Hardy, Thomas. (1840 - 1928).
W o r k
< Darwinism: displaces humankind from its assumption of superiority, challenges the idea of a benevolent Creator and the comforting Providence
< religion: his fictional world lacks the comfortable shapes of the old theology, the Church of England still firmly rooted in a rural society x but: incapable of interpreting the grand but discomforting idea of the universe
< history: fascinated by the slow and painful progress of human history, perceives history, geology, geography, and astronomy as macrocosmic ramifications of the human microcosm
- sceptical, agnostic, and pessimistic: his work manifest the immense process of evolution advancing regardless of human bane and human blessing
F i c t i o n :
Far From the Madding Crowd (1874):
- introduces Wessex, his favourite setting, modelled on his native Dorset
- a detailed portrayal of the endangered way of rural life
The Trumpet Major (1880):
- one of the most carefully located of his novels, set in the Napoleonic era
- a delicate study of characters choosing and making the wrong choices
The Return of the Native (1878):
- set in Wessex, in the windswept upland called Egdon Heath
- concerned with the educated protagonist's return to the heath
The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886):
- follows the course of one man's character against the background of a rural agricultural community drastically changing into a modern city
Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895):
- his fictional masterpieces and most complex novels, concerned with characters wrenched from their roots and communities
- interfuses literary and biblical citation, scientific reference, philosophical speculation, superstitious hints, and suggestions of genetic conditioning
- presents strong and determined female characters
P o e t r y :
- prevails a melancholy, reflexive, and sometimes ironic mood
Satires of Circumstance, Lyrics and Reveries (1914):
- mostly elegiac poems devoted to the memory of his first wife
“Under the Waterfall”:
- the speaker recalls the memory of lovers picnicking beside a waterfall and losing a wineglass in the water: the glass remained intact under the waterfall x but: the pledges once made in it have since been shattered
“The Darkling Thrush”:
- set in an impersonal landscape where ‘every spirit upon earth’ seems to share a lack of fervour with the speaker x except the thrush singing lustily of ‘Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew / And I was unaware’
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorThomas Hardy. (1840 - 1928). British.
WorkNovelist. Poet. Author of Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895).
GenresLate Victorian fiction and poetry. Scepticism. Darwinism. History. Regionalism.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"'Justice' was done, and the President of the Immortals (in Aeschylean phrase) had ended his sport with Tess. And the d'Urberville knights and dames slept on in their tombs unknowing."
From the conclusion ofTess of the D'Urbervilles (1891).