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Wessex was the 'partly-real, partly-dream' county that formed the backdrop for most of Hardy's writings - named after an Anglo-Saxon kingdom and modelled on the real counties of Berkshire, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire. The poems deal with classic Hardy themes of disappointment in love and life and the struggle to live a meaningful life in an indifferent world. Although Hardy's poetry was not as well received as his fiction, he continued to publish collections until his death, and thanks in part to the influence of Philip Larkin he is increasingly realised as a poet of great stature.… (more)