18 MAY 1912, Page 24


[Under This heading ee notice such Books of tht iscsk as hays not boot) reserved for review in other forma.1

Tess of the d'Urberviiles and Far from the Madding Crowd. By Thomas Hardy. (Macmillan and Co. 7s. 6d. net each.)— These are the first two volumes of the now " Wessex Edition " of Mr. Hardy's works. Of the twenty volumes which are to make up' the set seventeen will contain prose and three verso. In each volume there is to be a photogravure, but unfortunately not a new preface such as made the similar re-issue of Mr. Henry James's novels so memorable. A short general preface to the edi- tion appears, however, in Tess, in which Mr. Hardy classifies his novels under the three heads of "Novels of Character and Environment," " Romances and Fantasies," and " Novels of Ingenuity." The meaning of these divisions will be clear when we quote Jude the Obscure as an example of the first, The Well-Beloved of the second, and The Hand of Ethelberta of the third. In his preface Mr. Hardy also comments upon his choice of " Wessex " as the scene of his novels, and raises the questidn whether a circumscribed scene necessarily implies a circumscribed exhibition of human nature. This he denies, and maintains on the contrary that " the domestic emotions have throbbed in Wessex nooks with as much intensity as in the palaces of Europe, and that anyhow there was quite enough human nature in Wessex for one man's literary purpose." He adds a somewhat sarcastic reference to the " discerning people who have affirmed in print that they clearly recognize the originals" of places men- tioned in the novels. The format of the new edition is satisfactory on the whole, though the paper might have been rather less. transparent. The tenth chapter of Tess contains a few pagea which owing to an accident have never before been published.