August 16, 2011

Thomas Hardy: The Neglected Novels--Part I

I love serendipity!  Actually, I really love the word too.  It just rolls off of the tongue, and it even sounds 'serendipitous.'  Well, I had kind of a serendipitous morning today, and I'm still grooving on it.  I was up nice and early and made the coffee, settled in on the couch to finish the tenth, and final, volume--"The Crippled God"--in Steven Erikson's magnificent "Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen" series of fantasy novels.  After drying my eyes and reshelving the book, I watered the plants and then got ready to head off to work.

I was waiting on the train platform, and noticed the station marquee was broadcasting a message.  My train to Los Angeles was going to be 45 minutes to an hour delayed because of mechanical issues.  I thought about it for a moment, and said, "What the heck?"  I headed back to the house and a nice unscheduled day off.  I immediately changed into my running togs and took off for a nice hour-long five-mile run.  By ten o'clock I was back, freshly showered, and sitting down here posting on my blog, and feeling like a million bucks!  That's serendipity--at least to me!

***

Okay, now that I've bored you with my 'off-the-top-of-my-head' thoughts, I want to let you know what's going on with my reading these days.  As many of you know, I am a huge fan of the works of Thomas Hardy.  Hardy is one of the great novelists of the Victorian period, and is one of the great poets of the early modern era.  While many of his novels and short stories are widely read and hugely popular, Hardy always considered himself, first and foremost, to be a poet--and I would agree wholeheartedly.  I spent much of the last year and half reading most of Hardy's fourteen published novels, his short stories, all of his poetry, and several excellent biographies.  Thomas Hardy is, without a doubt, one of my favorite authors and poets.  If you are interested, you can go back through the archives of this blog and find my many postings, thoughts and observations about all of the Hardy novels and poetical works that I devoured over the past eighteen months or so.

I just wanted to bring to your attention a few of Thomas Hardy's novels that are less well known, three of which I have yet to read.  Personally, I would include the following novels in a list of his lesser known books:
"Desperate Remedies" (1871),
"The Hand of Ethelberta" (1876),
"The Trumpet Major" (1880),
"A Laodicean" (1881),
"Two on a Tower" (1882), and
"The Well-Beloved" and "The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved" (1892)
Of the novels on this list, I've only read "The Trumpet Major" and "Two on a Tower" (which I loved, and is reviewed here).  I recently went ahead and ordered copies of the remaining books (all of them are available in the Penguin Classics paperback editions), and I am very much looking forward to reading them over the next few weeks.  In fact, I started, Thomas Hardy's first published novel, "Desperate Remedies" this morning.
So, if you're at all interested in these lesser known novels of Thomas Hardy, please stay tuned as I promise to post a review of each book as I finish it.  I am very much looking forward to finishing off my reading of Hardy's entire literary oeuvre, and seeing how these remaining lesser known or 'neglected' novels stack up against my faves like, "The Return of the Native," "Far From the Madding Crowd," "Tess of the d'Urbervilles," "The Woodlanders," or "Jude the Obscure."


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