Carole Angier

He Wept For Tess

Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man

By

Viking 512pp £25 order from our bookshop

Let’s get the obvious question out of the way: do we need another biography of Thomas Hardy? Yes, we do. First of all, because Hardy is one of the most mysterious writers in English literature; and second of all, because this one is by Claire Tomalin, who always brings an acute and original intelligence to bear. Here she ranges herself with the calmer Hardy scholars, Michael Millgate in particular: no evidence for an affair with his cousin Tryphena, for example, or for a family model for Tess. She mops our brows, too, about Hardy’s famous response to seeing a woman hanged. Did he find her still an attractive woman at the point of death? ‘Only too likely, surely, but hardly culpable’; merely expressing the painful truth that she was young and beautiful, and at the same time dead.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,