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An unrivalled observer of the countryside, he found no Wordsworthian solace there, nor in his own unhappy marriage.

Hardy times

His major novels tackled the social issues of the day, the double standard in Tess of the D'Urbervilles , the unfairness of the divorce laws in Jude the Obscure , the hostile reception they encountered prompting a return to his first love, poetry. Some of the best came with his first wife's death in , as buried emotion resurfaced, though he had already produced The Dynasts , his epic drama on the Napoleonic wars, the most ambitious but probably least read of his works.

John Saunders. Hardy, Thomas — English novelist and poet. His birth place, Dorset, sw England , formed the background for most of his writing. His first major success was Far from the Madding Crowd The often tragic tales that followed remain among the most widely read 19th-century novels and include The Return of the Native , The Mayor of Casterbridge , Tess of the d'Urbervilles , and Jude the Obscure Critics attacked the latter for its immoral tone, and thereafter Hardy devoted himself to poetry, including Wessex Poems and The Dynasts — The works of the English novelist, poet, and dramatist Thomas Hardy — unite the Victorian and modern eras.

His work revealed the strains that widespread industrialization and urbanization placed on traditional English life. Major social changes took place during Hardy's life. When he was a young man, England still had a largely agricultural economy and Queen Victoria presided over an ever-expanding worldwide empire. By the time he died, the forces of modernization had changed England forever. During his early years, Hardy witnessed the changing of his landscape and rural community brought on by the Industrial Revolution.

While the Industrial Revolution had begun at the turn of the nineteenth century, it was ongoing through the beginning of the twentieth century. Populations increasingly shifted from the country to the cities.


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Railroads linked towns and villages that were once remote to major urban centers. And with new mobility and new economic pressure, people faced new social issues, too, including a sharp spike in prostitution rates and infamous abuses of child labor in factories and mines. During his time as apprentice architect, Hardy read many of the influential works of the era, such as Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species , which was published when Hardy was nineteen.

By the time he was twenty, Hardy had abandoned religion after being convinced of the intellectual truth of a godless universe. Eventually, he accepted that he must become a novelist to succeed as an author. The novelist's profession had by this time become well paid and well regarded. Hardy wrote his first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady , in , but was advised not to publish it.

His next novel Desperate Remedies , was published but unsuccessful. On March 7, , he met Emma Lavinia Gifford, with whom he fell in love.


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In spite of his continuing lack of success with literature, he decided to continue with it, hoping eventually to make enough money to enable him to marry Emma. Hardy was paid thirty pounds for his next novel, Under the Greenwood Tree The following year it was published in New York by Holt and Williams. Far from the Madding Crowd , also serialized, was a financial and critical success, allowing Hardy to give up architecture and marry Emma in The Hand of Ethelberta also appeared as a serial but was not as successful.

It did not have the country setting of Far from the Madding Crowd , which his audience had been previously responsive to.

Reading today

Hardy began to feel a sense of. He preferred his poetry to his prose and considered his novels to be merely a way to earn a living. The novel's theme of the collision of Old World and New World, of rural and modern, allowed Hardy to explore his growing sense that humans are driven by impulses that are not under rational control. Some reviewers praised the graphic descriptions, but others found Hardy's writing strained and pretentious. The Trumpet-Major , set in the Napoleonic period, represents Hardy's attempt at historical fiction.

It was followed by A Laodicean , which Hardy dictated to his wife while he was ill. In September , while that novel was still running its course, the editor of the Atlantic Monthly invited Hardy to write a serial for his magazine. The result was Two on a Tower This move initiated a major period of Hardy's creative life as a novelist. Hardy's next novel, The Woodlanders , a traditional pastoral, actually ends on a happy note.

The same cannot be said, however, for Tess of the d'Urbervilles , in which an innocent country girl falls victim to Victorian social hypocrisy.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles Reader’s Guide

The Well-Beloved is thin by comparison. More than any of Hardy's other novels, Jude the Obscure was met with savage critical attacks, mainly for what was perceived as immoral content. Despite the controversy it inspired immediately after publication, the novel was eventually widely translated and recognized as a masterpiece before Hardy's death. Apart from his fourteen novels, Hardy was a prolific writer of short stories, most of which were collected in four volumes.

They were written for magazine publication and are of uneven quality. Most were written in the late s and early s. Return to Poetry After , Hardy returned to his first love: poetry. Hardy the poet is best known for verses that borrow from the tradition of the ballad. Wessex Poems appeared in After declining the offer of a knighthood, in Hardy accepted the Order of Merit—the highest honor that can be accorded to an English author.

Two years later his wife died. Filled with remorse over the fact that their marriage had not been better, Hardy wrote several poems about their relationship. In , Hardy married again, this time to teacher and children's book author Florence Emily Dugdale, a woman forty years his junior. From to , Hardy worked on his autobiography, which, when it appeared, was disguised as being the work of his wife. While he requested that he be buried next to his first wife, that wish was only partly granted.

Character and Environment in Thomas Hardy's Fiction | Great Writers Inspire

Hardy's body was interred in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey , in London, while his heart was buried in his first wife's grave. Strongly identifying with the county of Dorset, Hardy saw himself as a successor to the Dorset dialect poet William Barnes , who had been a friend and mentor. Author William Rutland cites the Bible, the Romantic. The poet and novelist also discussed poetry with modernist poet Ezra Pound.

Classic Tragedy Return of the Native borrows the structural pattern of a Greek tragedy and follows the five-part division of a Shakespeare tragedy. The sense of place is intensified by the numerous references to local folk customs. The character of Eustacia has been compared to Emma Bovary, though Hardy claimed that he had not read Flaubert's novel at this time. A parallel with the Old Testament story of Saul and David has also been suggested. The professional reviewers were disappointingly unappreciative, but three writers all praised it privately—novelists George Gissing and Robert Louis Stevenson in letters to Hardy, and poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in a letter to Robert Bridges, fellow poet and later poet laureate of England.

Early critics viewed Hardy as a consummate realist, while later evaluations by such critics as Albert J. Guerard suggest that he may be recognized as a predecessor of antirealist trends in twentieth-century fiction. For the integrity of his moral and philosophical views and for the imaginative achievement in creating the world of Wessex, Hardy continues to receive undiminished acclaim from critics, scholars, and the reading public. The story ends happily, although the darker side of life is never far away. Tess of the d'Urbervilles Critics of Hardy's day have been joined by their modern counterparts in citing Tess of the d'Urbervilles as the culminating point in Hardy's efforts at creating a modern form of tragedy.

Many consider it Hardy's greatest novel. Charles Darwin, T. Huxley, and Herbert Spencer all believed that ethics and values could be understood and formulated using the knowledge they had of the natural, material world…. In Tess of the d'Urbervilles , Hardy… severs the link between ethics and nature, but he hardly portrays British society as ethical, kind, or just.

Thus, Tess challenges the linking of the ethical and the natural as well as the social structures which are validated by this link. Eliot was a leading realist writer.

Author Spotlight: Thomas Hardy

Friedrich Nietzsche — : German philosopher who criticized religion. Paul Gauguin — : Leading Primitivist painter. Gauguin moved to Polynesia and painted local scenes using bold colors and simple lines.

Hardy and the Creation of Wessex

Olive Schreiner — : White South African novelist and early feminist. Schreiner lived in London in the s and wrote about prostitution and birth control. This belief, or the pressure it exerts, is responsible for virtually every disaster. With the birth of modern scientific inquiry, the Victorians required a radical readjustment to new concepts of space as well as time.

Not only had the earth been shown to be immensely more ancient than had previously been believed, the discoveries of nineteenth-century astronomy revealed a universe of boundless space. Here are some other works that deal with societal change:. This novel employs a tone of bitter and violent protest and describes many grave social problems in contemporary Mexico City.

This was the first novel written by a Colombian to offer realistic descriptions of Colombian cowherders of the plains and jungle rubber workers. Hugo paints a vivid picture of Paris's seamier side while discussing the causes and results of revolution, the moral redemption of its main character, an ex-convict, and the moral redemption of a nation through revolution.

The Faerie Queene , an epic poem by Edmund Spenser. This epic poem portrays the England of Spenser's dreams at a time when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne and there was no heir to the crown. Dragon's Teeth , a novel by Upton Sinclair. Beach, Joseph W. The Technique of Thomas Hardy. Grylls, D. London: St. James Press, Guerard, Albert J. Thomas Hardy: The Novels and Stories.