A Preface to Hardy remains the best introduction to one of the most important and popular writers in English literature. The first section concentrates on Hardy the man and outlines the intellectual and cultural context in which he lived. The author then moves on to examine a wide range of Hardy's work, with particular reference to The Mayor of Casterbridge. There is new material on Hardy's short stories and their relation to the major novels, and on The Dynasts, which accompanies a study of a range of Hardy's other poetry.
Merryn Williams is a poet and critic and has taught widely on the nineteenth century novel.