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Reading Thomas Hardy: Home

Reading Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy published 14 novels, 947 poems, and over 50 short stories. This multiyear adventure is primarily concerned with your reading all 14 of his novels roughly over a three year span. However, exposure to some of his poems and a few of his short stories will be expected.

Five of his novels are particularly famous:

  • The Mayor Casterbridge
  • Jude the Obscure
  • Return of the Native
  • Tess of the D'Urbervilles
  • ​Far From the Madding Crowd

If you are a UMass Lowell Honors Student and you are interested in starting this journey please declare your interest by emailing James_Canning@uml.edu. This reading could be the foundation of your Honors Thesis.

As author Daniel James Brown said in his book, Boys in the Boat:  Lithe and fit, ready to take something on.

The reading schedule is given below. In addition, Hardy Readers will need to meet with Dean Canning or his designee at least once every two weeks. Readers will need to maintain a reading log plus a vocabulary log.

This is quite doable. Demonstrate to yourself and the world around you that you have the focus to sustain a project over a multiyear timeframe. Future employers and future graduate schools will take notice. Be unique.

All majors welcome.

Entering UMass Lowell in the Fall? Declare yourself to be a Hardy Reader. Let's get started.

The reading schedule below is not aggressive. It can be done. Using a more aggressive reading schedule, the material could be completed in two years.

First Year

July/August

  • The Mayor of Casterbridge (13 hours)
  • ​Fiddler of the Reels (15 pages)
  • Afterwards (Poem)

Fall Semester

  • Tess of the D'Urbervilles (14 hours)
  • Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave (Poem)

Winter Break

  • Far From the Madding Crowd(16 hours)
  • At Lulworth Cove A Century Back (Poem)

Spring Semester

  • The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion (16 pages)
  • Tony Kytes, The Arch-Deceiver (Short Story)

Spring Break

  • Under the Greenwood Tree (5 hours)

May/June

  • The Return of the Native (15 hours)

Third Year

July/August

  • A Laodiciean
  • A Pair of Blue Eyes (10 hours)

Fall Semester

  • The Withered Arm (23 pages)
  • Two poems

Winter Break

  • The Woodlanders

Spring Semester

  • One short story
  • One poem

Spring Break

May/June

Second Year

July/August

  • Jude the Obscure (16 hours)
  • The Hand of Ethelberta

Fall Semester

  • Desperate Remedies (10 hours)
  • One poem

Winter Break

  • Two on A Tower (12 hours)

Spring Semester

  • The Well-Beloved (5 hours)
  • The Three Strangers (22 pages)
  • One poem

Spring Break

  • The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid (novella, short-story)
  • A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four (6 pages)

May/June

  • The Trumpet-Major (12 hours)

Fourth Year