Thomas Hardy enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a novelist before devoting his talents to writing poetry for the remainder of his life. This book focuses on Hardy's remarkable achievements as a novelist. Although Victorian readers considered some of his works controversial, his novels remained highly regarded by readers and reviewers alike. Today, his novels still routinely appear in the syllabi of courses in Victorian literature and the British novel, as well as courses in feminist/gender studies, environmental studies, and other topics that Hardy's novels offer insight into.
For scholars, students, and the general reader alike, this companion helps to makes Hardy's novels accessible to contemporary readers by providing a detailed biography of Hardy, plot summaries of each novel, and analyses of the critical contexts surrounding Hardy's writing. Entries, organized alphabetically, focus on the people, cultural forces, literary forms, and movements that influenced Hardy's novels. The companion also suggests approaches for original interpretations and suggestions for further study.