Monday, 11 January 2010

On this day...

English novelist Thomas Hardy died in 1928, at the age of 87. Born in Dorchester, or what he might term Casterbridge,  Hardy showed great academic potential at a young age, yet was denied higher education due to a lack of familial wealth. Instead he gained an apprenticeship as an architect, winning prizes from institutions such as the Royal Institute of British Architects.Yet five years later, with his health in decline, he decided to concentrate solely on his writings, beginning one of the most successful literary careers in British history. The works that followed have become almost synonymous with tradegy; striking a curious mix of Hardy's agnosticism and consequential beliefs in fate, with his beloved countryside and fictional county of 'Wessex'. After the popularity of 'Far From the Madding Crowd' and 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' came the scandal that surrounded 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' and 'Jude the Obscure'; the latter's reception resulting in his withdrawal from prose writing. His subsequent poetry, was much influenced by his first wife Emma Gifford, whose rocky relationship was apparently negated and forgotten with her death. Portraying social concepts beyond his era, he influenced later writers D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf.


  1. In all his novels he is such a champion of women - was he the first womens libber novelist, do you think?

  2. You do obviously get the Brontes in the 1840s, who provide strong female characters, but this is to be expected as they are female writers!

    He is definitely in and amongst the first male novelists who champion women. Nearly all his protagonists are women, and he does seem to provide a strong social critque. The cause is later taken up by writers such as Shaw, Ibsen e.t.c :-)