Hardy's Literary Language and Victorian Philology is the first detailed exploration of Hardy's linguistic `awkwardness', a subject that has long puzzled critics.Dennis Taylor's pioneering study shows that Hardy's language must be understood as a distinctive response to the philological and literary issues of his time. Deeply influenced by the Victorian historical study of language, Hardy deliberately incorporated into his own writing a
sense of language's recent and hidden history, its multiple stages and classes, and its arbitrary motivations. Indeed, Taylor argues, Hardy provides an example of how a writer `purifies the dialect of the tribe' by
inclusiveness, by heterogeniety, and by a sense of history which distinguishes Hardy from a more ahistorical, synchronic modernist aesthetic and which constitutes an ongoing challenge to literary language. In what is the first major treatment of a writer's relation to the Oxford English Dictionary, the author also examines the influence on Hardy's language of the founding and development in this period of the OED.
`A patiently researched, immensely learned volume ... A scholar who wants to read Hardy in his own terms will be well advised to study this book carefully.' Victorian Poetry
`This book comprises a virtually encyclopedic study of Hardy's literary language.'
`a challenging and highly valuable book. It is the kind of book that many serious students of Victorian poetry had meant someday to write and now may wish they had' English Literature in Transition
`'the most probing contemporary critic of Hardy's verse ... Taylor's immensely provocative book is filled with passing insights that amply fulfil its aim of locating Hardy's literary language within the problematics of Victorian linguistic scholarship'
Keith Wilson, University of Ottawa, English Literature Transition 1880-1920, Volume 38:2 1995'
yes, 26, 1996