The Trumpet-Major is a novel by Thomas Hardy published in 1880, and his only historical novel. It concerns the heroine, Anne Garland, being pursued by three suitors: John Loveday, the eponymous trumpet major in a British regiment, honest and loyal; his brother Bob, a flighty sailor; and Festus Derriman, the cowardly nephew of the local squire. Unusually for a Hardy novel, the ending is not entirely tragic; however, there remains an ominous element in the probable fate of one of the main characters.
The novel is set in Weymouth during the Napoleonic wars; the town was then anxious about the possibility of invasion by Napoleon. Of the two brothers, John fights with Wellington in the Peninsular War, and Bob serves with Nelson at Trafalgar. The Napoleonic Wars was a setting that Hardy would use again in his play, The Dynasts, and indeed it borrows from the same source material.
The book is unusual for being the only one of novels for which he wrote preliminary notes, in a pocket book traditionally labelled as 'The Trumpet-Major Notebook'. It is also perhaps extraordinary in the extent to which Hardy aimed for historical accuracy; to that end, he conducted research at the British Museum and consulted various periodicals and newspaper accounts of the time. Richard H. Taylor has noted the accuracy of Hardy's details in the novel.
- Taylor xx
- "Hardy and the Trumpet Major". Dorset Life. 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Taylor xxi-xxii
- Neill 351
- Hardy, Thomas (1978). Richard H. Taylor, ed. The Personal Notebooks of Thomas Hardy. London: Macmillan.
- Neill, Edward (2006). "Mixed Modes in The Trumpet-Major". Essays in Criticism 56 (4): 35169. (subscription required)
- The Trumpet Major at Project Gutenberg
- Hutchinson Encyclopedia: Alun Hoddinott
- Italian Opera: Alun Hoddinott
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