Thomas Hardy, 1840 - 1928

portrait of Thomas Hardy
Bain News Service photo (Ca. 1910-1915)
Thomas Hardy signature

Born: 2 June 1840, Stinsford, Dorchester, Dorset, England, UK
Died: 11 January 1928, Dorchester, Dorset, England, UK

Hardy assisted his stonemason father as a youth so it was natural that at sixteen he apprenticed to a local architect, he continued to study and work that trade after moving to London in 1862. His first novel was never published, the next two were published anonymously, and in 1873 A Pair of Blue Eyes was published under his own name. It was the first "cliffhanger" in literary history: At the end of one serialized installment, a character was left actually hanging from a cliff. The next year he created the fictional area "Wessex" in Far from the Madding Crowd and had enough success to give up architecture for writing. Well known today for that and Tess of the d'Urbervilles he published a total of fourteen novels and three volumes of short stories, but his later work so offended prudish Victorians that he abandoned the novel in 1895. He had always considered himself a poet who wrote novels for the money so the opportunity to devote himself to poetry was probably not unwelcome. Hardy fell ill with pleurisy and died within the month. A conflict between his family and his executor led to two simultaneous funerals; his family buried his heart with his first wife at Stinsford, his executor interred his ashes in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey.

Biography from Wikipedia and Authors' Calendar

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