This area of the Hardy Poetry Page is devoted to the stimulating joy of book collecting, which at its best combines the thoughtfulness of the reader, the careful observation of the scholar, the curiosity of the antiquarian, and the pleasures of the connoisseur who likes to hold a well-made object in his or her hand. Hardy's poetry presents many challenges and potential satisfactions to the collector who pursues it with attention and patience. These pages will describe in a little more detail some of the pleasures and some of the pitfalls of collecting these materials and will suggest some resources to help along the way.
Miller's Collecting Modern Books by Catherine Porter sums up the interconnection between the joys of Hardy's poetry and the joy of collecting that poetry nicely: "Hardy's huge expanse of verse reveals a technical mastery and inventiveness, and a wide range of themes including love, nature and memory. Most of his volumes of poetry were issued ina variety of editions, allowing the collector a wide range of values within which to work." (P. 64, London: Octopus Publishing Group Ltd., 2003).
Although this site will (for now) deal only with book publication of Hardys poetry, collectors should know that many of the poems Hardy compiled in his volumes originally appeared in magazines. Collecting Hardy's magazine appearances is a rewarding area in its own right, one that is made teasingly difficult by the number of poems, the variety of magazines, and the limited availability of many of the magazines outside of library collections. The enormous task of documenting each of Hardys magazine appearances has already been accomplished admirably in the most basic tool of any Hardy collector:
Richard Little Purdy, Thomas Hardy: A Bibliographical Study (Oxford: Clarendon, 1954)
and also Charles P.C. Pettit, ed. A New Edition (New Castle, Delaware, Oak Knoll Press, 2002)
Anyone interested in Hardy's publishing career from either a scholars or a collectors point of view should locate that volume forthwith. I have made extensive use of Purdy's bibliography in compiling the information for these pages. It is an invaluable resource and the essential groundwork for any serious study along these lines.
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Mark Simons: email@example.com