Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

Novelist and poet Thomas Hardy is typically associated with his Wessex landscape.
Novelist and poet Thomas Hardy is typically associated with his Wessex landscape.

Thomas Hardy, how we met

I was first introduced to the works of Thomas Hardy at school. We had to study him for our English literature exam.  My heart sank when the teacher handed me Far From The Madding Crowd to read in the holidays. Like every teenager I reluctantly started to read, and then I turned the pages quicker and quicker. Then I went to the library and borrowed Tess of the d’Urbervilles and a selection of his poetry. Over the years I have read most of Hardy’s books and poetry and enjoyed each one. I thought I would share my favorites here with you.

 

Far From the Madding Crowd

Far From The Madding Crowd

The plot of Far from the Madding Crowd centers on Bathsheba Everdene, and the three men in her life. The first one is a poor sheep farmer, Gabriel Oak, who loses his flock in a tragedy and ends up working as an employee on Bathsheba's farm. He is the rock in Bathsheba’s life. The next man is farmer Boldwood who is a respectable but boring owner of a neighboring farm who takes Bathsheba's flirtations too seriously. When she sends him a valentine’s card in fun, he becomes obsessed by her and slowly looses his mind. The third is Sergeant Troy, a dashing army sergeant who treats her like just another of his conquests. Early in the novel he is involved with Fanny Robin and gets her pregnant. At first, he plans to marry her, but there is a mix up about which church to meet and after that he refuses to marry her, and her fate is sealed. This book explores many issues. The contrast in the roles of women in the late 19th century/early 20th century. Bathsheba strong willed and a self sufficient farmer, while Fanny Robins was poor and week willed. It explores how these women were seen by society of that time. The impact a seemingly small event can have. The valentines’ card and Fanny going to the wrong church has huge repercussions, which Hardy exploits to the maxi mine. Set in Hardy’s mythical Wessex the country life is the backdrop to the events in this novel.

 

Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Tess of the d’Urbervilles is a much darker novel, but with some similar themes to far from the Madding crowd. The central character is a woman and explores her relationships with the men in her life; her father, John Durbeyfield, Alex d’Urberville, a wealthy relation and the cleric Angel Clare.  The setting again is in Wessex and the rural life shadows the emotions of the story. Tess of the d’Urbervilles explores the importance of social class in nineteenth-century England, and a woman’s role in it. There is a lot injustice in this novel, and a feeling of how unfair the world can be. The role of religion is a theme running through the story and how even this can be used as a punishment. The fact that Tess dies at Stonehenge, a pagan site, says a lot of how religion has let down poor Tess.

Thomas Hardy's Darkling Thrush

During wind and rain

My Favorite poem

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate

When Frost was spectre-grey,
 
And Winter's dregs made desolate

The weakening eye of day.

The tangled bine-stems scored the sky     
Like strings of broken lyres,

And all mankind that haunted nigh

Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be

The Century's corpse outleant,      
His crypt the cloudy canopy,

The wind his death-lament.

The ancient pulse of germ and birth

Was shrunken hard and dry,

And every spirit upon earth     
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among

The bleak twigs overhead

In a full-hearted evensong

Of joy illimited;      An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,

In blast-beruffled plume,

Had chosen thus to fling his soul

Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings     
Of such ecstatic sound

Was written on terrestrial things

Afar or nigh around,

That I could think there trembled through

His happy good-night air     30

Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew

And I was unaware.

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Comments 20 comments

paul from china 5 years ago

i am chinese colledge student majoring in English ,i intend to write an comment upon hardy ,who can give me a helping hand ,many thanks for u here!my mail 793628176@qq.com .beside i am fond hardys work too.


paul 5 years ago

i like the sentenc in Tess 'it drizzles between rain and snow'.how vivid it is to discribe the weather expierence ! i am a chinese ,my mail 793628176@qq.com anyone can contact me and make friendswith me.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

I wish I hadn't read Thomas Hardy,just so I could read his work again. Thanks for the comment


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

Interesting article, not too familiar with Thomas Hardy, however, his name rings a bell from somewhere in me; maybe from high school. A good read.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks for the comment, I am sure You will enjoy Thomas Hardy's books they are very enjoyable.


Thai Women Advice profile image

Thai Women Advice 6 years ago from THAILAND

Hi Jay Jay how are you Thanks for the encouraging words.I enjoyed your Thomas Hardy,apart from seeing the Movie with Ternce Stamp and Julie Christie (that dates me) I do not know a lot about Hardy.But I will now rectify this!!


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks World Traveler for the comment and may I recommend the next time you have some spare time that you snuggle up with a Hardy novel, I am sure you will enjoy it.

Thanks Julie


World-Traveler profile image

World-Traveler 6 years ago from USA

Thomas Hardy sounds like an amazing man. Thank you for introducing his bio to me.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks ethel, Thomas Hardy is certainly one of the greats


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Terrific author


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thank you for the comments ladyjane1 and Valery, It's nice to know that people still enjoy Thomas Hardy


valery elias profile image

valery elias 6 years ago

Very nice information about the works of Thomas Hardy. Now I will have to read them!


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Very well done jayjay40.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks Trish M, yes link away, thanks for dropping by


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 6 years ago from The English Midlands

Very interesting hub.

I enjoy Hardy's work too.

I hope that it will be ok, if I link this to one of my hubs?

'A Wife in London' and 'Drummer Hodge' by Thomas Hardy

http://hubpages.com/literature/A-Wife-in-London-Th...


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks everyone for your comments, It's great to know that Thomas Hardy is still popular.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Like you, I began reading Hardy as an assignment, but soon became a great fan. What deep insight he had into the world he inhabited. Thanks for reminding me of his works. I now have the taste to reread Tess. Off to the library I go.


scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 6 years ago from South Wales

Who else could write like that? The darkling thrush, a masterpiece. I read a lot of his works when at sea. Still love them. well done and thank you.


thevoice profile image

thevoice 6 years ago from carthage ill

great hardy hub thanks


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

A great review of Thomas Hardy's work. Thank you.

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