The reader of the Complete Uniform Edition of the Wessex Novels, arriving at the eighteenth and final volume, expects an elegant engraving as the frontispiece, perhaps offering an atmospheric view of Maiden Castle, just a few miles outside Dorchester. However, the final volume, although physically like the previous seventeen, is not thus illustrated by Henry Macbeth-Raeburn; despite the same dark green cloth binding and the front blocked in gold with the familiar "TH" monogram, the frontispiece is neither a work of art nor associated with the volume's principal story, "A Changed Man," the last short story that Hardy wrote, one not published until three years after the conclusion of the Osgood, McIlvaine project. 8.6 x 13.4 cm, framed, for Hardy's december 1893 "article" "Ancient Earthworks at Casterbridge" in the English Illustrated Magazine,December 1893. Volume 18 of the Osgood, McIlvaine Complete Uniform Edition of the Wessex Novels, in eighteen volumes (1895-1897), under the Macmillan imprint, 1913. The "Prefatory Note" by Hardy is dated "August 1913." Hardy remarked to the editor, Clement Shorter, that the article "ought to be accompanied by photographs of the place" (Letters, II, 34) [Title-page].
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The profile of whole stupendous ruin, as seen at a distance of a mile eastward, is cleanly cut as that of a marble inlay. It is varied with protuberances, which from hereabouts have the animal aspect of warts, wens, knuckles, and hips. It may indeed be likened to an enormous many-limbed organism of an antediluvian time — partaking of the cephalopod in shape — lying lifeless, and covered with a thin green cloth, which hides its substance, while revealing its contour. This dull green mantle of herbage stretches down towards the levels, where the ploughs have essayed for centuries to creep up near and yet nearer to the base of the castle, but have always stopped short before reaching it. The furrows of these environing attempts show themselves distinctly, bending to the incline as they trench upon it; mounting in steeper curves, till the steepness baffles them, and their parallel threads show like the striae of waves pausing on the curl. The peculiar place of which these are some of the features is "Mai-Dun," "The Castle of the Great Hill," said to be the Dunium of Ptolemy, the capital of the Durotriges, which eventually came into Roman occupation, and was finally deserted on their withdrawal from the island. — "A Tryst at an Ancient Earthwork," pp. 173-174.
Although the principal story in the volume is "A Changed Man," the Macmillan edition of 1913, supplementing the seventeen volume of Osgood, McIlvaine edition of the Complete Uniform Edition of the Wessex Novels in seventeen volumes (1895-1897 — and issued in the same guise), does not feature as the frontispiece a Henry Macbeth-Raeburn engraving, but a full-page black-and-white photograph associated with a far less significant story, namely a lacklustre shot taken at the top of the Maiden Castle Hill-fort, the setting for the sixth story in the volume, "A Tryst at an Ancient Earthwork." Martin Ray notes that the story first appeared in England as "Ancient Earthworks at Casterbridge" accompanied by four photographs by W. Pouncy of Dorchester in the English Illustrated Magazine (December 1893), these provided the magazine by Hardy himself, and therefore presumably commissioned by him from W. Pouncy. The story had first appeared in slightly different form some eight years earlier, under the somewhat journalistic header "Ancient Earthworks and What Two Enthusiastic Scientists Found Therein" (Detroit Post, 15 March 1885), a title strongly implying, of course, that the fictional account of the two antiquarians has some basis in actual events.
The Macmillan volume was, like the Osgood, McIlvaine volumes, printed on laid paper, with frontispiece (original tissue guard present) and a double-page map in the text, as Volume XVIII of the Wessex Novels, to complete Osgood's first uniform and complete edition of Hardy's works, excluding his poetry and drama. Each of the sixteen original volumes has an etched frontispiece by Macbeth-Raeburn depicting a scene from the novel "drawn on the spot." In this case, however, The Castle of Mai-Dun is a photo rather than an engraving (not one of the four by W. Pouncy, a professional photographer in Dorchester, which were used in the English Illustrated Magazine — Hardy supplied these four to Clement Shorter, editor of the English Illustrated Magazine and the Illustrated London News). However, Martin Ray ascribes the photograph whiuch serves as the 1913 frontispiece to Hermann Lea, author and photographer of Thomas Hardy's Wessex (1913). Moreover, at the back is a two-page map of Wessex drafted by Emery Walker, but clearly based on the earlier, single-page map by Hardy himself.
More Recent Views of the Maiden Castle Hill-fort, near Dorchester (2008)
- Mai Dun Hill Fort [Maiden Castle], Dorset.
- Main entrance, Mai Dun Hill Fort.
- From adjacent road, Mai Dun Hill Fort.
- From the car park, Mai Dun Hill Fort.
- Distant view of the Mai Dun Hill Fort.
- View from the top of the Mai Dun Hill Fort.
- Another view from the top of the Mai Dun Hill Fort.
- Information plaque for the Mai Dun Hill Fort.
Additional Resources on Hardy's Short Stories
Flynn, Susanne Johnson. "Hardy and the Creation of Wessex." Accessed 14 January 2017. Gettysburg College. http://public.gettysburg.edu/academics/english/hardy/land/wessex.html
Gatrell, Simon. Hardy the Creator: A Textual Biography. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988.
Hardy, Thomas. A Changed Man and Other Tales. Volume Eighteen in the Complete Uniform Edition of the Wessex Novels. London: Macmillan, 1914.
Kay-Robinson, Denys. The Landscape of Thomas Hardy.Exeter: Webb & Bower, 1984.
Lea, Hermann. Thomas Hardy's Wessex. London: Macmillan, 1913.
Millgate, Michael. Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited. Oxford: Oxford U. P., 2004.
Pinion, F. B. A Hardy Companion. Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Macmillan, 1968.
Purdy, Richard L. Thomas Hardy: A Bibliographical Study. Oxford: Clarendon, 1954, rpt. 1978.
Ray, Martin. Thomas Hardy: A Textual Study of the Short Stories. London: Ashgate, 1988.
Seymour-Smith, Martin. Hardy. London: Bloomsbury, 1994.
Turner, Paul. The Life of Thomas Hardy. A Critical Biography. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.
Wright, Sarah Bird. Thomas Hardy A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts on File, 2002.
Last modified 30 January 2017