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The Trumpet-Major John Loveday

The Trumpet-Major first appeared in 1880 as a serial in Good Words, illustrated by John Collier. It was published the same year by Smith, Elder in three volumes: on the cover of the first edition was a design by Hardy himself. He had long been keenly interested in the Napoleonic Wars, and a note-book is still in existence which contains material on the subject collected at different times, of which he made use in The Trumpet-Major, and in his drama, The Dynasts, published some twenty-five years later.

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Thomas Hardy

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Ti ṭrampeṭ-mējar jāṉ lavṭē


Macmillan & Co Ltd

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The Trumpet-Major was dramatised, and acted at Dorchester by local players in 1912: by a sad coincidence the first performance took place on the day the first Mrs. Hardy died.
The scene of the novel is laid at Overcome be, in the neighbourhood of Weymouth, and occasionally in the town. itself. The places bear throughout Hardy’s own Wessex names, but the writer has ventured in the case of Bud- mouth to translate it into the more ordinary Weymouth while dealing with the comings and goings of King George III. History repeats itself, and to those who spent the summer months of 1914 in an English village there can be no more significant reading than Hardy’s Trumpet-Major. His genius re-creates the very atmosphere: the gradual stealing over the sleepy countryside of a new sensation, of changed values, of figures out of focus with their ordinary life, strange shadows lurking where once there had been nothing but comfortable anticipations of a commonplace tomorrow . And , because his pen is that of a master craftsman , each figure as he draws it is true to type .


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