Life Writing & Death: Dialogues of the Dead

Till Death Did Him Part: Thomas Hardy and his Funerals


  • Charles Lock University of Copenhagen



Thomas Hardy, wills and testaments, ashes, funerals, heart-burials


This essay considers Hardy’s two funerals—for his ashes at Poets’ Corner, for his heart at Stinsford—in the light of their consequences for life-writing: the absence of a single resting-place, and the narrative demands of synchronicity in telling of two funerals. This division of the body was the consequence of an extraordinary lack of precision in Hardy’s own will, the composition, wording and interpretation of which are examined here in some detail. Attention is also paid to the single grave at Stinsford that holds the remains of Hardy and both his wives in diverse modalities of the invisible.

Author Biography

Charles Lock, University of Copenhagen

Charles Lock, Professor of English Literature at the University of Copenhagen, was born and raised in Dorset. Educated at Oxford, where his doctoral thesis was on John Cowper Powys, he taught for some years at the University of Toronto. Author of Thomas Hardy: Criticism in Focus (1992) and numerous essays on Hardy’s poetry, he is the Editor of the Powys Journal. Recent essays include ‘A Quixotic Ramble along the Strand’ (in StrandLines, 2019) and ‘Derelictions of Contentment: on the locus amoenus in nineteenth-century landscape painting’, in Mutating Idylls, C. Meiner ed. (Peter Lang, 2019). Among forthcoming articles is one on the editio princeps of the Codex argenteus, held in the Library of Uppsala University, and another on the city of Harbin understood within the geo-politics of north-east Asia, in Japan’s Russia: Challenging the East-West Paradigm,  O. Solovieva ed. (Cambria, 2020). E-mail: lock@





Life Writing & Death: Dialogues of the Dead