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Paula Byrne on Hardy Women: The Mothers, Sisters, Wives, Muses of Thomas Hardy

Monday 13th May

Topping & Company Booksellers of Bath, York Street, Bath, Somerset BA1 1NG
Doors Open
Start Time

"He understands only the women he invents - the others not at all"

Paula Byrne is the author of the bestselling biographies The Real Jane Austen, Mad World on Evelyn Waugh, The Real Jane Austen, and The Genius of Jane Austen. Byrne joins us for Hardy Women, a biography of the women who were closest to Thomas Hardy.

In turns infuriating and inspiring, but always fascinating, this page-turner of a book offers a genuinely fresh perspective on one of Victorian Britain's most famous writers.

Hardy is one of the most beloved and most-read British authors. His influence on literature and the minds of his readers is singular. But how is it that the novelist who created some of the most memorable and modern female characters in literature had such troubled relationships with real women?

In this highly innovative book, the acclaimed biographer Paula Byrne re-examines Hardy's life through the eyes of the women who made him - mother, sisters, girlfriends, wives, muses. The story veers from shocking scenes such as his obsession with the sight of a woman hanged, to poignant vignettes of unfulfilled passion, to fascinating details of working women's lives in the nineteenth century.

Hardy Women is the story of how the magnificent fictional women he invented would not have been possible without the hardship and hardiness of the real ones who shaped his passions and his imagination. It is only through understanding and witnessing these hardy women that we can truly enter the heart of this great novelist and poet.