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Wessex Poems and Other Verses

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First edition cover

Wessex Poems and Other Verses (often referred to simply as Wessex Poems) is a collection of fifty-one poems set against the bleak and forbidding Dorset landscape by English writer Thomas Hardy. It was first published in 1898 by New York: Harper, ISBN 1-58734-021-6, and contained a number of illustrations by the author himself.



The collection met a broadly hostile reception, critics being accustomed to Hardy as a (controversial) writer of prose alone.[1] Hardy himself was taken aback by the failure to recognise his dry humour, as in the (slightly bawdy) 'Bride-Night Fire'.[2]

On a more personal note, his wife Emma disliked the section consisting of love lyrics to various recipients; and especially 'The Ivy Wife', which she felt aimed at her.[3]

Notable poemsEdit

Two notable early poems from the collection (1860s) were "Hap" and 'Amabel' - the latter exploring the theme of sexual attraction impacted by age taken up by The Well-Beloved.[4] 'She at His Funeral' was a tribute to Hardy's friend Horace Moule;[5] while the bitter "Neutral Tones" and the cheerful 'Sergeant's Song' show further aspects of Hardy's range of poetic subjects.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ M.Seymour-Smith, Thomas Hardy (London 1994) p. 637
  2. ^ T & F. Hardy, Thomas Hardy (Ware 2007) p. 311
  3. ^ M.Seymour-Smith, Thomas Hardy (London 1994) p. 561
  4. ^ M.Seymour-Smith, Thomas Hardy (London 1994) p. 597
  5. ^ M.Seymour-Smith, Thomas Hardy (London 1994) p. 177
  6. ^ I. Ousby ed., The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (Cambridge 1995) p. 1007

External linksEdit