By F.B. Pinion
A consultant to the works of thomas hardy and their heritage
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Extra info for A Hardy Companion: A Guide to the works of Thomas Hardy and their background
The most important scenes of the novel were laid in London, where Hardy had lived from 1862 to 1867 while working for the architect Arthur Blomfield. The hero, Will Strong, was an architect. Satirical representation of the squirearchy and London society suggested dangerous radical tendencies; 'the vulgarity of the middle class, modern Christianity, church-restoration, and political and domestic morals in general' were underlined; and the book, like Hardy's last novels, was obviously written with 'a passion for reforming the world'.
Portions of it survive, with modifications, in Hardy's other works; the manuscript was lost or destroyed. The best idea of its substance and quality can be obtained from 1. Professor Carl Weber's introduction to Hardy's An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress, Russell & Russell, New York, 1965. 2. Alexander Macmillan's letter to Hardy on the manuscript, in Charles Morgan's The House of Macmillan, Macmillan, 1944. 5. Chap. iv of The Life of Thomas Hardy (ostensibly by Florence Emily Hardy, though all but the concluding chapters were carefully prepared by Hardy himself).
Hardy insisted that the venture be completed in fairness to his publishers 'and also in the interests of his wife, for whom as yet he had made a poor provision in the event of his own decease' (Life, 145-6). In these circumstances, Hardy's achievement was considerable. The plot is articulated with an ingenuity which recalls that of Desperate Remedies. It is more exciting than that of The Trumpet-Major, yet, for a long phase, it is less controlled. There can be little doubt that Hardy's illness was responsible for a weakening of critical judgment.
A Hardy Companion: A Guide to the works of Thomas Hardy and their background by F.B. Pinion