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ISBN: 9780857042675
AUTHOR: Andrew Norman
Thomas Hardy at Max Gate
Thomas Hardy at Max Gate
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In June 1883, Thomas Hardy, then aged forty-three, returned to Dorchester in his native county of Dorsetshire, together with his wife Emma, in order to find a house. Unable to find a property which suited himself and Emma, Hardy decided to build one, on a plot of land purchased from the estate of The Duchy of Cornwall and situated a mile or so to the east of Dorchester on the road to Wareham.

In this house he would write some of his greatest works, including five novels, three collections of short stories, eight collections of poetry, an epic drama, and a play in verse. He would travel with Emma to the Continent and to Ireland, he would be accepted by the highest echelons of London society and into their innermost circles and meet not only the aristocracy, but also the leading literati of the day.

Sadly however all was not well in Hardy’s ‘Garden of Eden’ as his marriage to Emma, gradually disintegrated into a meaningless charade. This had profound implications both for his social life, writing, and mental well-being, his overwhelming melancholy being only partially redeemed by his later marriage to Florence Dugdale.

The purpose of this book is to pierce the veil of secrecy which Hardy deliberately drew over his life; to decipher the coded messages which his writings contain; to find out why his life was so filled with anguish, an anguish which led to the creation, by him, of some of the finest novels and poems in the English language. Only then is it possible to discover the real Thomas Hardy whose life was played out in the self-designed setting of Max Gate.

Andrew Norman was born in Newbury, Berkshire, UK in 1943. Having been educated at Thornhill High School, Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, he qualified in medicine at the Radcliffe Infirmary. He has two children Bridget and Thomas, by his first wife. From 1972-83, Andrew worked as a general practitioner in Poole, Dorset, before a spinal injury cut short his medical career. He is now an established writer whose published works include biographies of Thomas Hardy, T.E. Lawrence, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur Pearson, Adolf Hitler, and Robert Mugabe. Andrew was remarried to Rachel in 2005.

Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 267 5, hardback, 210x148mm, 144 pages. Published April 2016.

Lawrence of Arabia's Cloud HillLawrence of Arabia's Cloud Hill - £9.99
Andrew Norman explores the personality of this endlessly fascinating figure – a giant of history yet a significantly flawed man – and the impact that this peaceful corner of England had on his unquiet soul.
A Brummie Boy Goes to WarA Brummie Boy Goes to War - £12.99
Andrew Norman's remarkable biography of Thomas Waldin, a 19-year-old from a working class area of Birmingham, blinded in the first months of the First World War, who became an early patient at St Dunstan's and his ultimate battle to achieve "victory over blindness". A journey through the unimaginable horror of the trenches to a poignant contrast in the supreme courage and determination of one who survived it.
Thomas Hardy's DorsetThomas Hardy's Dorset - £14.99
Well illustrated, this book is complete with a gazetteer of Hardy's fictional sites and their real equivalents, making it an ideal guide to the Dorset landscape of Thomas Hardy's life and literature. By Rodney Legg, the doyen of contemporary Dorset authors
Thomas Hardy: Behind the Inscrutable SmileThomas Hardy: Behind the Inscrutable Smile - £7.95
The purpose of this deeply insightful book by Andrew Norman is to pierce the veil of secrecy which Hardy drew deliberately over his private life. Through a careful investigation of Hardy's psychology and his writings, his novels and his poetry, and his sometimes traumatic relationships, Andrew Norman discovers the true Thomas Hardy - the man behind the inscrutable smile!
Purbeck PersonalitiesPurbeck Personalities - £12.99
Each of the personalities highlighted helped to create, in his or her unique way, the threads, of which the colourful tapestry of Purbeck is woven. In recounting their varied lives, Dorset author Andrew Norman conjours up a fascinating galaxy of personalities to illuminate the history of this most characterful corner of England.
By Swords DividedBy Swords Divided - £5.95
Andrew Norman recounts a thrilling story of the siege of Corfe Castle during the English Civil War.
Enid Blyton and her enchantment with DorsetEnid Blyton and her enchantment with Dorset - £9.99
It is often the case that when an author bases stories on a certain place, the subsequent discovery by the reader of that place’s true identity may come as a disappointment. Not so in this fascinating investigation by Andrew Norman, for the real life locations are equally as interesting and exciting as the nail biting adventures of ‘The Famous Five’ themselves! Other formats available: Amazon Kindle
DunshayDunshay - £6.95
Every old house has a story to tell, but Dunshay Manor in South Dorset has a more fascinating one than most as this fascinating book by Andrew Norman reveals.
Thomas Hardy Christmas CarollingsThomas Hardy Christmas Carollings - £6.95
This is the story of Thomas Hardy and of Christmas; of what that greatest of all Christian festivals meant to him, and of how his beliefs changed as the years progressed. A fascinating book by Andrew Norman.
Tyneham A Tribute (h/b)Tyneham A Tribute (h/b) - £12.99
Andrew Norman has gathered the recollections one of the tyneham evacuees, HelenTaylor - a seamstress at Tyneham House - to help present a vivid portrait of what had been a thriving community, which now lives in the hearts of those who sacrificed their homes for their country.
The Story of George LovelessThe Story of George Loveless - £12.99
Andrew Norman has delved deep to reveal the truth about this important historical figure, the acknowledged leader of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. By painstaking research, not only in the United Kingdom but also in Canada and Australia, it is now possible to reveal many, hitherto, unpublished details about George Loveless’s life.
Web Price: £9.99
11.58 EUR 12.49 USD 16.36 AUD

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