirty, as he was working as an architect, and wedded her four years later. Emma was as cute as a button. Still, she was also an impudent young woman from a very posh family, who considered her husband her inferior — notably, she disapproved of his writ
Sean Barrs
These poems are really quite touching. Hardy clearly wasn’t the same man after his wife died; he clearly spent years lamenting her death most likely the rest of his life. His poems are full of sorrow and longing. They channel the voice of a man who has lost the single most important thing in his existence: his love. And he looks for her everywhere. This is my favourite poem in here:

She did not turn,
But passed foot-faint with averted head
In her gown of green, by the bobbing fern,
Though I leaned
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Yet abides the fact, indeed, the same,--
You are past love, praise, indifference, blame."

- Thomas Hardy, Woman Much Missed


Vol 14 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. The small selection of Thomas Hardy's poems focus on poetry he wrote around the death of his first wife, Emma Gifford, in November of 1912. I've known Hardy mostly as a writer of classic, Victorian realist novels. So, his pastoral and elegiac verse was a moving surprise. I read a couple to my wife and wondered what I would
Michelle Curie
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were..."

These poems tugged at my heartstrings. They were written by Thomas Hardy, who is most formerly known as an English novelist, but saw himself as a poet first and foremost. It was in 1870 that he met Emma Gifford, who was said to be a true beauty and quite a contrast to the slender and depressed Thomas.

Despite being different in nature, they married four years later. Their marriage is said to having
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I buddy-read this collection of poetry with the wonderful Miriam. It was her idea to examine Hardy's work through the lens of the five stages of grief, so I am not taking credit for that idea! Analysing his poems this way was very revealing.
Veteris vestigia flammae
(My passion is not wholly extinguished)
Thomas Hardy wrote these poems after the death of his first wife, Emma. They had grown apart during the later years of their marriage, with Hardy and his secretary having an affair through Em
Loredana (Bookinista08)
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, poetry
I'm a declared fan of Hardy's, but I must confess that, until Woman Much Missed, I hadn't had the chance or curiosity to read any of his poems. I focused solely on his prose. But, man, did I miss out! Considering that this short poem collection, dedicated to his dead wife, brought actual tears to my eyes, I couldn't give it less than 5 stars. I thought it was wonderful, and though not all poems were that great, they all said something to me. My favorite one was The Spell of the Rose:

"But I was c
"Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me..." -Thomas Hardy
I've only read a few of these poems, and I already had to stop and talk about them!!! His verse is incredibly moving, and pairs beautifully with the setting of landscapes. He captures so many raw emotions, which I can so easily feel through his words! Most of the poems in this collection were "penned by the grief stricken Hardy after his wife's death." They hold so much sorrow, but at the same time so much adoration.
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I'm not very experienced in reading poetry. I can say I like it, but always is small portions. Woman Much Missed collects poems Thomas Hardy wrote after losing his wife in 1912. Therefore, they are all dark in sadness, but beautifully so as Hardy struggles with his loss. There was a lot of symbolism there that I quite liked, but after awhile it was rather heavy and I am wondering if it really is a representative sample of his writing (a
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, poetry
This was absolutely beautiful. I haven't read all that much poetry but I was really blown away by this. Hardy writes this not as a young lovestruck boy, but as an older grief ridden man desperately missing his wife who he spent decades married to. You could sense the raw emotions in this and I have to say my favourite poem was "He Preferred her Earthly". This was just stunning and I hope to read more of Hardy in the future. ...more
Hazel (Stay Bookish)
Actual rating: 3.5
Hardy's grief about his wife is prominent, but because I'd just read Bronte's poetry a bit ago, it's hard not to compare and I have to say this paled a bit in comparison.
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What is there to say.... Just beautiful, a pleasure to read.
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, classics
Beautiful, moving poems. I think I'll always prefer Hardy's novels to his poetry but I couldn't deny the power of some of these in particular. ...more
Yara (The Narratologist)
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mini Review:

Poor Hardy. He wanted so much to be a poet and all anyone was ever interested in were his novels.

This little collection focuses on the poems he wrote after his wife died and even though I too prefer his novels, some of these are really very touching. Hardy and his wife had grown apart, but after her death, he suddenly found himself rediscovering his love for her. In these poems, he is full of regret and remorse while his wife's spirit haunts him, just out of reach.

Worth every penny.
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
2.5. wasn't really feeling it. ...more
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
beautiful poems
mostly centered around death and nature, either connecting both or simply sharing thoughts on it.

i am still new to poetry so i am unsure how to talk about it.
i found them beautiful
and o love those little black classics because they offer those little snippets - enough to know if you enjoy it but not too much to be overwhelming.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Though dreary and perhaps not my favorite poet, you can practically feel the way his wife’s death changed him and as a result, his poetry. These verses were so filled with symbolism that it was almost too much to ger through. But there’s some really beautiful lines in there.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
It may stand for her once in November
When first she breathed, witless of all
Or in heavy years she would remembered
When circumstance held her in thrall
Or at last , when she answered her call

Probably the first high rating poem book , it was beautiful and really enjoyed so many poems , most of them were sad because it was for his dead wife but still it was worth wasting my time on it
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
2.4/5 stars

A book of 56 pages housing 36 short poems by Thomas Hardy. They are quite moving as they were written by Hardy after the death of his wife, which he never fully recovered from; he lamented her until the day he died. While, naturally, the verses were rife with sentimentality, it has to be said that the poems were lacking potency altogether. Perhaps it was wise of Hardy to stick to novels and short-stories, rather than poems.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
His poems express his pain in such a way that you can feel his despair in your own heart and soul.
Beautiful & very touching poetry.
May 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry-english
Touching poems about lost, at times a bit simplistic but touching.
I enjoyed this immensely. But that may not be due to Hardy's words as much as the fact that I spent a glorious summer night listening to my boyfriend's voice as he read the poems, doing different dialects and treasure hunting for words he didn't know.

After all, poetry is meant to be read aloud. It only increases the loveliness of the rhymes, giving shape and breathing life into the words.

This poetry collection itself is quite lovely. Filled with tragic love poems tinged with regret. Hardy is mou
Amber Rush
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, history, own, poetry
A harrowing selection of poetry from Hardy, mostly written soon after he lost his wife. The emotion that echoes in these poems is so apparent in every part of the collection. Hardy's life clearly changed dramatically after his wife died while also sharing beautiful memories of times with his wife he no longer enjoys. The majority are written from his view of no longer spending time with the person he loves so dearly, often starting joyful and ending in the melancholy of death. Although some are ...more
The poems were very pretty to read, but for me at least that's about as far as it goes. It was lovely to read how much the guy had clearly loved his wife, and I did enjoy reading them, but they just aren't something I would rush to read again. Once was enough - they are good, but they aren't that good. ...more
Dane Cobain
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
All of the poems here were written about Hardy’s wifeafter her passing and so they’re both maudlin and moving. Still not my favourite type of poetry, but pretty good and certainly worth a read.

Tordar Tømmervik
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was ok
Probably good, I guess.
Won't even pretend I'm sophisticated enough for this kind of stuff.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
'A Second Attempt' was my favorite. ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely beautiful. I can t describe what exactly i felt while reading each poem. Inside my soul was a storm of emotions. I knew that for a good love story, I have to read Thomas Hardy!
Joey Woolfardis
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookshelf, 2015, lyrical
Thomas Hardy, Victorian and Georgian writer of prose and poetry, most famous for his novels Far from the Madding Crowd and Tess of the D'Urbervilles, is grief-stricken by the death of his wife Emma in 1912 and writes the melancholic and haunting poetry featured in this Little Black Classic.

Whilst I prefer my poetry to rhyme, and whilst I can fully appreciate the symbolism and emotion of these pieces, none of them really struck me as being anything other than just poetry. They are as well-written
Apr 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I have always struggled to like Hardy and, aside from The Withered Arm I haven't loved his prose. I remember bumping into his poetry during my degree and thinking it much more worthy of attention and so I was pleased to see this small volume among the little black classics series. It is a set of poems written as elegies for his late wife as he tried to cope with the grief following her death. It seems churlish to offer judgement on such heartfelt thoughts but I will simply say that they are a bi ...more
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Thomas Hardy, OM, was an English author of the naturalist movement, although in several poems he displays elements of the previous romantic and enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain. The bulk of his work, set mainly in the semi-fictional land of Wessex, delineates cha ...more

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