An Historical Evaluation of Thomas Hardy’s Poetry

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Collects critical essays on Hardy’s poetry, from Edmund Gosse (1918) to Samuel Hynes (1997), which reflect not only the diverse nature of Hardy’s poetry but also show how critics of different generations have added to our understanding and appreciation of it. Some articles are concerned with Hardy’s relationship with other poets like Wordsworth, Housman, Yeats, and Larkin.


“The range of commentary covers just about every perspective the twentieth century has had to offer on Hardy, and this commentary issues from some of the best observers. The collection confirms that as well as being a popular poet, Hardy has always been a poet’s poet. Hence, along with the specially well chosen academic offerings, we find essays by T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, John Crowe Ransom, and W. H. Auden from the earlier part of the century, and appreciations by Philip Larkin, Thom Gunn, Donald Davie, and Seamus Heaney from the later part. In addition to the valuable service he performs in bringing these distinguished voices together, Amitav Banerjee himself provides a fine, balanced, and helpful introduction to the whole.” – John Roe

“. . . a magnificent compendium of criticism of Hardy’s verse, with commentators ranging from Gosse, Eliot, and Pound early in the century to Seamus Heaney, Hillis Miller, and M. L. Rosenthal in recent years. Not only Hardy enthusiasts but educated readers in general will be grateful for the bright and various light these essays shed on the oeuvre of a great poet.” – Victor Strandberg

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface; Introduction
· Edmund Gosse (1918): Mr. Hardy’s Lyrical Poems
· John Middleton Murry (1919) The Poetry of Mr. Hardy
· I.A. Richards (1924-25): Thomas Hardy: Contemporary Poet
· T. S. Eliot (1933) Thomas Hardy
· Ezra Pound (1938): Thomas Hardy: Poet
· W. H. Auden (1940): A Literary Transference
· David Perkins (1959) Hardy and the Poetry of Isolation
· John Crowe Ransome (1960): Thomas Hardy’s Poems and the Religious Difficulties of a Naturalist
· Irving Howe (1966): The Short Poems of Thomas Hardy
· Philip Larkin (1968): The Poetry of Thomas Hardy
· Thom Gunn (1970): Thomas Hardy and the Ballads
· Charles E. May (1970) Thomas Hardy and Poetry of the Absurd
· Donald Davie (1972): Hardy’s Virgilian Purples
· Eugenio Montale (1972): A Note on Hardy the Poet
· A. Banerjee (1981): Philip Larkin and Thomas Hardy
· Richard Hoffpauir (1983): Yeats or Hardy?
· Seamus Heaney (1985-6): Place, Pastness, Poems: A Triptych
· Dennis Taylor (1986): Hardy and Wordsworth
· J. Hillis Miller (1987): Topography and tropography in Thomas Hardy’s “In Front of a Landscape”
· M. L. Rosenthal (1991): Hardy’s Satires: Hard Knowledge, Ghostly Presences, Sexual Loss
· Robert Langbaum (1992): The Issue of Hardy’s Poetry
· U. C. Knoepflmacher (1993): Hardy’s Ruins: Female Spaces, Male Designs
· Dan Jacobson (1996): Thomas Hardy: The Poet as Philosopher
· Samuel Hynes (1997): How to be an Old Poet: The Examples of Hardy and Yeats
· Joseph Brodsky (1998): Wooing the Inanimate
· Index

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