Thomas Hardy Remembered assembles some 150 annotated interviews and recollections of Hardy, most of which are being reprinted for the first time.
They range from close personal reflections by old friends such as Sir George Douglas, J.M.
Barrie, and Edmund Gosse, to fleeting glimpses by strangers who saw Hardy at a London party or at his club. Martin Ray has selected items having the greatest literary or biographical significance, and annotated them with meticulous accuracy and a keen eye for the telling detail.
As a result, the volume will be an invaluable resource to scholars who are interested not only in what concerned Hardy personally and professionally, but also in how he was perceived by others.
Having these items collected in one volume reveals Hardy's contemporaneous opinions about his own writings and also makes it possible to trace the marked recurrence, over time, of certain preoccupations: ancient families, Hardy's hostility to reviewers, architecture, Roman relics, Wessex folklore and dialect, animal welfare, Napoleon, and hangings.
With regard to his literary career, a portrait emerges of Hardy as the scrupulous professional, properly aware of his commercial rights, while at the same time appearing, to some who met him, unconscious of his own genius.