This biography will help commemorate Hardy's centennial. It is a fine example of literary biography, not a successful portrayal of the author's inner life. Meticulous study of Hardy's work as it evolved from experiences and emotional life, but unsuccessful in explaining the emotional development of the man himself. His ambition was to be a poet; the novels were simply an opening wedge, but their immediate popularity kept him from his real love, poetry, until his later years. His first marriage and its increasing disappointment; the second marriage which brought him peace. Not a popular book, but a distinctive peace of research and analysis.