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Wessex Poems was Hardy’s first collection of poetry, published after he had turned away from novel writing, disillusioned by the savage reception Jude the Obscure had received. Its publication marked the start of an extraordinary new phase in Hardy’s writing career- for the rest of his long life, he would write only poetry. Here are sprightly Dorset ballads, verses set during the Napoleonic Wars, and personal poems reflecting on Hardy’s life and loves. Composed throughout Hardy’s life and animated by his affection for his beloved Wessex, their publication in 1898 heralded the arrival of a major new poetic voice.
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