When Thomas Hardy settled into his new house, Max Gate, to write The Woodlanders, he had been an active novelist for a decade and a half, his fame still due mainly to Far from the Madding Crowd. After its success, Hardy had varied his subjects because he wanted to avoid being “typed” as a novelist of rural scenes. In fact, he had put off writing a “woodlands” story immediately after Far from the Madding Crowd for that reason; how much of the plot of that early story he employed in the first novel he wrote in Max Gate is unknown. He had tried military and philosophical novels, social comedy, and short stories; but these evidently gave him little pleasure, for he seldom mentioned them in his later years. He had hit upon his true métier, tragedy, in The Return of the Native, but, disappointed in its critical reception, went back to writing “mere” serials on a variety of subjects and moods.
KeywordsRomantic Love Narrative Perspective Social Ambition Cross Purpose Early Story
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- 5.See George Levine, “Determinism and Responsibility in the Works of George Eliot,” PMLA 77 (1962) 268–79Google Scholar