Thomas Hardy has generally been viewed as an intensely private figure, shy of publicity and even of people, self-isolated in his Dorsetshire home, and much more cautious and conservative in his personal outlook than might be expected of the author of Tess of the D'Ubervilles and Jude theObscure. What the present volume reveals is that Hardy's public utterances, addressed to a wide range of literary, social, and political issues, were far more numerous and various than has previously been imagined. His essays, speeches, and other acknowledged pieces, both formal and informal, arehere fully described, edited, and annotated, together with the letters he wrote to newspapers and the many unsigned items, from obituaries to clandestine contributions to literary gossip-columns, that have now been securely or tentatively identified. Also described, although not necessarilyreproduced, are his designs for tombstones and memorials, and some of the more striking instances of his lending his (immensely famous) name to causes and organizations of which he approved and to public letters initiated by others. The edition as a whole is thus a major work of textual scholarshipand a rich source of fresh and often surprising information about a little understood aspect of Hardy's life and work.