Armstrong, Tim. Haunted Hardy: Poetry, History, Memory. New York: Palgrave, 2000. An attempt to elevate Hardy as poet within the Western tradition.
Carpenter, Richard C. Thomas Hardy. Boston: Twayne, 1964. Carpenter argues that Hardy is a “gloomy philosopher,” though he maintains that label is too restricting. In addition to the usual characterization, descriptions, plots, and social themes, Carpenter also looks at elements of symbolism, myth, impressionism, and drama in Hardy’s fiction and poetry. Contains a chronology, a bibliography, and an index.
Chew, Samuel C. Thomas Hardy: Poet and Novelist. 1928. Reprint. New York: Russell and Russell, 1964. Although it does not lack sentiment, this volume is still one of the most respected of the traditional analyses of Hardy’s work. Chew examines Hardy’s pessimism, his use of coincidence, his conflict of intellect and intuition, and the structural excellence of his Wessex novels, which Chew considers to be a clarification of Victorian technique. Includes a bibliography and an index.
Daleski, H. M. Thomas Hardy and Paradoxes of Love. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1997. Argues that Hardy is the premodern precursor of sexual failures and catastrophic ends.
Gatrell, Simon. Hardy the Creator: A Textual Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Gatrell, Simon. Thomas Hardy and the Proper Study of Mankind. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993. A study of Hardy’s technique of presenting character in relationship to society. In addition to chapters on individual novels, Gatrell devotes chapters to Hardy’s use of the dance as a folk ritual and to the imperial theme in his fiction.
Gibson, James. Thomas Hardy. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996. An introductory guide to Hardy’s art, focusing on how Hardy used his own experience in his writing and tracing his development from fiction back to his first love, poetry.
Guerard, Albert J. Thomas Hardy: The Novels and Stories. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1949. One of the classic critical works on Hardy, examining his poetry and fiction in Victorian and modern contexts. In relation to Joseph Conrad and André Gide, Hardy is an old-fashioned storyteller, but he anticipates modern elements of antirealism in his conflicting impulses, his symbolic use of coincidence, and his artful technique.
Howe, Irving. Thomas Hardy. New York: Macmillan, 1967. One of the earliest book-length studies of Hardy’s short fiction as well as his poetry and novels, tracing the development of Hardy as a writer and the influences of his background and intellectual environment. The chapter “Let the Day Perish” focuses on Hardy’s women characters, especially Tess, who illustrates the transformation and ennobling of a cultural stereotype. Complemented by a primary bibliography and an index.
Kramer, Dale, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Hardy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. An essential introduction and general overview of all Hardy’s work and specific demonstrations of Hardy’s ideas and literary skills. Individual essays explore Hardy’s biography, aesthetics, and the impact on his work of developments in science, religion, and philosophy in the late nineteenth century. The volume also contains a detailed chronology of Hardy’s life.
Lanzano, Ellen Anne. Hardy: The Temporal Poetics. New York: P. Lang, 1999. An examination of Hardy’s poetics in the light of the temporal context out of which he wrote more than nine hundred poems. To a large extent, Hardy’s struggle with the forms of time is a record of the nineteenth century engagement with the relationship of consciousness to the new science and the loss of traditional beliefs.
Mallett, Phillip, ed. The Achievement of Thomas Hardy. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000. A study of the literary achievements of Hardy that also examines his depiction of Wessex. Bibliography and index.
Maynard, Katherine Kearney. Thomas Hardy’s Tragic Poetry: The Lyrics and “The Dynasts.” Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991. This study examines the question of tragic literature’s vitality in a secular age and explores the philosophical underpinnings of Hardy’s tragic vision in his lyric poetry and in The Dynasts. It also examines Hardy’s efforts within the context of nineteenth century poetry.
Millgate, Michael. Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. This biography enhances and replaces Millgate’s 1982 biography, considered to be one of the best and most scholarly Hardy biographies available.
Page, Norman, ed. Oxford Reader’s Companion to Hardy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. An encyclopedia devoted to the life and literary works of Hardy. Bibliography.
Pinion, F. B. A Hardy Companion. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1968. A helpful, comprehensive guide to Hardy’s writing, political and philosophical background and biographical influences. Includes maps, illustrations, and a select bibliography. Also contains a handy dictionary of people and places in Hardy’s fiction and the locations of Hardy manuscripts.
Pite, Ralph. Thomas Hardy: The Guarded Life. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2007. A scholarly reexamination of Hardy’s life.
Plotz, John. “Motion Slickness: Spectacle and Circulation in Thomas Hardy’s ‘On the Western Circuit.’” Studies in Short Fiction 33 (Summer, 1996): 369-386. Claims that Hardy’s story reflects his criticism of modernity in relationship to Britain’s imperialism; the steam roundabout in the text becomes visible in its full, complicated relationship to other roundabout systems of the modern age.
Ray, Martin, ed. Thomas Hardy Remembered. London: Ashgate, 2007. A collection of interviews with Hardy and recollections of him by his friends and acquaintances offer readers a fresh perspective on the writer. Also contains observations by Hardy on his writing and his contemporaries’ opinions about his life.
Seymour-Smith, Martin. Hardy. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994. In this literary biography, Seymour-Smith not only provides a detailed biography of Hardy’s life but also summarizes and critiques previous criticism of Hardy and discusses in a straightforward, nontheoretical way, Hardy’s most important works; analyzes critical reception to Hardy’s work and critiques critical controversies over his fiction and thought.
Tomalin, Claire. Thomas Hardy. New York: Penguin, 2007. This thorough and finely written biography by a respected Hardy scholar illuminates the novelist’s drive to indict the malice, neglect, and ignorance of his fellow human creatures. Tomalin nicely brings Hardy’s poetry to the fore in discussing aspects of his life that are apparent in his literary works.
Webster, Harvey Curtis. On a Darkling Plain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947. An extended, in-depth consideration of Hardy’s fiction and poetry in the light of his pessimism, considering how personal experiences and intellectual trends contributed to the development of his melancholy view. Webster discerns a natural “paradisaic tendency” that periodically surfaces in Hardy’s work, but he maintains that the world destroyed this “happy outlook.”