April 21, 2016

Thomas Hardy

English novelist and poet of the naturalist movement.
Thomas Hardy


  • Full Name: Thomas Hardy
  • AKA: Thomas Masterson Hardy
  • Date of Birth: June 2, 1840
  • Place of Birth: Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, United Kingdom
  • Zodiac Sign: Gemini
  • Death: January 11, 1928
  • Place of Death: Dorchester, Dorset, United Kingdom
  • Cause of Death: Unknown
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Religion: Anglican
  • Nationality: British
  • Place of Burial:
1. Heart- Stinsford parish church
2. Ashes- Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey
  • Father: Thomas Hardy (1811-1892)
  • Mother: Jemima Hardy (née Hand) (1813-1904)
  • Siblings:
1. Sister- Mary Hardy (1841-1915)
2. Brother- Henry Hardy (1851-1928)
3. Sister- Kate Hardy (1856-1940)
  • Spouses:
1. Emma Lavinia Gifford (b. 1840–d. 1912; m. 1874, until her death)
2. Florence Dugdale (b.1879–d. 1937; m. 1914, until his death)
  • Children: None
  • Alma Mater: Mr. Last's Academy, King's College London
  • Known for: his contribution in the naturalist movement
  • Criticized for: his frank treatment of sexuality as well as his empathetic treatment of a fallen woman in Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891)
  • Influences: William Shakespeare (1564–1616), John Milton (1608–1674),  Thomas Gray (1716 –1771), Charles Dickens (1812–1870), William Wordsworth (1770 –1850), Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 –1860), William Barnes (1801-1866), Charles Darwin (1809 –1882), Charlotte Brontë (1816 –1855), Emily Brontë (1818 –1848), George Meredith (1828–1909), Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)
  • Influenced: Robert Frost (1874 –1963), Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917), Ezra Pound (1885 –1972), D.H. Lawrence (1885 –1930), Dylan Thomas (1914–1953)


“It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.” Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

Major Themes

  • Human misery
  • Alienation/ Loneliness
  • Uncaring universe
  • Chance/Fate
  • Disappointment
  • Love
  • Nature
  • War

Notable Works

  • Desperate Remedies  (1871)
  • Under the Greenwood Tree (1872)
  • A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873)
  • Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)
  • The Hand of Ethelberta  (1876)
  • The Return of the Native (1878)
  • The Trumpet-Major (1880)
  • A Laodicean (1881)
  • Two on a Tower (1882)
  • The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid (1883)
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)
  • Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891)
  • The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (1892)
  • Jude the Obscure (1895)
Short Story
Wessex Tales
  • The Three Strangers (1883)
  • A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four (1882)
  • The Melancholy Hussar of The German Legion (1890)
  • The Withered Arm (1888)
  • Fellow-Townsmen (1880)
  • Interlopers At The Knap (1884)
  • The Distracted Preacher (1879)
Life's Little Ironies
  • An Imaginative Woman (1894)
  • The Son's Veto (1891)
  • For Conscience' Sake (1891)
  • A Tragedy Of Two Ambitions (1888)
  • On The Western Circuit (1891)
  • To Please His Wife (1891)
  • The Fiddler of the Reels (1893)
  • A Few Crusted Characters (1891)
-Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver
-The History of the Hardcomes
-The Superstitious Man's Story
-Andrey Satchel and the Parson and Clerk
-Old Andrey's Experience as a Musician
-Absent-Mindedness in a Parish Choir
-The Winters And The Palmleys
-Incident in the Life of Mr. George Crookhill
-Netty Sargent's Copyhold
A Group of Noble Dames (1891)
  • The First Countess of Wessex (1889)
  • Barbara Of The House Of Grebe (1890)
  • The Marchioness of Stonehenge (1890)
  • Lady Mottisfont (1890)
  • The Lady Icenway (1890)
  • Squire Petrick's Lady (1890)
  • Anna, Lady Baxby (1890)
  • The Lady Penelope (1890)
  • The Duchess of Hamptonshire (1878)
  • The Honourable Laura (1881)
A Changed Man
  • A Changed Man (1900)
  • The Waiting Supper (1887-1888)
  • Alicia's Diary (1887)
  • The Grave By The Handpost (1897)
  • Enter a Dragoon (1900)
  • A Tryst At An Ancient Earthwork (1885)
  • What The Shepherd Saw (1881)
  • A Committee-Man of 'The Terror' (1896)
  • Master John Horseleigh, Knight (1893)
  • The Duke's Reappearance (1896)
  • A Mere Interlude (1885)
  • The Romantic Adventures Of A Milkmaid (1883)
Excluded and Collaborative Stories
  • How I Built Myself A House (1865)
  • Destiny and a Blue Cloak (1874)
  • The Thieves Who Couldn't Stop Sneezing (1877)
  • Our Exploits At West Poley (1892-1893)
  • Old Mrs. Chundle (1929)
  • The Doctor's Legend (1891)
  • The Spectre of the Real (1894)
  • Blue Jimmy: The Horse Stealer (1911)
  • The Unconquerable (1992)
  • (As sung by Mr. Charles Charrington in the play of The Three Wayfarers)
  • (Greek Title)
  • A Broken Appointment
  • A Christmas Ghost Story
  • A Commonplace Day
  • A Confession To A Friend In Trouble
  • A Man (In Memory of H. of M.)
  • A Meeting With Despair
  • A Sign-Seeker
  • A Spot
  • A Thunderstorm In Town
  • A Wasted Illness
  • A Wife In London
  • Additions
  • After Schiller
  • Afterwards
  • Ah Are You Digging On My Grave?
  • Amabel
  • An Ancient To Ancients
  • An August Midnight
  • An Autumn Rain-Scene
  • Architectural Masks
  • At A Bridal
  • At a Hasty Wedding
  • At a Lunar Eclipse
  • At An Inn
  • At Castle Boterel
  • At Lulworth Cove A Century Back
  • At The Railway Station Upways
  • At the War Office London
  • Beeny Cliff
  • Between Us Now
  • Between Us Now
  • Birds at Winter Nightfall (Triolet)
  • By the Earths Corpse
  • Cardinal Bembos Epitaph on Raphael
  • Catullus: XXXI
  • Channel Firing
  • De Profundis
  • Departure
  • Ditty
  • Domicilium
  • Doom and She
  • Drummer Hodge
  • During Wind And Rain
  • Embarcation
  • Epitaph On A Pessimist
  • Fragment
  • Friends Beyond
  • From Victor Hugo
  • Genoa and the Mediterranean
  • George Meredith
  • God-Forgotten
  • Gods Funeral
  • Hap
  • He Never Expected Much
  • Heiress And Architect
  • Her Death And After
  • Her Dilemma
  • Her Immortality
  • Her Initals
  • Her Late Husband (Kings-Hintock 182-.)
  • Her Reproach
  • Heredity
  • His Immortality
  • How Great My Grief (Triolet)
  • I Have Lived With Shades
  • I Have Lived With Shades
  • I Look Into My Glass
  • I Need Not Go
  • I Said To Love
  • I Said to Love
  • In A Eweleaze Near Weatherbury
  • In A Museum
  • In a Wood
  • In Tenebris
  • In The Moonlight
  • In The Old Theatre Fiesole
  • In The Vaulted Way
  • In Time Of The Breaking Of Nations
  • In Vision I Roamed
  • Last Words To A Dumb Friend
  • Lausanne In Gibbons Old Garden: 11-12 p.m
  • Leipzig
  • Let Me Enjoy
  • Lines On The Loss Of The Titanic
  • Long Plighted
  • Mad Judy
  • Men Who March Away
  • Middle-Age Enthusiasms
  • Midnight On The Great Western
  • Mismet
  • Moments Of Vision
  • Mute Opinion
  • My Cicely
  • My Spirit Will Not Haunt The Mound
  • Natures Questioning
  • Neutral Tones
  • Night In The Old Home
  • No Buyers
  • On a Fine Morning
  • On an Invitation to the United States
  • Postponement
  • Revulsion
  • Rom: On the Palatine
  • Rome at the Pyramid of Cestius Near the Graves of Shelley and Keats
  • Rome: Building a New Street in the Ancient Quarter
  • Rome: On the Palatine
  • Rome: The Vatican-Sala Delle Muse
  • San Sebastian
  • Sapphic Fragment
  • Satires of Circumstance in Fifteen Glimpses VIII: In the St
  • She At His Funeral
  • She Hears The Storm
  • She To Him
  • She to Him I
  • She to Him II
  • She To Him III
  • She To Him IV
  • Shelleys Skylark (The neighbourhood of Leghorn: March)
  • Song From Heine
  • Song of Hope
  • Song of the Soldiers Wifes
  • Tesss Lament
  • The Alarm
  • The Bedridden Peasant to an Unknown God
  • The Bridge of Lodi
  • The Bullfinches
  • The Burghers
  • The Caged Thrush Freed and Home Again (Villanelle)
  • The Casterbridge Captains
  • The Cave Of The Unborn
  • The Choirmasters Burial
  • The Church-Builder
  • The Colonels Solilquy
  • The Comet at Valbury or Yellham
  • The Contretemps
  • The Convergence Of The Twain
  • The Coquette and After (Triolets)
  • The Dame of Athelhall
  • The Dance At The Phoenix
  • The Darkling Thrush
  • The Dead Drummer
  • The Dead Man Walking
  • The Dream-Follower
  • The Fallow Deer At The Lonely House
  • The Farm Womans Winter
  • The Fire At Tranter Sweatleys
  • The Ghost Of The Past
  • The Going
  • The Going of the Battery Wives. (Lament)
  • The House Of Hospitalities
  • The Impercipient
  • The Inconsistent
  • The Ivy-Wife
  • The Kings Experiment
  • The Lacking Sense Scene.--A sad-coloured landscape Waddon Vale
  • The Last Chrysanthemum
  • The Levelled Churchyard
  • The Lost Pyx: A Mediaeval Legend
  • The Man He Killed
  • The Masked Face
  • The Milkmaid
  • The Mother Mourns
  • The Oxen
  • The Peasants Confession
  • The Phantom Horsewoman
  • The Pity Of It
  • The Puzzled Game-Birds
  • The Rambler
  • The Respectable Burgher on The Higher Criticism
  • The Roman Road
  • The Ruined Maid
  • The Seasons of Her Year
  • The Selfsame Song
  • The Self-Unseeing
  • The Sergeants Song
  • The Sick God
  • The Sleep-Worker
  • The Slow Nature
  • The Souls of the Slain
  • The Subalterns
  • The Sun On The Bookcase
  • The Superseded
  • The Supplanter: A Tale
  • The Temporary The All
  • The Tenant-For-Life
  • The To-Be-Forgotten
  • The Tree: An Old Mans Story
  • The Two Men
  • The Voice
  • The Well-Beloved
  • The Widow
  • The Years Awakening
  • Then And Now
  • Thought Of Ph---a At News Of Her Death
  • Thoughts Of Phena
  • To A Lady
  • To An Orphan Child
  • To An Unborn Pauper Child
  • To Flowers From Italy in Winter
  • To Life
  • To Lizbie Browne
  • To Outer Nature
  • Transformations
  • Under The Waterfall
  • Unknowing
  • V.R. 1819-1901 (A Reverie.)
  • Valenciennes
  • Waiting Both
  • Weathers
  • When I Set Out For Lyonnesse
  • Winter in Durnover Field
  • Wives in the Sere
  • Zermatt to the Matterhorn

Did You Know?

  • Hardy was the eldest of the four children of Thomas Hardy and Jemima Hardy.
  • His father, Thomas was a self-employed master mason and building contractor.
  • Hardy’s mother, Jemima was a former maidservant and cook.
  • His mother’s love for reading inspired him to grow interest in literature.
  • He was also very fond of reading romances and his favourite authors include William Harrison Ainsworth, Walter Scott, and Alexander Dumas.
  • Hardy received his initial education from his mother at home until the age of eight when he went to school for the first time. After schooling he became an apprentice in 1856 to a local architect, John Hicks. He worked there with a specialization in the restoration of Churches until 1862.
  • In April 1862, Hardy decided to suspend his architectural apprenticeship and left for London to study architecture at King's College. Despite achieving a prize-winning performance in studies, he decided to take writing as a career.
  • Hardy's experience from architectural apprenticeship is evident in many of his poetry and fiction. For instance, the character of Jude in Jude the Obscure (1895), is a stonemason.
  • Before moving to London he proposed and been rejected by a Dorchester girl, Mary Waight, who was older than him.
  • In 1870, Hardy met Emma Lavinia Gifford. Although the couple deeply fell in love with each other, they married after four years. But surprisingly, none of Hardy’s family attended the wedding ceremony.
  • The first years of their marriage were quite happy. The couple spent their honeymoon in Paris and travelled a lot. However, in later years Emma felt more and more isolated from her husband, and got mentally unstable, which culminated into her sudden death in 27th November 1912.
  • Emma kept a secret private diary in which she recorded her remarks and her complaints about her husband. Moreover, she also discussed various sides of their marriage with a few acquaintances.
  • Emma’s death put Hardy into complete dismay but at same time inspired him to write a number of poems which recalled his happy time with Emma when they were young.
  • On 6 February 1914, he married Florence Dugdale, who was almost forty years younger than him. Sadly, his second marriage also proved to be unhappy, because Hardy preferred spending much time in study rather than with Florence. Consequently, like Emma she also felt lonely most of the time.
  • Hardy did not have any children with either of his wives.
  • In March 1865 his first short story was published in Chambers's Journal.
  • When his novel Far from the Madding Crowd (1874) appeared anonymously in the Cornhill Magazine, many attributed it to George Eliot.
  • Hardy anonymously published two of his early novels, Desperate Remedies (1871) and Under the Greenwood Tree (1872).
  • Due to unconventional presentation of women the publication of Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895) created a public uproar. Disturbed by the public reaction Hardly decided to stop writing prose fictions.
  • Much of his works are set in the fictional region of Wessex, which is mostly inspired by Dorset, his birthplace.
  • Hardy's first volume of poetry, Wessex Poems was published in 1898.
  • In December 1927, Hardy fell sick with pleurisy and eventually died in January 1928. After the funeral on 16 January, his heart was buried with his first wife Emma and ashes in Poet's Corner.

Media Gallery

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

Emma Lavinia Gifford

Thomas Hardy with Florence Dugdale

Thomas Hardy with Florence Dugdale



“Thomas Hardy.” Wikipedia. 2016. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 15 April 2016
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hardy>.

“Thomas Hardy. A Biographical Sketch.” The Victorian Web. 2016. The Victorian Web. 15 April 2016
< http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/hardy/bio.html>.

“Thomas Hardy.” NNDB. 2014. Soylent Communications. 15 April 2016
< http://www.nndb.com/people/978/000084726/>.

“Thomas Hardy.” The Famous People. 2016. Famous People. 15 April 2016
< http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/thomas-hardy-32.php>.

“Hardy's Impact on Modern Poetry.” Gettysburg College. 2016. Gettysburg. 15 April 2016
< http://public.gettysburg.edu/academics/english/hardy/poetry/modernimpact.html>.

NB: This article was last updated on January 09, 2018
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