The New York Times Book Review this Sunday featured a review of a new Thomas Hardy biography on the cover. Hardy is one of those big holes (yes, there are many) in my own personal coverage of the Western Canon. I have an old Bantam Classic Paperback copy of The Return of the Native that I bought as a teenager and never finished. I believe I picked it up because Holden Caulfield mentions it in Catcher in the Rye (or does he only mention Hardy? I can't remember) and the only memory I have of it is a damp, claustrophobic opening that I came to associate with all 19th Century English literature. Maybe it's time I give it another try.