There have been numerous biographies as new aspects of Hardy's life have been discussed and researched. Two recent ones are:

  • Pite, Ralph: Thomas Hardy: the Guarded Life (Picador, 2006)
  • Tomalin, Claire: Thomas Hardy (Penguin Books, 2007)

Critical texts on Hardy

There has been an abundance of critical works over the 20th and 21st centuries:


  • Williams, Raymond: Culture & Society 1780-1950 (Open University, 1983).

Handbooks and companions

These types of books give a good deal of background and are useful for an historicist reading:

  • Kramer, Dale ed. The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Hardy (Cambridge University Press, 1999). This includes a good essay by Linda Shires: 'The Radical Aesthetics of Tess'
  • Pinion, F.B.: A Hardy Companion (Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1968).

Structural approaches

  • Gregor, Ian: The Great Web: the Form of Hardy's Major Fiction (Faber & Faber, 1975)
  • van Ghent, Dorothy: The English Novel: Form and Function (New York: Reinhart & Co.,1953). This has an excellent chapter on the colour symbolism in Tess.

Feminist approaches

  • Blake, Kathleen: 'Pure Tess: Hardy on Knowing a Woman' in Dale Kramer ed. Critical Essays on Thomas Hardy: the Novels (Boston: G.K.Hall, 1990)
  • Boumelha, Penny: Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form (Harvester Press, 1982).

Romantic approaches

  • Enstice, Andrew: Thomas Hardy: Landscapes of the Mind (New York: St Martin's Press, 1979)
  • Lodge, David: The Language of Fiction which contains an important chapter 'Tess, Nature and the Voices of Hardy' (London: Routledge, Kegan, Paul, 1966).

Philosophical and religious approaches

  • LaValley, Albert J. ed.: Twentieth Century Interpretations of Tess of the d'Urbervilles (Prentice-Hall Inc., 1969). (This includes Arnold Kettle's Marxist reading)
  • Qualls, Barry: Secular Pilgrims of Victorian Fiction (Cambridge University Press, 1981)
  • C.H.Salter: Good Little Thomas Hardy (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1981). This has a good opening chapter on modernity.
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