Volumes IV and V of the Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy, which complete the edition, contain all of his dramatic writing in verse. Hardy was interested in dramatic verse all his adult life; before he wrote his first novel he considered writing plays in blank verse, and during the thirty years of his novel-writing career he entered in his notebooks many schemes for a vast poetic drama of England's wars with Napoleon. But is was not until after he
had turned from fiction to poetry, in the 1890s, that he actually began to work on a poetic drama. The Dynasts was written between 1902 and 1907; The Famous Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall was begun in 1916 and
completed in 1923. In addition to the two major dramas this volume includes Hardy's versions of two folk-pieces: the Mummers' Play of 'Saint George' and the rustic operetta O'Jan, O'Jan, O'Jan' (here published for the first time). Textual annotations, together with a full account of the rough draft of Part third of The Dynasts, make it possible for the reader to follow the history of the composition of Hardy's epic drama in unusual detail.
Explanatory notes to each of the dramatic works describe its composition and publication, and provide supporting material from Hardy's letters and notebooks. Appendices add further information on the
production and performance of these works.
Samuel Hynes's task has been formidable...On each page of these two volumes there is clear evidence of Samuel Hynes's meticulous scholarship and enormous dedication. the textual variants alone are extraordinarily large in number, but Professor Hynes has supplemented them with explanatory notes, fascinating introductions, and a series of useful appendices.
Times Literary Supplement
`With Volumes IV and V Samuel Hynes completes his immensely painstaking, definitive edition of Hardy's 'poetical works', begun in 1982. The effect is to throw the text, as Hynes establishes it, into clear relief. He does, indeed, establish it: his 'editorial task' has been to reconcile the several differing editions.'
English Studies, Volume 77, Number 3, May 1996
`On each page of these two volumes there is clear evidence of Samuel Hynes's meticulous scholarship and enormous dedication. The textual variants alone are extraordinarily large in number, but Professor Hynes has supplemented them with explanatory notes, fascinating introductions, and a series of useful appendices.'
J.B. Bullen, Reading University, Review of English Studies, Vol. XLVII, No. 188, Nov ' 96
`These two volumes complete this important edition.'
Nineteenth-Century Literature 51:3 (December 1996)
`Hynes's choice of copy-text gives particular clarity to the listing, at the foot of the page, of all printed variants.'
Charles Lock, University of Copenhagen, Essays in Criticism, Vol. XLVII, No. 3, July '97