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Letters of Emma and Florence Hardy

by Michael Millgate

  • ISBN: 9780198186090
  • ISBN10: 0198186096

Letters of Emma and Florence Hardy

by Michael Millgate

  • List Price: $180.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/1996
  • ISBN: 9780198186090
  • ISBN10: 0198186096
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Description: It has been said that both Thomas Hardy's wives were livelier letter-writers than he was himself. They were certainly less discreet, especially on the subject of their marital grievances, with the result that Hardy's intensely private life and personality are uniquely illuminated in the letters of the two remarkable but very different women who knew him best. Inevitably overshadowed by their husband during their lifetimes, their distinctive voices - together with their particular concerns and their opinions on many other subjects beside their husband - now clearly sound throughout this meticulously edited and fully annotated selection of their letters. Hardy married Emma Lavinia Gifford in 1874, when he was thirty-four and she thirty-three; two years after her death in 1912 he married Florence Emily Dugdale, thirty-eight years his junior. Relatively few of Emma's letters survive, but those included here vividly register not only her distinctive personality and ideas but also, if less directly, the deteriorating later phases of her marriage. Florence Hardy's letters are far more numerous, largely because of her husband's immense fame in old age and her own role as the doorkeeper of Max Gate. Those she wrote as Florence Dugdale - some to Emma Hardy herself - are eloquent of the painful dilemmas created by Hardy's growing dependence on her during Emma's lifetime. The ones written as Florence Hardy - to Sydney Cockerell, Siegfried Sassoon, and many others - constitute a remarkable record of a literary marriage, reflecting fully and poignantly both the rewards and, especially, the costs of being (as her Times obituary put it) the helpmate of genius.
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