Although best remembered today for his novels, Thomas Hardy thought of himself as a poet forced by circumstance to write fiction for a living. This generous selection of nearly two hundred poems includes such familiar pieces as "During Wind and Rain," "Channel Firing," "Afterwards," "The Darkling Thrush," and "The Oxen," but it will also acquaint readers with many less-celebrated works, among them "To Lizbie Browne," "After the Last Breath," "My Spirit Will Not Haunt the Mound," "The Haunter," "Old Furniture," "A Procession of Dead Days," "The Harbour Bridge," "At a Country Fair," "Last Love-Word," "Waiting Both," and "Proud Songsters." With an introduction and annotations by Robert Mezey, this Penguin Classics edition will help readers to recognize Hardy as one of the greatest English poets of this century.
Thomas Hardy was born on 2 June 1840. His father was a stonemason. He was brought up near Dorchester and trained as an architect. In 1868 his work took him to St Juliot's church in Cornwall where he met his wife-to-be, Emma. His first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, was rejected by publishers but Desperate Remedies was published in 1871 and this was rapidly followed by Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874). He also wrote many other novels, poems and short stories. Tess of the D'Urbervilles was published in 1891. His final novel was Jude the Obscure (1895). Hardy was awarded the Order of Merit in 1920 and the gold medal of the Royal Society of Literature in 1912. His wife died in 1912 and he later married his secretary. Thomas Hardy died 11 January 1928.