Margot Livesey on Thomas Hardy’s Mistakes

For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today?

Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.

It’s the start of a new hundred episodes! Fresh off her tour for her new novel The Road from Belhaven, superguest Margot Livesey joins Jacke for a discussion of mistakes in the novels of Thomas Hardy. Then Jacke tells Margot the heartrending story of Hardy’s fraught relationship with his first wife Emma – and how Emma’s death unlocked some of his greatest poetry.


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