Hardy might have preferred this essay to be entitled ‘Hardy the Londoner’. All his life he seems to have taken a particular pride in the way in which he had mastered the city during the years (1862–7) that he was employed there as a budding architect. In The Life of Thomas Hardy1 (referred to hereafter as the Life) he notes that ‘the most important scenes’ of his first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady,

were laid in London, of which city Hardy had just had between five and six years’ constant and varied experience — as only a young man in the metropolis can get it — knowing every street and alley west of St. Paul’s like a born Londoner, which he was often supposed to be; an experience quite ignored by the reviewers of his later books, who, if he only touched on London in his pages, promptly reminded him not to write of a place he was unacquainted with, but to get back to his sheepfolds. (63–4)


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  1. 9.
    Harold Orel (ed.), Thomas Hardy’s Personal Writings (Macmillan, 1967) p. 246.Google Scholar

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© Michael Slater 1994

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