Thomas Hardy's Studies, Specimens andc. notebook stands almost alone as a witness to his exertions and aspirations of the 1860s, when he was already in his middle twenties but still working in London as an architectual assistant and only tentatively feeling his way towards as yet dimlyglimpsed possibilities of literary expression and employment. Because so little documentation of any kind has survived for this early period of his life and work, the notebook is of extraordinary interest as containing detailed evidence of the untutored deliberateness with which Hardy was seekingto provide himself with a poetic background, educate himself in poetic techniques, and initiate a process from which he could perhaps emerge as a practising, even a publishing, poet. In private hands until very recently, and seen by only a very few scholars, Studies, Specimens andc.' dates from1865-68, is entirely in Hardy's own hand, and consists of eighty-eight closely written pages of working memoranda, and quotations from other poets - mostly extracts a few words long in which underlining has been used to highlight individual images and word-usages. Although no drafts of actual poemsare present, there are numerous instances of Hardy's seeking to generate a poetic, and sometimes erotic, language and imagery out of materials (e.g., an architectual textbook) apparently chosen precisley for their recalcitrance to such treatment. The edition itself seeks to reproduce typographically all essential features of the original document. The introductory material describes the notebook bibliographically, sets it in its biographical context, and discusses some of its more important technical features. Included in the extensiveapparatus are textual notes, explications of Hardy's occasional quotations - indicating, in most instances, the editions or actual volumes he certainly or probably used. Explanatory notes are provided for - among other things - some erased but now partly recoved memoranda of Hardy's that appear tohave significant biographical implications.