HARDY, THOMAS (1840-1928, poet and novelist, O.M.)
Lot 111
HARDY, THOMAS (1840-1928, poet and novelist, O.M.)
£7,000 - 9,000
US$ 9,200 - 12,000

Lot Details
HARDY, THOMAS (1840-1928, poet and novelist, O.M.)
SERIES OF NINE LETTERS TO THE POET ARTHUR SYMONS, eight of them autograph and one typed, all signed ('Thomas Hardy' or 'Th. Hardy'), expressing a sense of being flattered by Symons's admiration for Jude the Obscure, but explaining that he has forsaken prose for verse ('...I have however, of late years, lapsed so deeply into my early weakness for verse, & have found the condensed experience that it affords so much more consonant to my natural way of thinking & feeling that I have almost forgotten the prose effusions for the time...'), referring to his knowledge of Drayton's Polyolbion in relation to Symons's interesting project of compiling a book of old verse, which is a task he has often thought of doing himself, and mentioning lines by Browning whom he often heard speak of Oxford and staying with Jowett, commenting on a version of Symons's unpublished novel about a prostitute ['The Life of Lucy Newcombe'] ('...I do not call the composition quite a story: it seems rather a study of a certain class of womanhood, & mind...Candidly...I should not, if I were you, publish the study. The present time is particularly unsympathetic with such phases of life, & your reputation might not be advanced by publishing this...'), suggesting that the 'colossal war in which Europe is engaged must be very suggestive of many things' to him and that the 'lively imagination' which prompted his study 'has exercised itself in raising some nightmare-ish vision of the terrible events that are happening', thanking Symons for the selection of his lyrics of 1903 ('...it does not weigh down in the least degree the pocket of an elderly person when he takes it on a walk, to look into by gates & stiles...'), sending him with one letter The Dynasts, which he says he published 'with much misgivings' and is not sure he will finish ('...I have revised & corrected the book for a new edition, which is not yet out - so please imagine that the worst lines - & there are some fearfully bad ones - are among those revised...') and in another mentioning his publishers' importunities for the next part of the book ('...the publishers are telling me that the next part of the Dynasts ought to be ready, or the first part will be forgotten; & there is a lot of work to do with it yet...'), declining to contribute to A.H. Bullen's 'Stratford Town' edition of Shakespeare because of other commitments (relating to Leslie Stephen and H.J. Moule), complimenting him on his Plays, Acting, and Magic (1903) ('...I found that we have been moving as it were on parallel lines of thought, with zigzags here & there, of course...'), sending information for Symons's entry on Hardy in the 1902 Encyclopaedia Britannica ('...The search here has been rather an amusement for us on a dull day, though I feel rather a shamefacedness in letting you have a document with such a conceited look about it. A good deal of detail is inserted under ancestry, owing to the absurdities that have been printed thereon from time to time, & you say you want an authoritative statement...'), alluding to Henry Davray ('...I never care to make any money out of a translation, but I like it to be fairly well done...'), complimenting Symons on an article on the sea in the Saturday Review ('...I had thought it almost impossible to say anything new about it till I read the article...'), inviting him to come to stay at their 'cottage' for the weekend [when the other guests included Yeats and Housman] and bring his bicycle ('...We are quite in the country, & you would get a lung-full of Dorset air, highly desirable in hot weather...'), enquiring after his 'adventures' among 'the Turks and Infidels', declining to contribute to a publication about Jane Austen, mentioning Augustus John's portrait of Symons and expressing in 1926 his reluctance to see any visitors ('...I find personal interviews so trying...'), 24 pages, mostly octavo, some on headed stationery, one autograph envelope and one in Florence Hardy's hand, tipped into a specially made book (2 letters detached), occasional pencil notes by Frederick Adams, dark purple morocco with elaborate gilt borders, spine in compartments, purple silk liners, upper cover detached, Adams bookplate, octavo, Max Gate and The Athenaeum, 13 July 1900 to 26 April 1926


  • This fine series of letters, written to the poet, critic and editor Arthur Symons (1865-1945), with whom Hardy remained for many years on congenial terms and of whom he was especially fond, is printed in Collected Letters. An example of Thomas Hardy's handwriting is illustrated in S.P.E. Tract No. XXIII 'English Handwriting', 1933.
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