Tuesday, 10 November 2015

New Challenge: The Works of Thomas Hardy.

Having completed my Chaucer Challenge it's time to focus on something new. I'd decided upon Hardy in the summer, but this past few weeks I was having second thoughts - I considered picking up the abandoned Dostoyevsky's works, or reading Orwell, Marlowe, and a few others. But I do really want to read Thomas Hardy. 

I've had a funny experience with Hardy - I've read some poetry, some short stories, and nine of his novels - Under the Greenwood Tree, A Pair of Blue Eyes, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, Two on a Tower, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and Jude the Obscure, some I absolutely loved, some I didn't, some I hated. All the same I do have an urge to re-read the ones I haven't read in a while, and read the ones I haven't yet read. As I did enjoy his poetry I'd like to read more, and I also have listed most if not all of his short story collection. 

I've prepared my list as you can see - in bold with links are the books I've read recently (within the past year). The rest I shall work my way through! I don't have a time limit, nor do I have a plan as such. It would be nice to read these in order of publication and I will make an effort to do, but I won't hold myself to that - that may well sap out the enjoyment of this. 

There's nothing left to say but here is my list, and please wish me luck!

Desperate Remedies (1871)
Under the Greenwood Tree (1872)
A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873)
Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)
The Hand of Ethelberta (1876)
The Return of the Native (1878)
The Trumpet-Major (1880)
A Laodicean (1881)
Two on a Tower (1882)
The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)
The Woodlanders (1887)
Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891)
Jude the Obscure (1895)
The Well-Beloved (1897)
Short Stories
Wessex Tales (1888)
A Group of Noble Dames (1891)
Life's Little Ironies (1894)
A Changed Man and Other Tales (1913)
Wessex Poems and Other Verses (1898)
Poems of the Past and the Present (1901)
Time's Laughingstocks and Other Verses (1909)
Satires of Circumstance (1914)
Moments of Vision (1917)
Late Lyrics and Earlier with Many Other Verses (1922)
Human Shows, Far Phantasies, Songs and Trifles (1925)
Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres (1928)
The Dynasts (1904 - 1908)
Part I (1904)
Part II (1906)
Part III (1908) 
The Famous Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall (1923) 
How I Built Myself a House (1865)
Dialect in Novels (1878)
On Use of Dialect (1881)
The Dorsetshire Labourer (1883)
The Rev. William Barnes, B.D. (1886)
The Profitable Reading of Fiction (1888)
Candour in English Fiction (1890)
The Science of Fiction (1891)
Why I Don't Write Plays (1892)
On the Tree of Knowledge (1894)
Memories of Church Restoration (1906)
Laws on the Cause of Misery (1912)
Appreciation of Anatole France (1913)
The War and Literature (1915)
Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man by Claire Tomalin (2006) 


  1. Good, you read The Dynasts and tell me about it. I don't think I have the stamina.

    The first three books of poetry, read as books, were all excellent and made sense as collections, and I know that the later ones have as many or more great poems.

    I hope to read several Hardy novels in the near future. Tess, especially, is a big hole in my reading.

    Anyway, best of luck. How can this not be rewarding?

  2. Luck!!!!

    My first Hardy was Return of the Native and I fell in love with his writing. Next year, I am definitely reading Far From the Madding Crowd. But there are many more on your list that I want to read.

    Maybe some of your rereads (of the ones you did not like) will turn out differently this time around.

    Have fun!

    1. Thank you!

      Those, I'm afraid, are two I didn't like! I do want to re-read them, and I especially have hope for Return of the Native - the first time I read it I was in someone's bedroom at a party which wasn't ideal reading circumstances (I'll add my boyfriend's a singer / musician and he was performing there, so I wasn't a guest - I'm not as anti-social as all that!).

    2. That's funny. Try reading RotN in a quiet place. (I've read a book at birthday party. I think I am that anti-social.)

    3. That IS funny! I can just imagine you locked in a bedroom reading at a party. :-D

      Hey, my husband's a musician as well! Another thing in common!

    4. Ruth, you're now my hero! :)

      Ah Cleo, that's very cool! What does he play? :)

    5. Guitar ..... any style. What about your boyfriend?

    6. Various - guitar, harmonica, ukulele, melodion (the old fashioned squeeze box kind), and piano. He focuses mostly on ukulele and melodion (he only just started learning in the summer, but as I type this he's playing a rather jolly tune!) :)

  3. You certainly don't let the grass grown under your feet. I'll perhaps try to join you for a couple. I've read Under the Greenwood Tree and two others that I can't even remember what they were. Isn't that terrible? Hardy and I didn't get off to a good start but I hope to remedy it.

    Thanks for the map. I love maps and I think we minimize the huge help that they can be. Since your Reading England Challenge, I think I'm going to generate a map to place all the settings from my books. It's really helpful when you're trying to make connections and even imagining things in your head.

    Bonne chance!

    1. I love maps too - I like a good literary map :)

      A 'Reading England' map would be a good idea for the 2016 Reading England - you should do it!

    2. Boy, I just searched for a couple of his non-fiction books and they appear almost impossible to find. Perhaps it's easier in UK ....

  4. Why wish you luck? I wish you enjoyment and pleasure. Hardy is someone different in the long 19th century (as he goes on a while in the 20th...). And it is a pleasure to read someone different. To make reacquaintances and discoveries. This is not a challenge - I don't like the word -: it looks more like a journey you are going to make in Wessex. You already have the map; :)
    Please, keep us posted and send cards!!!!

  5. I admire your ambition in "The Hardy Project." :-) I've read a lot of his novels (maybe seven) and only have Desperate Remedies to go of the ones I already own. And I don't know how it's possible,but I'd almost forgotten that I'd read "The Waiting Supper and Other Stories" many years ago. I particularly remember the title story but not much else. enjoy!

    1. I'm now nearly finished Desperate Remedies - I do recommend it! I love it, though I recognise it's not the finest book every written... :)

  6. I'll look forward to following your progress on this one. Might give me the nudge I need to pick up those Hardy novels getting dusty on my shelf (notably Jude the Obscure and The Return of the Native). Good luck!

    1. Jude is excellent - I really recommend that and I'm looking forward to re-reading it myself :)


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