Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2 - Thomas Hardy

Novelist and poet Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840, in Dorset in southwest England. The son of a stonemason, he trained as an architect and worked in London, where he was acutely conscious of class divisions and social inferiority. He returned to Dorset and in 1867 finished a novel that he later destroyed. But he became successful with Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), which introduced his native region as the semi-fictional “Wessex.” Over the next two decades he wrote 10 more “Victorian realist” novels, including Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895), which were sharply criticized for their pessimism and focus on sex. The attacks led him to abandon fiction. Instead, he published eight collections of poetry, including Wessex Poems (1898) and his Poems of 1912-1913 that intensely mourned his wife’s death. Hardy’s seemingly “traditional” poetry reflects a deep fatalism, rejection of a Victorian belief in a benevolent God, and a lyrical yet pessimistic view of the human condition.

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