Thomas Hardy Additional Biography

Biography

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840, in a thatched-roof cottage at Higher Bockhampton, a village near the small city of Dorchester in the southern shire of Dorset—an area that was known as Wessex in ancient times and that has many historical associations with the Druids, the Celts, and the Romans. Hardy’s father, a music-loving building contractor, was ambitious for young Thomas; thus, after he completed his education through grammar school, Hardy was apprenticed at age sixteen to an architect. Whatever of his education did not pertain to his vocation he had to pick up on his own, and it was in this fashion that he continued to study Latin and Greek. He also began writing poetry during his late teens, imitating the style and substance of the dialect verses of the Reverend William Barnes, a local curate and poetaster.

Hardy’s apprenticeship under the ecclesiastical architect John Hicks lasted until 1862, after which he went up to London at the age of twenty-one to study architecture further. Under the tutelage of John Blomfield, Hardy became proficient enough in his professional life to win a prize given by the Royal Institute of British Architects for an essay on the use of ancient building materials in modern architecture. Hardy’s expository talent was further demonstrated in a sketch, “How I Built Myself a House,” in Chamber’s Journal. During this period, Hardy’s life was somewhat inchoate. He began at this time, however, to become more deeply interested in literature, writing stories as well as poetry and availing himself of the cultural opportunities London provided. He used his free time to visit the British Museum and the art galleries and spent his evenings at King’s College, studying French. The routine of work and study and the rigors of urban life placed a strain on Hardy’s health, which had been delicate since his childhood, and after five years, he sought rustication, returning to Bockhampton to recover. While he was at home and employed only part-time with church restorations, he began to write his first novel, “The Poor Man and the Lady.” He sent the manuscript to a publisher, but it was rejected because the story lacked plot and suspense. Despite this disappointment,...

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Biography

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Thomas Hardy was born and reared in the Dorsetshire countryside to which he was to return constantly for the settings of many of his novels, stories, and poems. His family encouraged his reading, and he was educated at local schools. He left formal schooling at sixteen to become an architect’s apprentice, although he continued to read and teach himself. In 1862, he went to London to work in an architect’s office but returned to Dorsetshire in 1867 to begin a career as a writer. Working part-time with a local architect, he produced his first novels, but he soon took up writing full-time. In 1874, he married Emma Lavinia Gifford. Although their marriage was not entirely happy, it lasted until Emma’s death in 1912. He was married again, to Florence Emily Dugdale, in 1914, a time during which Hardy was successful but controversial as a novelist. Following critical outcries over what some considered obscenity of both Tess of the D’Urbervilles and especially Jude the Obscure in 1895, he turned almost exclusively to poetry, an endeavor in which he was also successful. On his seventieth birthday, he received the Order of Merit. He died in Dorsetshire at the age of eighty-seven.

Biography

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Thomas Hardy was born in the small hamlet of Higher Bockhampton in Stinsford parish on June 2, 1840. His father was a master mason, content with his low social status and at home in his rural surroundings. His mother, however, whom Hardy once called “a born bookworm,” made Hardy aware of his low social status and encouraged his education. John Hicks, a friend of Hardy’s father and a Dorchester architect, took the boy on as a pupil at the age of sixteen. The well-known poet William Barnes had a school next door to Hicks’s office, and Hardy developed an influential friendship with the older man that remained with him. Another early influence on the young Hardy was Horace Moule, a classical scholar with a Cambridge education who was an essayist and reviewer. Moule introduced Hardy to intellectual conversation about Greek literature as well as contemporary issues; it was at Moule’s suggestion that Hardy read John Stuart Mill as well as the infamous broad-church volume of essays on religion Essays and Reviews (1860), both of which contributed to the undermining of Hardy’s simple religious faith.

Hardy was twenty-two years old when he went to London to pursue his architectural training. By that time he also entertained literary ambitions and had begun writing poetry. The publication of Algernon Charles Swinburne’s Poems and Ballads in 1866 so influenced Hardy that he began a two-year period of intensive study and experimentation in writing poetry; none of the many poems he sent out was accepted, however, and he returned to Bockhampton in 1867. It was at this point that Hardy decided to turn to writing fiction. In his old age, he wrote in a letter that he never wanted to write novels at all, but that circumstances compelled him to turn them out.

Hardy’s first fictional effort, “The Poor Man and the Lady,” based on the...

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Biography

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840, in a rambling, seven-room cottage in Higher Bockhampton, on the edge of Bockhampton Heath, near Dorchester. He was the eldest of four children, with a sister, Mary, born in 1841, a brother, Henry, in 1851, and a sister, Kate, in 1856. His father, also named Thomas, was a master builder and mason with a love of church music and violin playing, and his mother Jemima (née Hand) Hardy was a handsome, energetic woman of country stock who loved books and reading. At birth, their first child was so frail that he was supposed dead; but an attending nurse rescued the baby, and his mother and aunt nursed him back to health, although Thomas remained a small, delicate child, physically immature in appearance until well into adulthood. Despite his frail appearance, Thomas was a vigorous, active boy who relished village life and freely roamed the heath behind his home. As a child, he so enjoyed the country dance tunes and melodies his father played that he was given a toy accordion at the age of four and was taught to play the fiddle as soon as he could finger the strings. The Church of England service strongly moved him and sometimes on wet Sunday mornings he would enact the service at home, wrapping himself in a tablecloth and reading the morning prayer to his cousin and grandmother, who pretended to be the congregation.

At the age of eight, Hardy began his schooling at the local school in Bockhampton, recently established by the lady of the manor. The boy was a quick pupil, and after a year, he was transferred to Isaac Last’s Nonconformist Latin School near Bockhampton. There he continued until the age of sixteen, when he was apprenticed to the ecclesiastical architect John Hicks. During this time, he played at country dances with his father and uncle and taught Sunday school at the local parish. After his formal schooling ended, Hardy continued to study Latin and Greek with his fellow apprentices. Hardy also began writing verses about this time, being especially impressed with the regional dialect poetry of the Reverend William Barnes, a Dorset poet. After continuing his apprenticeship in church architecture for almost six years, Hardy finally left Bockhampton for London at the age of twenty-one.

In the spring of 1862, Hardy arrived in London with two letters of introduction in his pocket, having decided to continue his study of architecture there. Through good fortune, he found temporary work with a London friend of Hicks, who was able to recommend Hardy to the noted ecclesiastical architect John Blomfield, with whom Hardy began work as an assistant in the drawing-office. Hardy persevered in his architectural training, and within a year he won a prize offered by the Royal Institute of British Architects for his essay on the uses of glazed bricks and terra cotta in modern architecture. Blomfield’s office was within walking distance of the National Gallery, and Hardy soon began spending his lunch hours there, studying one painting carefully each day. He especially admired the landscapes of J. M. W. Turner and the Flemish masters.

Work was light under Blomfield, and young Hardy found time to write his first sketch, “How I Built Myself a House,” which he published in Chambers’s Journal in 1865. He also continued writing poetry during this time, although little of his juvenilia has survived. In the evenings, he continued his education at King’s...

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Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

ph_0111201610-Hardy.jpg Thomas Hardy Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Thomas Hardy was born in the small village of Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, England, on June 2, 1840. Although his father, a mason, was satisfied with his rural life, his mother encouraged Hardy to get an education and raise his social status. Hardy’s first effort to do so was to become the student of Dorchester architect John Hicks. In a fateful accident, the kind of accident that Hardy would later make part of the cornerstone of his fiction, the well-known poet William Barnes had a school next door to Hicks’s office. The older poet and the young apprentice became friends, and Barnes became one of the strongest influences on Hardy. Another important influence on Hardy’s early life was his friendship with Horace Moule, a...

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Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Thomas Hardy is something of an anomaly in nineteenth century literature. On one hand, there is something excessively old-fashioned and melodramatic about his fiction; on the other hand, there is also something powerfully symbolic about such characters as Eustacia, Tess, and Jude, who find themselves trapped in a hopeless world not of their own making, a world that seems to offer no meaning and value, and a world against which they quite rightfully rebel, even though such rebellion inevitably ends in defeat.

Hardy is one of the two most widely read and discussed English novelists of the nineteenth century, second only to Charles Dickens as the British writer most representative of the period and most controversial and worthy of study. Every year, new books are published on Hardy that attempt to lay bare the secret of his thought, his art, and, indeed, his continuing power. Hardy was a great existential humanist. His hope for the world was that it would realize that creeds and conventions that presuppose a God-centered origin of value were baseless. His hope was that men and women would loosen themselves from those foolish creeds and become aware of their freedom to create their own human value system. If people would only realize, Hardy reasoned, that all are equally alone and without hope for divine help, then perhaps they would also realize that it is the height of absurdity for such lost and isolated creatures to fight among themselves. At once old-fashioned and modern, Hardy is perhaps the single most important transitional figure between the old world of unity and faith and the new world of fragmentation and doubt.

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

About three miles east of Dorchester, in Dorset, England, in a thatched-roof cottage that still stands at one end of the hamlet known as Higher Bockhampton, Thomas Hardy was born in 1840. The place of his birth is important, for it is the center of a region he learned to know and love—a region he called “Wessex” and about which he wrote in all his books.

The first of these books was published in 1871 when Hardy, nearly thirty-one years old, was still lacking in literary training and experience. His entire schooling had been confined to eight years between the ages of eight and sixteen. For five years he had worked as an apprentice in the drafting office of a Dorchester architect, John Hicks. When Hardy was...

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Biography

(Novels for Students)

Thomas Hardy was born in Higher Bockhampton, in Dorsetshire, England, on July 2, 1840. His father and grandfather were master masons, and it...

(The entire section is 404 words.)

Biography

(Novels for Students)

Thomas Hardy was born June 2, 1840, in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, England, and he died there eighty-eight years later. His major novels,...

(The entire section is 354 words.)

Biography

(Poetry for Students)

Thomas Hardy Published by Gale Cengage

Poet and novelist Thomas Hardy was born in the third year of Queen Victoria’s reign on June 2, 1840, in...

(The entire section is 513 words.)

Biography

(Novels for Students)

Thomas Hardy was born June 2, 1840, in a village near Dorchester in the southwestern region of England that would become the setting for his novels. His father, Thomas, was a builder and mason; his mother, Jemima Hand, was a cook.

After attending schools in his village, Bockhampton, and in Dorchester, Hardy was apprenticed at age sixteen to his father’s employer, an architect. While learning architecture, Hardy studied the classics with a university-educated tutor named Horace Moule. In 1862, Hardy moved to London, where he worked as an assistant architect, read widely, and began writing. Poems that he submitted to periodicals were rejected, but an article, “How I Built Myself a House,” was published.

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(The entire section is 461 words.)

Biography

(Novels for Students)

Thomas Hardy was bom in 1840 in a small village in Dorset, an area of southern England steeped in history. One of the local landmarks, Corfe...

(The entire section is 491 words.)