Thomas Hardy Bio
Thomas Hardy (June 2, 1840 – January 11, 1928), English novelist and poet, was born at Higher Bockhampton, a hamlet in the parish of Stinsford to the east of Dorchester in Dorset, England. His father Thomas (d.1892) worked as a stonemason and local builder. His mother Jemima (d.1904) was well-read. She educated Thomas until he went to his first school at Bockhampton at age eight. For several years he attended Mr. Last's Academy for Young Gentlemen in Dorchester. Here he learned Latin and demonstrated academic potential. However, a family of Hardy's social position lacked the means for a university education, and his formal education ended at the age of sixteen when he became apprenticed to James Hicks, a local architect. Hardy trained as an architect in Dorchester before moving to London in 1862; there he enrolled as a student at King's College, London. He won prizes from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architectural Association. Hardy never felt at home in London. He was acutely conscious of class divisions and his social inferiority. However, he was interested in social reform and was familiar with the works of John Stuart Mill. He was also introduced to the works of Charles Fourier and Auguste Comte during this period by his Dorset friend Horace Moule. Five years later, concerned about his health, he returned to Dorset and decided to dedicate himself to writing.
While he regarded himself primarily as a poet who composed novels for financial gain, during his lifetime he earned a reputation as a great novelist for works like Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd. The bulk of his fictional works, initially published as serials in magazines, were set in the semi-fictional land of Wessex (based on the Dorchester region where he grew up) and explored tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances.
Hardy's poetry, first published in his fifties, has come to be as well regarded as his novels and has had a significant influence over modern English poetry.¹ read more
Thomas Hardy Quotes
"Happiness is but a mere episode in the general drama of pain."
"While much is too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened."
"The business of the poet and the novelist is to show the sorriness underlying the grandest things and the grandeur underlying the sorriest things."
Thomas Hardy Sites
Thomas Hardy: An Overview
Thomas Hardy at poets.org
Thomas Hardy: online literature network
Writers' Dorset: Dorset County Museum
¹ Thomas Hardy' Bio at Wikipedia
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