3. Thomas Hardy

1. Biography

Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 at Upper Bockhampton. As a boy he learned to play the violin and he was a voracious reader and when he left school in 1856 he was apprenticed to a local architect and church restorer. 

In 1862 he began to write poetry, meanwhile he worked and studied architecture in London. In 1872 he published a novel, Under the Greenwood Tree, but he gained fame thanks to Far from the Madding Crowd. 

His second great work of fiction was The Return of the Native followed by 4 tragic novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), Tess of the D’Ubervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure(1895). 

Hardy decided to give up fiction and to turn to poetry with the publication of Wessex Poems in 1898. 

He died in 1928. 

2. Hardy’s deterministic view

Hardy’s works are packed with considerations about life, death, man and the universe. Hardy was influenced by the Oxford movement, a spiritual movement involving devout thinking and actions. Hardy’s family members were Christians and Hardy himself considered the clergy. He eventually abandoned his faith in God influenced by his reading (classics and contemporary authors). 

From Greek tragedy he derived the notions of cruel Gods, indifferent Nature and hostile Fate. After reading ‘The Origin of Species’, by Charles Darwin, in the 1860s he perceived the intellectual consequences of that scientific theory and denied the existence of God. 

Human life was a tragic process in which man had no power. Hardy wasn't a pessimist, under the influence of Mill and Comte, he advocated the need for altruism, the application of scientific knowledge and loving kindness. 

3. Hardy’s Wessex

Hardy’s stories are set in a very circumscribed area, the south-west corner of England. In the preface to his novel ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’....

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