Hardy's Wessex has been much written about, but all these guidebooks and academic studies are based on Wessex as it stood when Hardy, at the age of 72, had completed his transformation of the place. When he began writing in the 1860s, Wessex wasn't even a gleam in his eye. This book traces each step in the evolution of his vision of Wessex in his novels, stories and poems, and suggests how, at several key moments in his career, Wessex might have taken a different direction. There are also within a number of maps, and reproductions of significant illustrations. During his lifetime Hardy made numerous and radical changes to aspects of Wessex, and in order to present a complete record of them for this first time, there is an associated website, the design of which is integrated with the book.