1900–1928 The Final Years
Hardy was in his sixtieth year when the twentieth century began. The period 1900 to 1928 was to see the publication of another seven substantial books of verse, (Wessex Poems, the first, had been published in 1898), The Dynasts (1904–8), a final book of short stories (1913), and The Queen of Cornwall (1923). At a rough count Millgate and Purdy’s superb edition of Hardy’s letters has 580 pages of letters covering 1840–99 and 1620 covering 1900–28, a calculation which gives a rough idea of Hardy’s growing correspondence with an ever larger range of friends, acquaintances and publishers. The sheer burden of Hardy’s correspondence became such that in 1924 he told John Middleton Murry that for a time he had tried to answer every letter, but that now he had given up. ‘He was sorry but it was impossible.’ There had to be rationing, too, of those who wanted to meet him, and Hardy became ever more suspicious of anyone whose intention might be to exploit him by subsequently publishing their reminiscences of the occasion. With a few exceptions visitors were now not allowed to take notes, and on 1 July 1907, in a letter to Bram Stoker (CL III, p. 259) he writes, ‘I thought I had better write direct and tell you that for a long time I have been compelled to refuse interviewing by any paper. I could give reasons but it is not worth while.’
KeywordsFatigue Beach Manure Bark Trench
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