This pioneering study is the first detailed exploration of Hardy's linguistic "awkwardness," a subject that has long puzzled critics. Dennis Taylor 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. In what is the first major treatment of a writer's relation to the Oxford English Dictionary, Taylor's study also examines the influence on Hardy's language of the founding and development of this period of the OED.
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