Author(s): Thomas Hardy
A collectible new Penguin Classics series: stunning, clothbound editions of ten favourite poets, which present each poet's most famous book of verse as it was originally published. Designed by the acclaimed Coralie Bickford-Smith and beautifully set, these slim, A format volumes are the ultimate gift editions for poetry lovers. Wessex Poems was Hardy's first collection of poetry, published after he had turned away from novel writing, disillusioned by the savage reception Jude the Obscure had received. Its publication marked the start of an extraordinary new phase in Hardy's writing career: for the rest of his long life, he would write only poetry. Here are sprightly Dorset ballads, verses set during the Napoleonic Wars, and personal poems reflecting on Hardy's life and loves. Composed throughout Hardy's life and animated by his affection for his beloved Wessex, their publication in 1898 heralded the arrival of a major new poetic voice.
Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset in 1840 and became an apprentice architect at the age of sixteen. He spent his twenties in London, where he wrote his first poems. In 1867 Hardy returned to his native Dorset, whose rugged landscape was a great source of inspiration for his writing. Between 1871 and 1897 he wrote fourteen novels, including Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. This final work was received savagely; thereafter Hardy turned away from novels and spent the last thirty year of his life focusing on poetry. He died in 1928.