Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

Overview
Thomas Hardy, OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. While his works typically belong to the Naturalism
Naturalism (literature)
Naturalism was a literary movement taking place from the 1880s to 1940s that used detailed realism to suggest that social conditions, heredity, and environment had inescapable force in shaping human character...

 movement, several poems display elements of the previous Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 and Enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural.

While he regarded himself primarily as a poet who composed novels mainly for financial gain, he became and continues to be widely regarded for his novels, such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, also known as Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, Tess of the d'Urbervilles or just Tess, is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British...

and Far from the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel and his first major literary success. It originally appeared anonymously as a monthly serial in Cornhill Magazine, where it gained a wide readership. Critical notices were plentiful and mostly positive...

.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Thomas Hardy'
Start a new discussion about 'Thomas Hardy'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Quotations

To discover evil in a new friend is to most people only an additional experience

Desperate Remedies|Desperate Remedies (1871), ch. 1

With all, the beautiful things of the earth become more dear as they elude pursuit; but with some natures utter elusion is the one special event which will make a passing love permanent for ever.

Desperate Remedies (1871), ch. 1

To dwellers in a wood almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature. At the passing of the breeze the fir-trees sob and moan no less distinctly than they rock; the holly whistles as it battles with itself; the ash hisses amid its quiverings; the beech rustles while its flat boughs rise and fall.

Under the Greenwood Tree|Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), ch. 1

Good, but not religious-good.

Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), ch. 2

Of course poets have morals and manners of their own, and custom is no argument with them.

The Hand of Ethelberta|The Hand of Ethelberta (1876), ch. 2

Like the British Constitution, she owes her success in practice to her inconsistencies in principle.

The Hand of Ethelberta (1876), ch. 9

A lover without indiscretion is no lover at all. Circumspection and devotion are a contradiction in terms.

The Hand of Ethelberta (1876), ch. 20

You calculated how to be uncalculating, and are natural by art!

The Hand of Ethelberta (1876), ch. 20

I have seldom known a man cunning with his brush who was not simple with his tongue; or, indeed, any skill in particular that was not allied to general stupidity.

The Hand of Ethelberta (1876), ch. 20
Encyclopedia
Thomas Hardy, OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

 (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. While his works typically belong to the Naturalism
Naturalism (literature)
Naturalism was a literary movement taking place from the 1880s to 1940s that used detailed realism to suggest that social conditions, heredity, and environment had inescapable force in shaping human character...

 movement, several poems display elements of the previous Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 and Enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural.

While he regarded himself primarily as a poet who composed novels mainly for financial gain, he became and continues to be widely regarded for his novels, such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, also known as Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, Tess of the d'Urbervilles or just Tess, is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British...

and Far from the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel and his first major literary success. It originally appeared anonymously as a monthly serial in Cornhill Magazine, where it gained a wide readership. Critical notices were plentiful and mostly positive...

. The bulk of his fictional works, initially published as serials in magazines, were set in the semi-fictional land of Wessex
Thomas Hardy's Wessex
The English author Thomas Hardy set all of his major novels in the south and southwest of England. He named the area "Wessex" after the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom that existed in this part of that country prior to the Norman Conquest. Although the places that appear in his novels actually exist,...

 (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, especially after The Movement
The Movement (literature)
The Movement was a term coined by J. D. Scott, literary editor of The Spectator, in 1954 to describe a group of writers including Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin, Donald Davie, D.J. Enright, John Wain, Elizabeth Jennings, Thom Gunn, and Robert Conquest...

 poets of the 1950s and 1960s cited Hardy as a major figure.

Life


Thomas Hardy was born at Higher Bockhampton
Bockhampton
Bockhampton is the name of several villages in England, mainly in Dorset:*Bockhampton, Berkshire, an area of Lambourn.*Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, birthplace of Thomas Hardy, and site of Thomas Hardy's Cottage*Middle Bockhampton, Dorset...

, 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
Royal Institute of British Architects
The Royal Institute of British Architects is a professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom, but also internationally.-History:...

 and the Architectural Association
Architectural Association School of Architecture
The Architectural Association School of Architecture, more usually known as the AA, is an architectural school in London, United Kingdom...

. 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
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher, economist and civil servant. An influential contributor to social theory, political theory, and political economy, his conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of...

. He was also introduced to the works of Charles Fourier
Charles Fourier
François Marie Charles Fourier was a French philosopher. An influential thinker, some of Fourier's social and moral views, held to be radical in his lifetime, have become main currents in modern society...

 and Auguste Comte
Auguste Comte
Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte , better known as Auguste Comte , was a French philosopher, a founder of the discipline of sociology and of the doctrine of positivism...

 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.

In 1870, while on an architectural mission to restore the parish church of St Juliot
St Juliot
St Juliot is a civil parish in north-east Cornwall, United Kingdom. The parish is entirely rural and the only settlements are the hamlets of Beeny and Tresparrett.-Parish Church:...

 in Cornwall, Hardy met and fell in love with Emma Lavinia Gifford, whom he married in 1874. Although he later became estranged from his wife, her death in 1912 had a traumatic effect on him. After her death, Hardy made a trip to Cornwall to revisit places linked with their courtship, and his Poems 1912–13 reflect upon her passing. In 1914, Hardy married his secretary Florence Emily Dugdale
Florence Dugdale
Florence Emily Dugdale was a writer of children's stories and the second wife of Thomas Hardy.-Biography:...

, who was 39 years his junior. However, he remained preoccupied with his first wife's death and tried to overcome his remorse by writing poetry.

Hardy became ill with pleurisy
Pleurisy
Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs. Among other things, infections are the most common cause of pleurisy....

 in December 1927 and died at Max Gate just after 9 pm on 11 January 1928, having dictated his final poem to his wife on his deathbed; the cause of death was cited, on his death certificate, as "cardiac syncope", with "old age" given as a contributory factor. His funeral was on 16 January at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

, and it proved a controversial occasion because Hardy and his family and friends had wished for his body to be interred at Stinsford in the same grave as his first wife, Emma. However, his executor, Sir Sydney Carlyle Cockerell, insisted that he be placed in the abbey's famous Poets' Corner
Poets' Corner
Poets' Corner is the name traditionally given to a section of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey because of the number of poets, playwrights, and writers buried and commemorated there. The most recent additions were a memorial floor stone unveiled in 2009 for the founders of the Royal Ballet...

. A compromise was reached whereby his heart was buried at Stinsford with Emma, and his ashes in Poets' Corner.

Shortly after Hardy's death, the executors of his estate burnt his letters and notebooks. Twelve records survived, one of them containing notes and extracts of newspaper stories from the 1820s. Research into these provided insight into how Hardy kept track of them and how he used them in his later work. In the year of his death Mrs Hardy published The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, 1841–1891: compiled largely from contemporary notes, letters, diaries, and biographical memoranda, as well as from oral information in conversations extending over many years.

Hardy's work was admired by many writers of a younger generation including D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence
David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation...

 and Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

. In his autobiography Goodbye to All That
Goodbye to All That
Good-Bye to All That, an autobiography by Robert Graves, first appeared in 1929, when the author was thirty-four. "It was my bitter leave-taking of England," he wrote in a prologue to the revised second edition of 1957, "where I had recently broken a good many conventions"...

, Robert Graves
Robert Graves
Robert von Ranke Graves 24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985 was an English poet, translator and novelist. During his long life he produced more than 140 works...

 recalls meeting Hardy in Dorset in the early 1920s. Hardy received him and his new wife warmly, and was encouraging about his work.

In 1910, Hardy was awarded the Order of Merit.

Hardy's cottage at Bockhampton
Thomas Hardy's Cottage
Thomas Hardy's Cottage, in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, is the birthplace of the English author Thomas Hardy. He lived here until he was aged 34, during which time he wrote Under the Greenwood Tree and Far from the Madding Crowd. It is now a National Trust property.-External links:*...

 and Max Gate
Max Gate
Max Gate is the former home of Thomas Hardy and is located in Dorchester, Dorset, England.Hardy designed and lived in Max Gate from 1885 until his death in 1928. It was here that he wrote Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and The Mayor of Casterbridge, as well as much of his poetry.Max...

 in Dorchester are owned by the National Trust
National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty
The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, usually known as the National Trust, is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

.

Novels


Hardy's first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady
The Poor Man and the Lady
The Poor Man and the Lady was the first novel written by Thomas Hardy. It was written in 1867 and never published. After the manuscript had been rejected by at least five publishers, Hardy gave up his attempts to sell the novel in its original form; however, he incorporated some of its scenes and...

, finished by 1867, failed to find a publisher and Hardy destroyed the manuscript so only parts of the novel remain. He was encouraged to try again by his mentor and friend, Victorian poet and novelist George Meredith
George Meredith
George Meredith, OM was an English novelist and poet of the Victorian era.- Life :Meredith was born in Portsmouth, England, a son and grandson of naval outfitters. His mother died when he was five. At the age of 14 he was sent to a Moravian School in Neuwied, Germany, where he remained for two...

. Desperate Remedies
Desperate Remedies
Desperate Remedies is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published anonymously by Tinsley Brothers in 1871.-Plot summary:This brilliant but neglected novel - the first that Hardy ever published - not only rivals the detective fiction of Wilkie Collins but bears the undoubted imprint of the mature Hardy...

(1871) and Under the Greenwood Tree
Under the Greenwood Tree
Under the Greenwood Tree or The Mellstock Quire: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published anonymously in 1872. It was Hardy's second published novel, the last to be printed without his name, and the first of his great series of Wessex novels...

(1872) were published anonymously. In 1873 A Pair of Blue Eyes
A Pair of Blue Eyes
A Pair of Blue Eyes is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1873.The book describes the love triangle of a young woman, Elfride Swancourt, and her two suitors from very different backgrounds. Stephen Smith is a socially inferior but ambitious young man who adores her and with whom she shares a...

, a novel drawing on Hardy's courtship of his first wife, was published under his own name. The term "cliffhanger
Cliffhanger
A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in fiction which features a main character in a precarious or difficult dilemma, or confronted with a shocking revelation at the end of an episode of serialized fiction...

" is considered to have originated with the serialised version of this story (which was published in Tinsley's Magazine
William Tinsley
William Tinsley was a British publisher. The son of a gamekeeper, he had little formal education; but together with his brother Edward he founded the firm of Tinsley Brothers, which published many of the leading novelists of the time.-Life:Tinsley was born in the village of South Mimms, north of...

between September 1872 and July 1873) in which Henry Knight, one of the protagonists, is left literally hanging off a cliff.

Hardy said that he first introduced Wessex
Thomas Hardy's Wessex
The English author Thomas Hardy set all of his major novels in the south and southwest of England. He named the area "Wessex" after the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom that existed in this part of that country prior to the Norman Conquest. Although the places that appear in his novels actually exist,...

 in Far from the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel and his first major literary success. It originally appeared anonymously as a monthly serial in Cornhill Magazine, where it gained a wide readership. Critical notices were plentiful and mostly positive...

(1874), his next novel. It was successful enough for Hardy to give up architectural work and pursue a literary career. Over the next twenty-five years Hardy produced ten more novels.

The Hardys moved from London to Yeovil
Yeovil
Yeovil is a town and civil parish in south Somerset, England. The parish had a population of 27,949 at the 2001 census, although the wider urban area had a population of 42,140...

 and then to Sturminster Newton
Sturminster Newton
Sturminster Newton, known to locals as Stur, is a town in the Blackmore Vale area of Dorset, England. It is situated on a low limestone ridge in a meander of the River Stour. The town is at the centre of a large dairy agriculture region, around which the town's economy is built...

, where he wrote The Return of the Native
The Return of the Native
The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the magazine Belgravia, a publication known for its sensationalism, and was presented in twelve monthly installments from January to December 1878...

(1878). In 1885, they moved for a last time, to Max Gate
Max Gate
Max Gate is the former home of Thomas Hardy and is located in Dorchester, Dorset, England.Hardy designed and lived in Max Gate from 1885 until his death in 1928. It was here that he wrote Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and The Mayor of Casterbridge, as well as much of his poetry.Max...

, a house outside Dorchester designed by Hardy and built by his brother. There he wrote The Mayor of Casterbridge
The Mayor of Casterbridge
The Mayor of Casterbridge , subtitled "The Life and Death of a Man of Character", is a tragic novel by British author Thomas Hardy. It is set in the fictional town of Casterbridge . The book is one of Hardy's Wessex novels, all set in a fictional rustic England...

(1886), The Woodlanders
The Woodlanders
The Woodlanders is a novel by Thomas Hardy. It was published in 1887.-Plot summary:The story takes place in a small woodland village called Little Hintock, and concerns the efforts of an honest woodsman, Giles Winterborne, to marry his childhood sweetheart, Grace Melbury...

(1887), and Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, also known as Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, Tess of the d'Urbervilles or just Tess, is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British...

(1891), the last of which attracted criticism for its sympathetic portrayal of a "fallen woman" and was initially refused publication. Its subtitle, A Pure Woman: Faithfully Presented, was intended to raise the eyebrows of the Victorian middle-classes.

Jude the Obscure
Jude the Obscure
Jude the Obscure, the last of Thomas Hardy's novels, began as a magazine serial and was first published in book form in 1895. The book was burned publicly by William Walsham How, Bishop of Wakefield, in that same year. Its hero, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man who dreams of becoming a...

, published in 1895, met with even stronger negative outcries from the Victorian public for its frank treatment of sex, and was often referred to as "Jude the Obscene". Heavily criticised for its apparent attack on the institution of marriage through the presentation of such concepts as erotolepsy
Erotolepsy
Erotolepsy is a term first used by English author Thomas Hardy in his 1895 novel Jude the Obscure to describe a passionate sensual desire and longing which is more violent and urgently felt than erotomania. It has been variously described as "love-seizure" and "sexual recklessness"...

, the book caused further strain on Hardy's already difficult marriage because Emma Hardy was concerned that Jude the Obscure would be read as autobiographical. Some booksellers sold the novel in brown paper bags, and the Bishop of Wakefield
Bishop of Wakefield
The Bishop of Wakefield is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Wakefield in the Province of York.The diocese based in Wakefield in West Yorkshire, covers Wakefield, Barnsley, Kirklees and Calderdale...

 is reputed to have burnt his copy. In his postscript of 1912, Hardy humorously referred to this incident as part of the career of the book: "After these [hostile] verdicts from the press its next misfortune was to be burnt by a bishop – probably in his despair at not being able to burn me".

Despite this criticism, Hardy had become a celebrity in English literature by the 1900s, with several highly successful novels behind him, yet he felt disgust at the public reception of two of his greatest works and gave up writing fiction altogether. Other novels written by Hardy include
Two on a Tower
Two on a Tower
Two on a Tower is a novel by English author Thomas Hardy, classified by him as a romance and fantasy and now regarded as one of his minor works. The book is one of Hardy’s Wessex novels, set in a parallel version of late Victorian Dorset.-Epigraph:...

, a romance story set in the world of Astronomy.

Literary themes


Hardy criticises certain social constraints that hindered the lives of those living in the 19th century. Considered a Victorian Realist writer, Hardy examines the social constraints that are part of the Victorian status quo, suggesting these rules hinder the lives of all involved and ultimately lead to unhappiness. In Two on a Tower, Hardy seeks to take a stand against these rules and sets up a story against the backdrop of social structure by creating a story of love that crosses the boundaries of class. The reader is forced to consider disposing of the conventions set up for love. Nineteenth-century society enforces these conventions, and societal pressure ensures conformity. Swithin St Cleeve's idealism pits him against contemporary social constraints. He is a self-willed individual set up against the coercive strictures of social rules and mores.

Hardy’s characters often encounter crossroads, which are symbolic of a point of opportunity and transition. But the hand of fate is an important part of many of Hardy's plots. Far From the Madding Crowd tells a tale of lives that are constructed by chance. “Had Bathsheba not sent the valentine, had Fanny not missed her wedding, for example, the story would have taken an entirely different path.” Hardy's main characters often seem to be in the overwhelming and overpowering grip of fate.

Poetry


For the full text of several poems, see the External links section


In 1898 Hardy published his first volume of poetry, Wessex Poems
Wessex Poems
Wessex Poems and Other Verses is a collection of fifty-one poems set against the bleak and forbidding Dorset landscape by English writer Thomas Hardy, often referred to as simply Wessex Poems. It was first published in 1898 by New York: Harper, ISBN 1-58734-021-6.Notable poems from the collection...

, a collection of poems written over 30 years. Hardy claimed poetry as his first love, and after a great amount of negative criticism erupted from the publication of his novel Jude The Obscure
Jude the Obscure
Jude the Obscure, the last of Thomas Hardy's novels, began as a magazine serial and was first published in book form in 1895. The book was burned publicly by William Walsham How, Bishop of Wakefield, in that same year. Its hero, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man who dreams of becoming a...

, Hardy decided to give up writing novels permanently and to focus his literary efforts on writing poetry. After giving up the novel form, Hardy continued to publish poetry collections until his death in 1928. Although he did publish one last novel in 1897, that novel, The Well-Beloved
The Well-Beloved
The Well-Beloved is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1897.The main setting of the novel was the Isle of Slingers, a caricature of the Isle of Portland in Dorset, southern England....

, had actually been written prior to Jude the Obscure.

Although his poems were not initially as well received by his contemporaries as his novels were, Hardy is now recognised as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. His verse had a profound influence on later writers, notably Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin
Philip Arthur Larkin, CH, CBE, FRSL is widely regarded as one of the great English poets of the latter half of the twentieth century...

, who included many of Hardy's poems in the edition of the Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse that Larkin edited in 1973.

In a recent biography on Hardy, Claire Tomalin
Claire Tomalin
Claire Tomalin is an English biographer and journalist. She was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge.She was literary editor of the New Statesman and of the Sunday Times, and has written several noted biographies...

 argues that Hardy became a truly great English poet after the death of his first wife, Emma, beginning with the elegies he wrote in her memory, calling these poems, "one of the finest and strangest celebrations of the dead in English poetry."

Most of Hardy's poems, such as "Neutral Tones
Neutral tones
"Neutral Tones" is a poem written by Thomas Hardy in 1867. Forming part of his 1898 collection Wessex Poems and Other Verses, it is the most widely praised of his early poems...

'" and "A Broken Appointment", deal with themes of disappointment in love and life (which were also prominent themes in his novels), and mankind's long struggle against indifference to human suffering. Using stylistic patterns similar to those that he used in his novels, Hardy sometimes wrote ironic poems, like "Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave," in which he employed twist endings in the last few lines or in the last stanza to convey that irony. Some, like "The Darkling Thrush
The Darkling Thrush
The Darkling Thrush is a poem by Thomas Hardy. Originally titled By the Century's Deathbed, it was published on New Years Day 1901 in The Times.Hardy wrote the poem on December 31, 1900...

" and "An August Midnight", appear as poems about writing poetry, because the nature mentioned in them gives Hardy the inspiration to write. His compositions range in style from the three-volume epic closet drama The Dynasts
The Dynasts
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...

to shorter poems such as "A Broken Appointment." A particularly strong theme in the Wessex Poems is the long shadow that the Napoleonic Wars cast over the nineteenth century, for example, in "The Sergeant's Song" and "Leipzig".

A few of Hardy's poems, such as "The Blinded Bird" (a melancholy polemic against the sport of ), display his love of the natural world and his firm stance against animal cruelty, exhibited in his antivivisectionist
Vivisection
Vivisection is defined as surgery conducted for experimental purposes on a living organism, typically animals with a central nervous system, to view living internal structure...

 views and his membership in the RSPCA.

A number of notable composers, including Gerald Finzi
Gerald Finzi
Gerald Raphael Finzi was a British composer. Finzi is best known as a song-writer, but also wrote in other genres...

, Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

, and Gustav Holst
Gustav Holst
Gustav Theodore Holst was an English composer. He is most famous for his orchestral suite The Planets....

, have set poems by Hardy to music.

Religious beliefs


Hardy's family was Anglican, but not especially devout. He was baptised at the age of five weeks and attended church, where his father and uncle contributed to music. However, he did not attend the local Church of England school, instead being sent to Mr Last's school, three miles away. As a young adult, he befriended Henry R. Bastow
Henry R. Bastow
Henry Robert Bastow was an Australian architect and a leading Plymouth Brethren member in Melbourne, Victoria.Bastow studied architecture with Thomas Hardy under John Hicks in Dorchester...

 (a Plymouth Brethren
Plymouth Brethren
The Plymouth Brethren is a conservative, Evangelical Christian movement, whose history can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, in the late 1820s. Although the group is notable for not taking any official "church name" to itself, and not having an official clergy or liturgy, the title "The Brethren," is...

 man), who also worked as a pupil architect, and who was preparing for adult baptism in the Baptist Church. Hardy flirted with conversion, but decided against it. Bastow went to Australia and maintained a long correspondence with Hardy, but eventually Hardy tired of these exchanges and the correspondence ceased. This concluded Hardy's links with the Baptists.

Although Hardy’s faith remained intact, the irony and struggles of life led him to question the traditional Christian view of God: Hardy's religious life seems to have mixed agnosticism, deism
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

, and spiritism
Spiritism
Spiritism is a loose corpus of religious faiths having in common the general belief in the survival of a spirit after death. In a stricter sense, it is the religion, beliefs and practices of the people affiliated to the International Spiritist Union, based on the works of Allan Kardec and others...

. Once, when asked in correspondence by a clergyman about the question of reconciling the horrors of pain with the goodness of a loving God, Hardy replied,

Nevertheless, Hardy frequently conceived of and wrote about supernatural forces that control the universe, more through indifference or caprice than any firm will. Also, Hardy showed in his writing some degree of fascination with ghosts and spirits. Despite these sentiments, Hardy retained a strong emotional attachment to the Christian liturgy and church rituals, particularly as manifested in rural communities, that had been such a formative influence in his early years, and Biblical references can be found woven throughout many of Hardy's novels.

Hardy's friends during his apprenticeship to John Hicks included Horace Moule
Horatio Mosley Moule
Horatio Mosley Moule was the fourth son of Henry Moule, and is best remembered as a friend of Thomas Hardy. He was generally known as Horace, to distinguish him from his Uncle Horatio, after whom he was named....

 (one of the eight sons of Henry Moule
Henry Moule
Henry Moule was a priest in the Church of England and inventor of the dry earth closet.-Education and priesthood:Moule, sixth son of George Moule, solicitor and banker, was born at Melksham, Wiltshire, on 27 January 1801, and educated at Marlborough grammar school. He was elected a foundation...

), and the poet William Barnes
William Barnes
William Barnes was an English writer, poet, minister, and philologist. He wrote over 800 poems, some in Dorset dialect and much other work including a comprehensive English grammar quoting from more than 70 different languages.-Life:He was born at Rushay in the parish of Bagber, Dorset, the son of...

, both ministers of religion. Moule remained a close friend of Hardy's for the rest of his life, and introduced him to new scientific findings that cast doubt on literal interpretations of the Bible, such as those of Gideon Mantell
Gideon Mantell
Gideon Algernon Mantell MRCS FRS was an English obstetrician, geologist and palaeontologist...

. Moule gave Hardy a copy of Mantell's book The Wonders of Geology (1848) in 1858, and Adelene Buckland has suggested that there are "compelling similarities" between the "cliffhanger" section from A Pair of Blue Eyes and Mantell's geological descriptions. It has also been suggested that the character of Henry Knight in A Pair of Blue Eyes was based on Horace Moule.

Locations in novels


Berkshire
Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

 is North Wessex,
Devon
Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

 is Lower Wessex,
Dorset
Dorset
Dorset , is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The county town is Dorchester which is situated in the south. The Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch joined the county with the reorganisation of local government in 1974...

 is South Wessex,
Somerset
Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

 is Outer or Nether Wessex,
Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

 is Mid-Wessex,

Bere Regis
Bere Regis
Bere Regis is a village in the Purbeck district of Dorset, England, situated north-west of Wareham.The village has one shop, a post office and two pubs, The Royal Oak and The Drax Arms. The parish church is St. John the Baptist Church...

 is King's-Bere of Tess,
Bincombe Down
Bincombe
Bincombe is a large village in the West Dorset district of Dorset, England; situated north of Weymouth. The local travel links are located from the village to Upwey railway station and to Bournemouth International Airport. The main road running through the village is Icen Lane...

 cross roads is the scene of the military execution in A Melancholy Hussar. It is a true story, the deserters from the German Legion were shot in 1801 and are recorded in the parish register.
Bindon Abbey
Wool, Dorset
Wool is a village in the Purbeck district of Dorset, England. The village has a population of 4,118 , though the population has fluctuated over the past 15 years, due to the proximity of military institutions, reaching a high of 4,300 in 1992. The village lies at a historic bridging point on the...

 is where Clare carried her.
Bournemouth
Bournemouth
Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town in the ceremonial county of Dorset, England. According to the 2001 Census the town has a population of 163,444, making it the largest settlement in Dorset. It is also the largest settlement between Southampton and Plymouth...

 is Sandbourne of Hand of Ethelberta and Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, also known as Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, Tess of the d'Urbervilles or just Tess, is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British...

,
Bridport
Bridport
Bridport is a market town in Dorset, England. Located near the coast at the western end of Chesil Beach at the confluence of the River Brit and its Asker and Simene tributaries, it originally thrived as a fishing port and rope-making centre...

 is Port Bredy,
Charborough House
Charborough House
Charborough House is located between Sturminster Marshall and Bere Regis in Dorset, England. The Deer Park and estate adjoins the villages of Winterborne Zelston, Newton Peveril and Lytchett Matravers...

 and its folly
Folly
In architecture, a folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration, but either suggesting by its appearance some other purpose, or merely so extravagant that it transcends the normal range of garden ornaments or other class of building to which it belongs...

 tower is the model for Welland House in the novel Two on a Tower
Two on a Tower
Two on a Tower is a novel by English author Thomas Hardy, classified by him as a romance and fantasy and now regarded as one of his minor works. The book is one of Hardy’s Wessex novels, set in a parallel version of late Victorian Dorset.-Epigraph:...

.
Corfe Castle
Corfe Castle
Corfe Castle is a village and civil parish in the English county of Dorset. It is the site of a ruined castle of the same name. The village and castle stand over a gap in the Purbeck Hills on the route between Wareham and Swanage. The village lies in the gap below the castle, and is some eight...

 is the Corvsgate-Castle of Hand of Ethelberta.
Cranborne Chase
Cranborne Chase
Cranborne Chase is a Chalk plateau in central southern England, straddling the counties Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. The plateau is part of the English Chalk Formation and is adjacent to Salisbury Plain and the West Wiltshire Downs in the north, the Dorset Downs to the south west and the...

 is The Chase scene of Tess's seduction. (Note – Bowerchalke
Bowerchalke
Bowerchalke or Bower Chalke is a village and civil parish in Wiltshire, England, about southwest of Salisbury. It is in the south of Wiltshire, about from the county boundary with Dorset and from that with Hampshire. It is in the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding...

 on Cranborne Chase was the film location for the great fire in John Schlesinger
John Schlesinger
John Richard Schlesinger, CBE was an English film and stage director and actor.-Early life:Schlesinger was born in London into a middle-class Jewish family, the son of Winifred Henrietta and Bernard Edward Schlesinger, a physician...

's 1967 film Far from the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd (1967 film)
Far from the Madding Crowd is a 1967 British drama film directed by John Schlesinger, adapted from the book of the same name by Thomas Hardy. It was Schlesinger's fourth film and marked a stylistic shift away from his earlier works which explored contemporary urban mores. The cinematography was by...

.)
Milborne St Andrew
Milborne St Andrew
Milborne St Andrew is a village in central Dorset, England, situated in a winterbourne valley on the dip slope of the Dorset Downs, straddling the A354 road nine miles north east of Dorchester. The village has a population of 1,042...

 is "Millpond St Judes" in Far From the Madding Crowd. Charborough House is located between Sturminster Marshall and Bere Regis.
Charborough House and its folly tower is the model for Welland House in the novel Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy. Little England Cottage, Milborne St Andrew being the location of Swithin St Cleeves home and remains as described to this day.
Dorchester, Dorset is Casterbridge, the scene of Mayor of Casterbridge.
Dunster Castle
Dunster Castle
Dunster Castle is a former motte and bailey castle, now a country house, in the village of Dunster, Somerset, England. The castle lies on the top of a steep hill called the Tor, and has been fortified since the late Anglo-Saxon period. After the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century,...

 in Somerset is Castle De Stancy of A Laodicean.
Fordington moor
Fordington (liberty)
Fordington Liberty was a liberty in the county of Dorset, England, containing the following parishes:* Fordington* Hermitage* Minterne Magna * Stockland...

 is Durnover moor and fields.
Greenhill Fair
Bere Regis
Bere Regis is a village in the Purbeck district of Dorset, England, situated north-west of Wareham.The village has one shop, a post office and two pubs, The Royal Oak and The Drax Arms. The parish church is St. John the Baptist Church...

 near Bere Regis
Bere Regis
Bere Regis is a village in the Purbeck district of Dorset, England, situated north-west of Wareham.The village has one shop, a post office and two pubs, The Royal Oak and The Drax Arms. The parish church is St. John the Baptist Church...

 is Woodbury Hill Fair,
Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove is a cove near the village of West Lulworth, on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site in Dorset, southern England. The cove is one of the world's finest examples of such a landform, and is a tourist location with over 1 million visitors a year...

 is Lulstead Cove,
Marnhull
Marnhull
Marnhull is a village in the Blackmore Vale area of north Dorset, England. It is north of Sturminster Newton, between Shaftesbury and Sherborne and about north of Bournemouth and Weymouth...

 is Marlott of Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, also known as Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, Tess of the d'Urbervilles or just Tess, is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British...

,
Melbury House
Evershot
Evershot is a village in west Dorset, England, south of Yeovil. It is the second highest village in the county , the centre of the village lying at 175 metres above sea-level. The village has a population of 206...

 near Evershot
Evershot
Evershot is a village in west Dorset, England, south of Yeovil. It is the second highest village in the county , the centre of the village lying at 175 metres above sea-level. The village has a population of 206...

 is Great Hintock Court in A Group of Noble Dames.
Minterne
Minterne Magna
Minterne Magna is a village in west Dorset, England, situated at the source of the River Cerne in the Dorset Downs, on the A352 main road half way between Dorchester and Sherborne. The village has a population of 188 .-Minterne House:...

 is Little Hintock,
Owermoigne
Owermoigne
Owermoigne is a village in south west Dorset, England, situated six miles south east of Dorchester. The village has a population of 450 .The parish was formerly part of hundred of Winfrith, and subsequently constituted a liberty by itself.-External links:...

 is Nether Moynton in Wessex Tales.

Piddlehinton
Piddlehinton
Piddlehinton is a village in west Dorset, England situated in the Piddle valley five miles north of Dorchester. The village has a population of around 600 .Piddlehinton formerly constituted a liberty containing only the parish itself....

 and Piddle Trenthide
River Piddle
The River Piddle or Trent or North River is a small rural Dorset river which rises next to Alton Pancras church and flows south and then south-easterly more or less parallel with its bigger neighbour, the River Frome, to Wareham, where they both enter Poole Harbour via...

 are the Longpuddle of A Few Crusted Characters.
Puddletown
Puddletown
Puddletown is a village in Dorset, England, 5 miles east of Dorchester in the River Piddle valley. The village has a population of 1,177 , of which 30.3% are retired....

 Heath, Moreton
Moreton, Dorset
Moreton is a village in Dorset, England, situated on the River Frome eight miles east of Dorchester. The village has a population of 270 . It has a number of long distance foot paths and cycle ways passing through it: the Purbeck cycle way, Route 2 , the Frome valley trail, the Jubilee trail, and...

 Heath, Tincleton
Tincleton
Tincleton is a village in south west Dorset, England, situated on the River Frome five miles east of Dorchester. The village has a population of 142 . The name "Tincleton" has nothing to do with the names of nearby villages, such as Puddletown, Piddletrenthide and Piddlehinton. The name actually...

 Heath and Bere
Bere Regis
Bere Regis is a village in the Purbeck district of Dorset, England, situated north-west of Wareham.The village has one shop, a post office and two pubs, The Royal Oak and The Drax Arms. The parish church is St. John the Baptist Church...

 Heath are Egdon Heath.
Poole
Poole
Poole is a large coastal town and seaport in the county of Dorset, on the south coast of England. The town is east of Dorchester, and Bournemouth adjoins Poole to the east. The Borough of Poole was made a unitary authority in 1997, gaining administrative independence from Dorset County Council...

 is Havenpool in Life's Little Ironies.
Portland
Isle of Portland
The Isle of Portland is a limestone tied island, long by wide, in the English Channel. Portland is south of the resort of Weymouth, forming the southernmost point of the county of Dorset, England. A tombolo over which runs the A354 road connects it to Chesil Beach and the mainland. Portland and...

 is the scene of The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved.
Puddletown
Puddletown
Puddletown is a village in Dorset, England, 5 miles east of Dorchester in the River Piddle valley. The village has a population of 1,177 , of which 30.3% are retired....

 is Weatherbury in Far from the Madding Crowd,
River Frome
River Frome, Dorset
The River Frome is a river in Dorset in the south of England. At 30 miles long it is the major chalkstream in southwest England. It is navigable upstream from Poole Harbour as far as the town of Wareham.-Geography:...

 valley is the scene of Talbothays dairy in Tess.
Salisbury
Salisbury
Salisbury is a cathedral city in Wiltshire, England and the only city in the county. It is the second largest settlement in the county...

 is Melchester in On the Western Circuit, Life's Little Ironies and Jude the Obscure etc.
Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury
Shaftesbury is a town in Dorset, England, situated on the A30 road near the Wiltshire border 20 miles west of Salisbury. The town is built 718 feet above sea level on the side of a chalk and greensand hill, which is part of Cranborne Chase, the only significant hilltop settlement in Dorset...

 is Shaston in Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, also known as Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, Tess of the d'Urbervilles or just Tess, is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British...

and Jude the Obscure
Jude the Obscure
Jude the Obscure, the last of Thomas Hardy's novels, began as a magazine serial and was first published in book form in 1895. The book was burned publicly by William Walsham How, Bishop of Wakefield, in that same year. Its hero, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man who dreams of becoming a...

.
Sherborne
Sherborne
Sherborne is a market town in northwest Dorset, England. It is sited on the River Yeo, on the edge of the Blackmore Vale, east of Yeovil. The A30 road, which connects London to Penzance, runs through the town. The population of the town is 9,350 . 27.1% of the population is aged 65 or...

 is Sherton-Abbas,
Sherborne Castle
Sherborne Castle
Sherborne Castle is a 16th-century Tudor mansion southeast of Sherborne in Dorset, England. The park formed only a small part of the Digby estate.-Old castle:Sherborne Old Castle is the ruin of a 12th-century castle in the grounds of the mansion...

 is home of Lady Baxby in A Group of Noble Dames.
Stonehenge
Stonehenge
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks...

 is the scene of Tess's apprehension.
Sutton Poyntz is Overcombe.
Swanage
Swanage
Swanage is a coastal town and civil parish in the south east of Dorset, England. It is situated at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck, approximately 10 km south of Poole and 40 km east of Dorchester. The parish has a population of 10,124 . Nearby are Ballard Down and Old Harry Rocks,...

 is the Knollsea of Hand of Ethelberta.
Taunton
Taunton
Taunton is the county town of Somerset, England. The town, including its suburbs, had an estimated population of 61,400 in 2001. It is the largest town in the shire county of Somerset....

 is known as Toneborough in both Hardy's novels and poems.
Wantage
Wantage
Wantage is a market town and civil parish in the Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire, England. The town is on Letcombe Brook, about south-west of Abingdon and a similar distance west of Didcot....

 is Alfredston, of Jude the Obscure. Fawley, Berkshire
Fawley, Berkshire
Fawley is a village and civil parish in the English county of Berkshire. It is more properly called North or Great Fawley to distinguish it from South or Little Fawley, lower down the parish....

 is Marygreen of Jude the Obscure
Jude the Obscure
Jude the Obscure, the last of Thomas Hardy's novels, began as a magazine serial and was first published in book form in 1895. The book was burned publicly by William Walsham How, Bishop of Wakefield, in that same year. Its hero, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man who dreams of becoming a...

.
Weyhill
Andover, Hampshire
Andover is a town in the English county of Hampshire. The town is on the River Anton some 18.5 miles west of the town of Basingstoke, 18.5 miles north-west of the city of Winchester and 25 miles north of the city of Southampton...

 is Weydon Priors,
Weymouth is Budmouth Regis, the scene of Trumpet Major & portions of other novels;
Winchester
Winchester
Winchester is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire, in South East England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of...

 is Wintoncester where Tess was executed. Wimborne is Warborne of Two on a Tower
Two on a Tower
Two on a Tower is a novel by English author Thomas Hardy, classified by him as a romance and fantasy and now regarded as one of his minor works. The book is one of Hardy’s Wessex novels, set in a parallel version of late Victorian Dorset.-Epigraph:...

.
Wolfeton House
Charminster
Charminster is a village in west Dorset, England, situated on the River Cerne and A352 road one mile north of Dorchester. The village has a population of 1,940 . The village has a small church of St. Mary. These two things give the village its name, Cerneminster , which eventually evolved into...

, near Dorchester is the scene of The Lady Penelope in a Group of Noble Dames.
Woolbridge Manor House
Woolbridge Manor House
Woolbridge Manor is just outside the village of Wool, Dorset on the North side of the old Wool bridge, a historic crossing point over the River Frome, which is now closed to traffic except pedestrians and cyclists due to a bypass and junction.-Structure:...

, close to Wool station, is the scene of Tess's confession and honeymoon.

Influence


Hardy provides the springboard for D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence
David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation...

's Study of Thomas Hardy (1936). Though this work became a platform for Lawrence's own developing philosophy rather than a more standard literary study, the influence of Hardy's treatment of character and Lawrence's own response to the central metaphysic behind many of Hardy's novels helped significantly in the development of The Rainbow
The Rainbow
The Rainbow is a 1915 novel by British author D. H. Lawrence. It follows three generations of the Brangwen family living in Nottinghamshire, particularly focusing on the sexual dynamics of, and relations between, the characters....

(1915, suppressed) and Women in Love
Women in Love
Women in Love is a novel by British author D. H. Lawrence published in 1920. It is a sequel to his earlier novel The Rainbow , and follows the continuing loves and lives of the Brangwen sisters, Gudrun and Ursula. Gudrun Brangwen, an artist, pursues a destructive relationship with Gerald Crich, an...

(1920, private publication). Hardy was clearly the starting point for the character of the novelist Edward Driffield in W Somerset Maugham's novel Cakes and Ale
Cakes and Ale
Cakes and Ale: or, the Skeleton in the Cupboard is a novel by British author William Somerset Maugham. It is often alleged to be a thinly veiled roman à clef examining contemporary novelists Thomas Hardy and Hugh Walpole — though Maugham maintained he had created both characters as composites...

. Thomas Hardy's works feature prominently in the narrative in Christopher Durang
Christopher Durang
Christopher Ferdinand Durang is an American playwright known for works of outrageous and often absurd comedy. His work was especially popular in the 1980s.- Life :...

's The Marriage of Bette and Boo, in which a graduate thesis analysing Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, also known as Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, Tess of the d'Urbervilles or just Tess, is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British...

is interspersed with analysis of Matt's family's neuroses.

Prose


Hardy divided his novels and collected short stories into three classes:

Novels of Character and Environment
  • The Poor Man and the Lady
    The Poor Man and the Lady
    The Poor Man and the Lady was the first novel written by Thomas Hardy. It was written in 1867 and never published. After the manuscript had been rejected by at least five publishers, Hardy gave up his attempts to sell the novel in its original form; however, he incorporated some of its scenes and...

    (1867, unpublished and lost)
  • Under the Greenwood Tree
    Under the Greenwood Tree
    Under the Greenwood Tree or The Mellstock Quire: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published anonymously in 1872. It was Hardy's second published novel, the last to be printed without his name, and the first of his great series of Wessex novels...

    (1872)
  • Far from the Madding Crowd
    Far from the Madding Crowd
    Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel and his first major literary success. It originally appeared anonymously as a monthly serial in Cornhill Magazine, where it gained a wide readership. Critical notices were plentiful and mostly positive...

    (1874)
  • The Return of the Native
    The Return of the Native
    The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the magazine Belgravia, a publication known for its sensationalism, and was presented in twelve monthly installments from January to December 1878...

    (1878)
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge
    The Mayor of Casterbridge
    The Mayor of Casterbridge , subtitled "The Life and Death of a Man of Character", is a tragic novel by British author Thomas Hardy. It is set in the fictional town of Casterbridge . The book is one of Hardy's Wessex novels, all set in a fictional rustic England...

    (1886)
  • The Woodlanders
    The Woodlanders
    The Woodlanders is a novel by Thomas Hardy. It was published in 1887.-Plot summary:The story takes place in a small woodland village called Little Hintock, and concerns the efforts of an honest woodsman, Giles Winterborne, to marry his childhood sweetheart, Grace Melbury...

    (1887)
  • Wessex Tales
    Wessex Tales
    Wessex Tales is an 1888 collection of tales written by Thomas Hardy, many of which are set before Hardy's birth in 1840.Through them, Thomas Hardy talks about nineteenth century marriage, grammar, class status, how men and women were viewed, medical diseases and more.-Contents:In 1888, Wessex Tales...

    (1888, a collection of short stories)
  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles
    Tess of the d'Urbervilles
    Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, also known as Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, Tess of the d'Urbervilles or just Tess, is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British...

    (1891)
  • Life's Little Ironies
    Life's Little Ironies
    Life's Little Ironies is a collection of tales written by Thomas Hardy, originally published in 1894, and republished with a slightly different collection of stories, for the Uniform Edition in 1927/8.-1927 edition contents:*An Imaginative Woman...

    (1894, a collection of short stories)
  • Jude the Obscure
    Jude the Obscure
    Jude the Obscure, the last of Thomas Hardy's novels, began as a magazine serial and was first published in book form in 1895. The book was burned publicly by William Walsham How, Bishop of Wakefield, in that same year. Its hero, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man who dreams of becoming a...

    (1895)


Romances and Fantasies
  • A Pair of Blue Eyes
    A Pair of Blue Eyes
    A Pair of Blue Eyes is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1873.The book describes the love triangle of a young woman, Elfride Swancourt, and her two suitors from very different backgrounds. Stephen Smith is a socially inferior but ambitious young man who adores her and with whom she shares a...

    (1873)
  • The Trumpet-Major
    The Trumpet-Major
    The Trumpet-Major is a novel by Thomas Hardy published in 1880.The heroine, Anne Garland, is pursued by three suitors: John Loveday, the trumpet major in a British regiment, honest and loyal; his brother Bob, a flighty sailor; and Festus Derriman, the cowardly nephew of the local squire.The setting...

    (1880)
  • Two on a Tower
    Two on a Tower
    Two on a Tower is a novel by English author Thomas Hardy, classified by him as a romance and fantasy and now regarded as one of his minor works. The book is one of Hardy’s Wessex novels, set in a parallel version of late Victorian Dorset.-Epigraph:...

    (1882)
  • A Group of Noble Dames
    A Group of Noble Dames
    A Group of Noble dames is an 1891 collection of short stories written by Thomas Hardy. It is a frame narrative in which ten members of a club each tell one story about a noble dame in the 17th or 18th century.-Contents:Part I—Before Dinner...

    (1891, a collection of short stories)
  • The Well-Beloved
    The Well-Beloved
    The Well-Beloved is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1897.The main setting of the novel was the Isle of Slingers, a caricature of the Isle of Portland in Dorset, southern England....

    (1897) (first published as a serial from 1892)


Novels of Ingenuity
  • Desperate Remedies
    Desperate Remedies
    Desperate Remedies is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published anonymously by Tinsley Brothers in 1871.-Plot summary:This brilliant but neglected novel - the first that Hardy ever published - not only rivals the detective fiction of Wilkie Collins but bears the undoubted imprint of the mature Hardy...

    (1871)
  • The Hand of Ethelberta
    The Hand of Ethelberta
    The Hand of Ethelberta is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1876. It was written, in serial form, for the Cornhill Magazine, which was edited by Leslie Stephen, a friend and mentor of Hardy's.-Plot summary:...

    (1876)
  • A Laodicean
    A Laodicean
    A Laodicean is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1881. Set in the more technologically advanced contemporaneous age, the plot exhibits devices uncommon for Hardy, such as falsified telegrams and faked photographs.-Synopsis:...

    (1881)


Hardy also produced a number of minor tales and a collaborative novel, The Spectre of the Real (1894). An additional short-story collection, beyond the ones mentioned above, is A Changed Man and Other Tales (1913). His works have been collected as the 24-volume Wessex Edition (1912–13) and the 37-volume Mellstock Edition (1919–20). His largely self-written biography appears under his second wife's name in two volumes from 1928–30, as The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–91 and The Later Years of Thomas Hardy, 1892–1928, now published in a critical one-volume edition as The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy, edited by Michael Millgate (1984).

Short stories (with date of first publication)

  • "How I Built Myself A House" (1865)
  • "Destiny and a Blue Cloak" (1874)
  • "The Thieves Who Couldn't Stop Sneezing" (1877)
  • "The Duchess of Hamptonshire" (1878)
  • "The Distracted Preacher" (1879)
  • "Fellow-Townsmen" (1880)
  • "The Honourable Laura" (1881)
  • "What The Shepherd Saw" (1881)
  • "A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four" (1882)
  • "The Three Strangers
    The Three Strangers
    -Plot Summary:A party of nineteen people is assembled in Higher Crowstairs, a shepherd's cottage near Casterbridge. A stranger joins them to seek shelter for the rough weather. A second stranger comes in, and sings a song that reveals he's a hangman. A third strangers enters briefly, but then...

    " (1883)
  • "The Romantic Adventures Of A Milkmaid" (1883)
  • "Interlopers At The Knap" (1884)
  • "A Mere Interlude
    A Mere Interlude
    A Mere Interlude is a short story by Thomas Hardy. It was first published in The Bolton Weekly Journal in October 1885.-Plot Summary:Baptista Trewthen is the daughter of a small farmer in St Maria's, one of the Isles of Lyonesse. She works as a schoolmistress in a village near Tor-upon-Sea...

    " (1885)
  • "A Tryst At An Ancient Earthwork" (1885)
  • "Alicia's Diary
    Alicia's Diary
    Alicia's Diary is a short story written by Victorian novelist Thomas Hardy in 1887. It is the diary of a girl named Alicia that is a tragic romance.-Plot:...

    " (1887)
  • "The Waiting Supper" (1887–88)
  • "The Withered Arm" (1888)
  • "A Tragedy Of Two Ambitions
    A Tragedy of Two Ambitions
    "A Tragedy of Two Ambitions" is a short story by Thomas Hardy and was published in his collection Life's Little Ironies in 1894.-Summary:The short story “A Tragedy of two Ambitions“ by Thomas Hardy published in his collection „Life's Little Ironies“ in 1894 deals with the two brothers Joshua and...

    " (1888)
  • "The First Countess of Wessex" (1889)
  • "Anna, Lady Baxby" (1890)
  • "The Lady Icenway" (1890)
  • "Lady Mottisfont" (1890)
  • "The Lady Penelope" (1890)
  • "The Marchioness of Stonehenge" (1890)
  • "Squire Petrick's Lady" (1890)
  • "Barbara of the House of Grebe
    Barbara of the House of Grebe
    Barbara of the House of Grebe is the second of ten short stories in Thomas Hardy's frame narrative A Group of Noble Dames. It is told by the old surgeon...

    " (1890)
  • "The Melancholy Hussar of The German Legion" (1890)
  • "Absent-Mindedness in a Parish Choir" (1891)

  • "The Winters And The Palmleys" (1891)
  • "For Conscience' Sake" (1891)
  • "Incident in Mr. Crookhill's Life"(1891)
  • "The Doctor's Legend" (1891)
  • "Andrey Satchel and the Parson and Clerk" (1891)
  • "The History of the Hardcomes" (1891)
  • "Netty Sargent's Copyhold" (1891)
  • "On The Western Circuit" (1891)
  • "A Few Crusted Characters: Introduction" (1891)
  • "The Superstitious Man's Story" (1891)
  • "Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver" (1891)
  • "To Please His Wife" (1891)
  • "The Son's Veto" (1891)
  • "Old Andrey's Experience as a Musician" (1891)
  • "Our Exploits At West Poley" (1892–93)
  • "Master John Horseleigh, Knight" (1893)
  • "The Fiddler of the Reels" (1893)
  • "An Imaginative Woman" (1894)
  • "The Spectre of the Real" (1894)
  • "A Committee-Man of 'The Terror'" (1896)
  • "The Duke's Reappearance" (1896)
  • "The Grave By The Handpost" (1897)
  • "A Changed Man" (1900)
  • "Enter a Dragoon" (1900)
  • "Blue Jimmy: The Horse Stealer" (1911)
  • "Old Mrs. Chundle" (1929)
  • "The Unconquerable
    The Unconquerable
    The Unconquerable is a short story traditionally credited to Thomas Hardy, though its true authorship has long been the subject of controversy. The story of two friends’ rivalry over a young lady was written around 1910/11 but was never published during Hardy’s lifetime.-Plot:Philip Fadelle and...

    "(1992)


Poetry collections

  • The Photograph (1890)
  • Wessex Poems and Other Verses (1898)
  • Poems of the Past and Present (1901)
  • The Man He Killed (1902)
  • Time's Laughingstocks and Other Verses (1909)
  • The Voice (1912)
  • Satires of Circumstance
    Satires of Circumstance
    Satires of Circumstance is a collection of poems by English poet Thomas Hardy, and was published in 1914. It includes the 18 poem sequence 'Poems of 1912-13', on the death of Hardy's wife Emma, widely regarded to comprise the best work of his poetic career....

    (1914)
  • Moments of Vision (1917)
  • Collected Poems (1919)
  • Late Lyrics and Earlier with Many Other Verses (1923)
  • Human Shows, Far Phantasies, Songs and Trifles (1925)
  • Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres (1928)
  • The Complete Poems (Macmillan, 1976)
  • Selected Poems (Edited by Harry Thomas, Penguin, 1993)
  • Hardy: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets, 1995)
  • Thomas Hardy: Selected Poetry and Nonfictional Prose (St. Martin's Press, 1996)
  • Selected Poems (Edited by Robert Mezey, Penguin, 1998)
  • Thomas Hardy: The Complete Poems (Edited by James Gibson, Palgrave, 2001)

Drama

  • The Dynasts (verse drama)
    • The Dynasts, Part 1
      The Dynasts
      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...

      (1904)
    • The Dynasts, Part 2
      The Dynasts
      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...

      (1906)
    • The Dynasts, Part 3
      The Dynasts
      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...

      (1908)
  • The Famous Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall at Tintagel
    Tintagel
    Tintagel is a civil parish and village situated on the Atlantic coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom. The population of the parish is 1,820 people, and the area of the parish is ....

     in Lyonnesse
    (1923) (one-act play)

External links