Books

The Withered Arm

Thomas Hardy

'She bared her poor curst arm'

A jealous lover's curse and an ingenious party trick feature in these two suspenseful stories set in Hardy's imaginary Wessex.

One of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics' huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries - including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.

Woman Much Missed

Thomas Hardy

'Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me...'

After the death of his wife Emma, a grief-stricken Hardy wrote some of the best verse of his career. Moving and evocative, it ranks among the greatest elegiac poetry in the language.

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928). Hardy's works available in Penguin Classics are A Laodicean, A Pair of Blue Eyes, Desperate Remedies, Far from the Madding Crowd, Jude the Obscure, Selected Poems, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, The Distracted Preacher and Other Tales, The Fiddler of the Reels and Other Stories, The Hand of Ethelberta, The Mayor of Casterbridge, The Pursuit of the Well-beloved and The Well-beloved, The Return of the Native, The Trumpet-Major, The Withered Arm and Other Stories, The Woodlanders, Two on a Tower and Under the Greenwood Tree.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Thomas Hardy

Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in Wessex, Hardy's novel of swiftpassion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.

Under the Greenwood Tree

Thomas Hardy

'At sight of him had the pink of her cheeks increased, lessened, or did it continue to cover its normal area of ground? It was a question meditated several hundreds of times by her visitor in after-hours - the meditation, after wearying involutions, always ending in one way, that it was impossible to say'

The arrival of two newcomers in the quiet village of Mellstock arouses a bitter feud and leaves a convoluted love affair in its wake. While the Reverend Maybold creates a furore among the village's musicians with his decision to abolish the church's traditional 'string choir' and replace it with a modern mechanical organ, the new schoolteacher, Fancy Day, causes an upheaval of a more romantic nature, winning the hearts of three very different men - a local farmer, a church musician and Maybold himself. Under the Greenwood Tree follows the ensuing maze of intrigue and passion with gentle humour and sympathy, deftly evoking the richness of village life, yet tinged with melancholy for a rural world that Hardy saw fast disappearing.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy

The Penguin English Library Edition of Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

"I would be content, ay, glad, to live with you as your servant, if I may not as your wife; so that I could only be near you, and get glimpses of you, and think of you as mine ... I long for only one thing in heaven or earth or under the earth, to meet you, my own dear! Come to me - come to me, and save me from what threatens me!"

When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. With its sensitive depiction of the wronged Tess and powerful criticism of social convention, Tess of the D'Urbervilles is one of the most moving and poetic of Hardy's novels.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Jude the Obscure

Thomas Hardy

'As you got older, ... you were seized with a sort of shuddering, he perceived. All around you there seemed to be something glaring, garish, rattling, and the noises and glares hit upon the little cell called your life, and shook it, and scorched it.

If he could only prevent himself growing up! He did not want to be a man'

Jude Fawley, the stonemason excluded not by his wits but by poverty from the world of Christminster privilege, finds fulfilment in his relationship with Sue Bridehead. Both have left earlier marriages. Ironically, when tragedy tests their union it is Sue, the modern emancipated woman, who proves unequal to the challenge. Hardy's fearless exploration of sexual and social relationships and his prophetic critique of marriage scandalised the late Victorian establishment and marked the end of his career as a novelist.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

The Return of the Native

Thomas Hardy

'Do I desire unreasonably much in wanting what is called life - music, poetry, passion, war, and all the beating and pulsing that is going on in the great arteries of the world?'

Tempestuous Eustacia Vye passes her days dreaming of passionate love and the escape it may bring from the small community of Egdon Heath. Hearing that Clym Yeobright is to return from Paris, she sets her heart on marrying him, believing that through him she can leave rural life and find fulfilment elsewhere. But she is to be disappointed, for Clym has dreams of his own, and they have little in common with Eustacia's. Their unhappy marriage causes havoc in the lives of those close to them, in particular Damon Wildeve, Eustacia's former lover, Clym's mother and his cousin Thomasin. The Retun of the Native illustrates the tragic potential of romantic illusion and how its protagonists fail to recognize their opportunities to control their own destinies.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

The Mayor of Casterbridge

Thomas Hardy

The Penguin English Library Edition of The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

'Here - I am waiting to know about this offer of mine. The woman is no good to me. Who'll have her?'

In a fit of drunken anger, Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas at a country fair. Over the course of the following years, he manages to establish himself as a respected and prosperous pillar of the community of Casterbridge, but behind his success there always lurk the shameful secret of his past and a personality prone to self-destructive pride and temper.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Two on a Tower

Thomas Hardy

The Penguin English Library Edition of Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy

'Then they proceeded to scan the sky, roving from planet to star, from single stars to double stars, from double to coloured stars...'

Hardy's atmospheric, moving story of star-crossed lovers shows human beings at the mercy of forces far beyond their control, setting a tragic drama of human passion and conflict against a background of vast stellar space and scientific discovery. Two on a Tower tells the story of Lady Constantine, who breaks all the rules of decorum when she falls in love with the beautiful youth Swithin St Cleeve, her social inferior and ten years her junior. Together, in an ancient monument converted into an astronomical observation tower, they create their own private universe - until the pressures of the outside world threaten to destroy it.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Far From the Madding Crowd

Thomas Hardy

The Penguin English Library Edition of Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

'I cannot allow any man to - to criticise my private conduct!' she exclaimed. 'Nor will I for a minute'

Hardy's powerful novel of swift sexual passion and slow-burning loyalty centres on Bathsheba Everdene, a proud working woman whose life is complicated by three different men - respectable farmer Boldwood, seductive Sergeant Troy and devoted Gabriel - making her the object of scandal and betrayal. Vividly portraying the superstitions and traditions of a small rural community, Far from the Madding Crowd shows the precarious position of a woman in a man's world.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

Return of the Native

Thomas Hardy

Proud, passionate Eustacia Vye marries Clym Yeobright in the hope that he will help her escape her cramped rural existence. But when their relationship falters Eustacia turns to her old lover Damon Wildeve, leading to a disastrous climax on the brooding wilds of Egdon Heath.

Jude the Obscure

Thomas Hardy

Jude Fawley is a young man who longs to better himself and go to Christminster University. However, poverty forces him into a job as a stonemason and an unhappy marriage. When his wife leaves him Jude moves to Christminster determined to follow his dream. There he meets and falls for his free-spirited cousin, Sue Bridehead. The couple refuses to marry much to the disapproval of the society around them. In this heartbreaking story Hardy shows the devastating effects of social prejudice and oppression.

The novel caused outrage when it was published in 1895 and, as a result, was the last novel Hardy ever wrote.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Thomas Hardy

Bathsheba Everdene arrives in the small village of Weatherbury and captures the heart of three very different men: Gabriel Oak, a quiet shepherd, the proud, obdurate Farmer Boldwood and dashing, unscrupulous Sergeant Troy. The battle for her affections will have dramatic, tragic and surprising consequences in this classic tale of love and misunderstanding.

The Mayor of Casterbridge

Thomas Hardy

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY LUCY HUGHES-HALLETT

The Mayor of Casterbridge is a man haunted by his past. In his youth he betrayed his wife and baby daughter in a shocking incident that led him to swear never to touch alcohol again for twenty-one years. He has since risen from his humble origins to become a respected pillar of the community in Casterbridge, but his secrets cannot stay hidden forever and he has many hard lessons left to learn.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy

An exciting new TV adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic Tess of the D'Urbervilles has arrived on BBC 1, and this is the official tie-in edition with an exclusive introduction from the programme's producer David Snodin.

A tragic tale of love, seduction and betrayal,Tess of the D'Urbervilles was named the nation's 12th favourite book in a poll for World Book Day in 2007 and 2008 marks the 80th anniversary of the death of Thomas Hardy.

This new four-part series has been written by award-winning novelist and screenwriter David Nicholls. David wrote Starter for Ten, which he then adapted to film starring James McAvoy, as well as the screenplay of And When Did You Last See Your Father? starring Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles has a stellar cast with big-screen names and familiar faces from a number major TV dramas including Gemma Arterton (James Bond: Quantum Of Solace, St Trinian's) playing Tess, Hans Matheson (The Virgin Queen, Dr Zhivago) as her seducer Alec, Eddie Redmayne (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Other Boleyn Girl) as Angel and Jodie Whittaker (Venus) playing Tess's best friend Izzy. The drama also features Ruth Jones (Gavin and Stacey, Saxondale) as Tess's mother Joan, and Anna Massey (Oliver Twist, The Importance Of Being Earnest) as Mrs D'Urberville.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy

Tess is an innocent young girl until the day she goes to visit her rich 'relatives', the D'Urbervilles, in hope that they might help her alleviate her own family's poverty. Her encounter with her manipulative cousin, Alec, leads her onto a path that is beset with suffering and betrayal. When she falls in love with another man, Angel Clare, Tess sees a potential escape from her past, but only if she can tell him her shameful secret...

A Mere Interlude

Thomas Hardy

As Baptista travels home to marry her parents’ old neighbour, she encounters her lost lover. They elope together, but tragedy strikes unexpectedly on their wedding day and she returns to her parents to do her duty. Will her other, brief love remain a secret?

United by the theme of love, the writings in the Great Loves series span over two thousand years and vastly different worlds. Readers will be introduced to love’s endlessly fascinating possibilities and extremities: romantic love, platonic love, erotic love, gay love, virginal love, adulterous love, parental love, filial love, nostalgic love, unrequited love, illicit love, not to mention lost love, twisted and obsessional love….

Poems of Thomas Hardy

Claire Tomalin (and others)

A new selection of Hardy's love poems. Thomas Hardy is one of the sacred figures in English writing, a novelist with a world reputation, but above all a great poet.

The Trumpet-Major

Thomas Hardy (and others)

Anne Garland, who lives with her widowed mother in a mill owned by Miller Loveday, has three suitors: the local squire's nephew Festus and the miller's two sons, Robert and John. While Festus' aggressive pursuit deters the young woman from considering him as a husband, the indecisive Anne wavers between light-hearted Bob and gentle, steadfast John. But as their Wessex village prepares for possible invasion by Napoleon's fleet, all find their destinies increasingly tangled with the events of history. The Loveday brothers, one a sailor and one a soldier, must wrestle with their commitments to their country and their feelings for Anne. Lyrical and light-hearted, yet shot through with irony, The Trumpet-Major (1880) is one of Hardy's most unusual novels and a fascinating tale of love and desire.

The Fiddler of the Reels and Other Stories 1888-1900

Thomas Hardy

The Melancholy Hussar/ A Tragedy of Two Ambitions/ The First Countess of Wessex/ Barbara of the House of Grebe/ For Conscience' Sake/ The Son's Veto/ On the Western Circuit/ An Imaginative Woman/ A Changed Man/ Enter a Dragoon
The 11 short storiesin this collection range from those with the Wessex setting familiar from Hardy's novels, to aristocratic historical fantasies set in the 17th and 18th centuries, and tragic or ironic contemporary dramas. Enormously readable in their own right, thestories can also be seen as a rich testing ground for ideas and themes that receive more sustained treatment in Hardy's most innovative and controversial novels.

Biography

Thomas Hardy was born on 2 June 1840. He wrote novels and poetry, much of which is set in the semi-imaginary county of Wessex. His novels include Far From the Madding Crowd (1874), The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the D'Urbervilles(1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895). He published his first volume of poetry, Wessex Poems, in 1898 and continued to publish collections of poems until his death on 11 January 1928.