Emma Hardy and writing for the self

Tomalin's biography of Thomas Hardy is also about the life of his wife, Emma. She comes across as an eccentric, socially ambitious but socially awkward woman. She wanted to be a writer, but her ambition and desire far outweighed her ability. She had a few bits and bobs published, but as Mrs Thomas Hardy, and not, it seems, in her own right - or write. It must have been hugely frustrating for her. How does 'one' know whether or not there is a talent for writing? Talent is relative; it changes, usually according to the dominant cultural values of the middle classes. I suppose the important thing for Emma Hardy is that she continued to write, regardless. Whether or not it started for herself it must have ended up for herself. And perhaps that ending point for so many is the true starting point.

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