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Thomas Hardy

Matthew Bradley

in Victorian Literature

ISBN: 9780199799558
Published online March 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199799558-0033
Thomas Hardy

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Thomas Hardy (b. 1840–d. 1928) was born in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, the son of a builder. After an education at his local school and in Dorchester, at the age of sixteen Hardy was apprenticed to a local architect, although he always maintained his literary studies. He moved to London in 1870, and on a visit to St. Juliot in Cornwall in that same year, he met his first wife, Emma Gifford, whom he married four years later. After a false start with the unpublished The Poor Man and the Lady, he brought out his first novel, Desperate Remedies, in 1871, to mixed reviews. However, he went on to forge a career as one of Britain’s most successful and prominent novelists, producing a further thirteen novels, among them Far From the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and Jude the Obscure, and four collections of short stories. In later life, Hardy came to see poetry as his true vocation and published eight volumes, as well as a Napoleonic epic, The Dynasts. In 1912, Emma Hardy died, and two years later Hardy married Florence Dugdale. Known chiefly for his portrayals of life in the fictional region of “Wessex,” his persistent interest in the disjunction between individuals and their environment, and for the tragic power of his narratives and lyrics, Hardy was a key focus for critics and writers well before the professionalization of English studies and has since become one of the most prominent and discussed figures in the literary canon.

Article.  8838 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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