Iopened this Guide with a death, that of Hardy himself in 1928. Six decades later, another death has been firmly enacted – that of Henry James’ notion of ‘the good little Thomas Hardy’. For across the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, major shifts in reading practices and acts of interpretation have brought multiple and diverse ‘Thomas Hardys’ to life to replace James’s patronizing image — new Hardys which reject the idea of being either ‘little’ or ‘good’.
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