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Thomas Hardy and the Death of Emma (Hardback)

What His Writings Reveal

P&S History > By Century > 19th Century P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > Social History

By Andrew Norman
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 244
Illustrations: 32 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399051170
Published: 30th June 2024


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In many of his poems, the great Dorset poet and novelist Thomas Hardy referred to a certain romantic courtship, a marriage which became progressively more problematical, and finally to a bereavement in which a man loses his wife. So, who was Hardy writing about? The clue is to be found in his early poems, where the names of several locations in North Cornwall are mentioned, this being the very same place which featured in Hardy’s courtship of Emma Gifford, who was to become his first wife.

The poems raise certain questions. Given that Hardy and Emma gradually drifted apart so that in the end they lived mainly separate lives, albeit under the same roof, why was he so grief-stricken when she died, bearing in mind that their marriage was so unsatisfactory?

How did Hardy cope as he passed through the various stages of grief, which he articulated so poignantly and expressively in his poems? These stages are recognized today, thanks to the work of Swiss-US psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and US expert on grieving and loss, David Kessler.

Finally, how did Hardy survive and come out the other side, and can his experience be a guide to others who find themselves alone and bereft after losing their partner?

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 Andrew Norman

About Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman was born in Newbury, Berkshire, UK in 1943. He was educated in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Midsomer Norton Grammar School, Somerset, UK, and St Edmund Hall, Oxford.
Andrew worked as a general practitioner in Poole, Dorset, before a spinal injury cut short his medical career. He is now an established writer with biographies of Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Thomas Hardy, T. E. Lawrence, Adolf Hitler, Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, Marilyn Monroe, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to his name.

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