1840 – 1928
Who was Thomas Hardy?
Thomas Hardy, OM was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth. Charles Dickens was another important influence. Like Dickens, he was highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focused more on a declining rural society.
While Hardy wrote poetry throughout his life and regarded himself primarily as a poet, his first collection was not published until 1898. Initially, therefore, he gained fame as the author of novels, including Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and Jude the Obscure. However, beginning in the 1950s Hardy has been recognised as a major poet; he had a significant influence on the Movement poets of the 1950s and 1960s, including Philip Larkin.
Most of his fictional works – initially published as serials in magazines – were set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex. They explored tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances.
- Dialect words are those terrible marks of the beast to the truly genteel.
- Some folk want their luck buttered.
- The value of old age depends upon the person who reaches it. To some men of early performance it is useless. To others, who are late to develop, it just enables them to finish the job.
- Pessimism is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst possible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, life becomes child's play.
- Ethelberta breathed a sort of exclamation, not right out, but stealthily, like a parson's damn.
- Let me enjoy the earth no less because the all-enacting light that fashioned forth its loveliness had other aims than my delight.
- Patience, that blending of moral courage with physical timidity.
- Poetry is emotion put into measure. The emotion must come by nature, but the measure can be acquired by art.
- Everybody is so talented nowadays that the only people I care to honor as deserving real distinction are those who remain in obscurity.
- If all hearts were open and all desires known -- as they would be if people showed their souls -- how many gapings, sighings, clenched fists, knotted brows, broad grins, and red eyes should we see in the market-place!
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- Jun 2, 1840
- Also known as
- Thomas Masterson Hardy
- Thomas Hardy, OM
- United Kingdom
- King's College London
- Jan 11, 1928
- Resting place
- Westminster Abbey
on July 23, 2013