"The Dynasts" is an English-language drama in verse by Thomas Hardy. Hardy himself described this work as "an epic-drama of the war with Napoleon, in three parts, nineteen acts and one hundred and thirty scenes". Not counting the Forescene and the Afterscene, the exact total number of scenes is 131. The three parts were published in 1904, 1906 and 1908. Because of the ambition and scale of the work, Hardy acknowledged that The Dynasts was not a work that could be conventionally staged in the theatre, and described the work as "the longest English drama in existence". Scholars have noted that Hardy remembered war stories of the veterans of the Napoleonic wars in his youth, and used them as partial inspiration for writing The Dynasts many years later in his own old age. In addition, Hardy was a distant relative of Captain Thomas Hardy, who had served with Admiral Horatio Nelson at Trafalgar. Hardy consulted a number of histories and also visited Waterloo, Belgium, as part of his research. George Orwell wrote that Hardy had "set free his genius" by writing this drama and thought its main appeal was "in the grandiose and rather evil vision of armies marching and counter-marching through the mists, and men dying by hundreds of thousands in the Russian snows, and all for absolutely nothing."
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