British writer 1840-1928. Wrote both poetry and prose, often centred in his native Wessex.

All but his first two novels were serialised in magazines prior to book publication. Indeed, (near) simultaneous serialisation occurred in separate markets - e.g. London and New York - for each work from "A Pair of Blue Eye"' to "Tess of the d'Urberville". The complete list, with date of book publication and principal (UK) serialisation is as follows:

The "moral outrage" surrounding "Jude the Obscure" prompted Hardy to stop writing novels.

Nevertheless, he did not withdraw altogether, continuing to write in other forms, he produced a number of volumes of poetry, including "drama in verse", short stories and one play.

His initial career was as an architect, which took him to London. He returned to Dorset after five years, much of this part of his architectural work involving restoration of churches.

While I resist writing a blurb about a life and effort that spanned almost one hundred years, I will mention a few trends. Thomas Hardy was an admirer of Darwin, and held the belief that the human condition was much more humble than had been considered by his contemporaries. He believed that if God did think of humankind, he saw it as a failure. His emphasis on nature’s laws earned him little respect from critics. His earthy heroine Jude the Obscure was called "Jude the Obscene" by critics, who abhorred the unpopular fatalistic tone of the novel.

Perhaps the most telling story about his life is his death. After Thomas Hardy died, his heart was cut out and sent to his wife. As if horror needed to be added to the situation, when she left it out, his dog found it and ate it.

Hardy was also a lexicographer, in a manner appropriate to this site. When an editor complained of Hardy's use of the non-word "smalled" in one of his manuscripts, he invited the editor to look it up in the dictionary -- where the editor found "the river smalled to its source, Thomas Hardy"

The Woodlanders, Penguin Books 1983, page 406

"Moreover, a subtlist194 in emotions, he cultivated as under glasses strange and mournful pleasures that he would not willingly let die just at present."


194 'One who is addicted to subtleties' (O.E.D). The only example of its use given by the O.E.D is that of Hardy here.

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