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Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited

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Michael Millgate's classic biography of Thomas Hardy, was first published in 1982. Much new information about Hardy has since become available, often in volumes edited or co-edited by Millgate himself, and many established assumptions have been challenged and revolutionized by scholarly research. In this extensively revised, fully reconsidered, and considerably-expanded ne Michael Millgate's classic biography of Thomas Hardy, was first published in 1982. Much new information about Hardy has since become available, often in volumes edited or co-edited by Millgate himself, and many established assumptions have been challenged and revolutionized by scholarly research. In this extensively revised, fully reconsidered, and considerably-expanded new edition Millgate, the world's leading Hardy scholar, draws not only upon these new materials but upon an exceptional understanding of Hardy gained from long immersion in the study of his life and work. Many large and small aspects of Hardy's life are here freshly illuminated, including his family background, his fumbling self-education as a poet, his difficult relations with his first wife and hers with his family, his sexual infatuations, his secret collaborations with aspiring women writers, his clandestine composition of his own official biography, and the memory-invoking techniques by which he sustained his remarkable creativity into extreme old age. Thorough, authoritative and eminently readable, Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited will become the standard life of Hardy for a new generation.


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Michael Millgate's classic biography of Thomas Hardy, was first published in 1982. Much new information about Hardy has since become available, often in volumes edited or co-edited by Millgate himself, and many established assumptions have been challenged and revolutionized by scholarly research. In this extensively revised, fully reconsidered, and considerably-expanded ne Michael Millgate's classic biography of Thomas Hardy, was first published in 1982. Much new information about Hardy has since become available, often in volumes edited or co-edited by Millgate himself, and many established assumptions have been challenged and revolutionized by scholarly research. In this extensively revised, fully reconsidered, and considerably-expanded new edition Millgate, the world's leading Hardy scholar, draws not only upon these new materials but upon an exceptional understanding of Hardy gained from long immersion in the study of his life and work. Many large and small aspects of Hardy's life are here freshly illuminated, including his family background, his fumbling self-education as a poet, his difficult relations with his first wife and hers with his family, his sexual infatuations, his secret collaborations with aspiring women writers, his clandestine composition of his own official biography, and the memory-invoking techniques by which he sustained his remarkable creativity into extreme old age. Thorough, authoritative and eminently readable, Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited will become the standard life of Hardy for a new generation.

30 review for Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Solid and comprehensive biography of Hardy, meticulously researched with great detail and excellent use of sources. I know much more about the details of Hardy's life and opinions; about his two marraiges, his protectiveness about his work; the tension between the poet and the novelist; his love of his native county; the sources of his novels; his daily habits; his friendshipa and enemies and so on. And yet ... something is missing. Good as this biography is, I'm not sure I know Mr Hardy; his es Solid and comprehensive biography of Hardy, meticulously researched with great detail and excellent use of sources. I know much more about the details of Hardy's life and opinions; about his two marraiges, his protectiveness about his work; the tension between the poet and the novelist; his love of his native county; the sources of his novels; his daily habits; his friendshipa and enemies and so on. And yet ... something is missing. Good as this biography is, I'm not sure I know Mr Hardy; his essence, if you like, is not quite there. Some biographies leave you feeling you have spent time with the person. Detailed as this was, I didn't come away with that feeling and felt that maybe Millgate knew so much about Hardy that getting it all down on paper was the aim rather than capturing the man himself. I suspect that I will read Claire Tomalin's biography at some point for a contrast. If you want a detailed and scholarly analysis of Hardy's life and work and you like splendid Victorian photographs this is the book for you; but though I now know I great deal about him, Hardy himself is still a little elusive.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)

    I just finished reading Michael Millgate's biography of Thomas Hardy. Interestingly, I read this immediately after finishing Claire Tomalin's more recent Hardy biography, Thomas Hardy. Millgate's biography is superb--scholarly and very detailed. I enjoyed it very much, but if I had to choose my favorite, I'd probably go with Tomalin's. Why? I loved the way that Tomalin integrated Hardy's poetry so seamlessly into the narrative of his interesting life. It was her great reliance and use of his poe I just finished reading Michael Millgate's biography of Thomas Hardy. Interestingly, I read this immediately after finishing Claire Tomalin's more recent Hardy biography, Thomas Hardy. Millgate's biography is superb--scholarly and very detailed. I enjoyed it very much, but if I had to choose my favorite, I'd probably go with Tomalin's. Why? I loved the way that Tomalin integrated Hardy's poetry so seamlessly into the narrative of his interesting life. It was her great reliance and use of his poetry, from my perspective, that so fully fleshed out the man and the ideas behind those wonderful novels of his. Millgate, on the other hand, tells the full, complicated, and rich story of Hardy's life; and while Millgate features Hardy's poetry throughout the book too, it is but a part of the larger story of the man and his life. Both books are worthy and quite complementary, they are just different from one another. In summation, if you are a dyed-in-the-wool fan of Thomas Hardy's fiction and poetry, I say that you should have both of these biographies on your bookshelf. They really are the definitive Hardy biographies, and both are quite readable. Finally, to fully round out your Hardy library, I would also recommend the addition of Rosemarie Morgan's brilliant little volume, Women and Sexuality in the Novels of Thomas Hardy.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Barrow Wilfong

    This book was good to follow Robert Gittings' biography. I will say that Gittings' style was more colorful and he delved more into Hardy's personal life from every angle, which made it a more interesting read. Millgate's biography focuses mostly on a chronology of Hardy's work and the details involved in getting each book published. He touches upon Hardy's obsession with his "fantasy woman" whom he wrote into every one of his novels and barely nods at how that impacted his marriages and how it inf This book was good to follow Robert Gittings' biography. I will say that Gittings' style was more colorful and he delved more into Hardy's personal life from every angle, which made it a more interesting read. Millgate's biography focuses mostly on a chronology of Hardy's work and the details involved in getting each book published. He touches upon Hardy's obsession with his "fantasy woman" whom he wrote into every one of his novels and barely nods at how that impacted his marriages and how it influenced the over all message in most of his stories. But he was much softer on Hardy than Gittings. However, both discuss his self-absorption and bouts of deep depression. Lots of people suffer from depression; it's no different from any affliction: epilepsy, diabeties, and if you need to take medication for it, there is no shame in it. Some people, I think, exacerbate their conditions by not taking care of themselves, such as not eating right (diabetics) or taking their medication regularly (epileptics) and also some people are more depressed than they otherwise would be if they were not so selfish. This applies to Hardy. He may have loved beautiful young women (his second wife was forty years younger than him and it didn't stop him from obsessing over the actresses who played his heroines or writing poetry about them) but I think he may have been toxic to them. Both his wives became chronically ill, probably made worse because he refused to spend any money on them or allow them to get medical help until it was too late. But he is unique in that he was not only a preeminent Victorian author, but because of his great age, he lived to lead the school of modern expressionism in poetry. He was the inspiration to Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot and the rest of the Bloomsbury Circle. As far as I know he is the only British writer to cross the bridge from the 19th century to 20th century styles. In fact, he helped build the bridge. In the words of one of his publishers, "He was a great author. He was not a great man."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    An authoritative, readable biography (though i confess i skipped a few chapters...) one thing that annoys me that Millgate seems to share with many Hardy critics is a somewhat dismissive, even biased treatment of Hardy's first wife, Emma.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Neptune E. Kosi

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sunderwood

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steve Ellerhoff

  8. 4 out of 5

    Iosephvs Bibliothecarivs

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bill Hickey

  11. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  12. 5 out of 5

    Donna

  13. 5 out of 5

    Grace

  14. 4 out of 5

    Flaubertian

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ismiy LaVigne

  16. 5 out of 5

    Riza Michelle

  17. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Austin

  18. 5 out of 5

    A

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rob Dennis

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Keri Smith

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

  23. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  25. 4 out of 5

    Todd

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Perley

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kai

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