Thomas Hardy was born on \(2nd\) June \(1840\) in Dorset, England. He belonged to the Victorian age of English Literature and was a British poet. He wrote in between \(1820\) and \(1914\), when Britain was undergoing a serious change in its culture and approach to life. The Victorian era, in which he wrote predominantly, was marked by the reign of Queen Victoria in Great Britain. During this period, Britain transformed into a more rural industrial place, moving away from the agricultural urban lifestyle. As far as Literature was concerned, it was not aimed at an elite upper class audience, unlike the Romantic age that preceded it. The reason for this was the invention of the printing press by Gutenburg that made publications of books cheaper and affordable. Railroads were established, which ensured the distribution of books to a large number of audiences.
Hardy was interested in the theatre from the \(1860s\) and even went on to form a group named "Hardy Boys". He wrote his first book, "The Poor man and the Lady", which was criticised for being too revolutionary for the time. He could not find a publisher and therefore had to abandon the manuscript. He wrote anonymously for a long time until he published his most famous novel "Far from the Madding Crowd" which went on to become his first well reached novel. It was in this novel, that he coined a new term called 'Wessex', to denote a fictional place in Britain which was ruled by early Saxons. He later published some of the best novels in the Victorian era, such as "The Mayor of Casterbridge", "Jude the Obscure" and "Tess of the D'urbervilles". He was heavily criticised for this portrayal of women in "Tess of the D'urbervilles".
Hardy often wrote about the Victorian beliefs on class, education and society and branded them as conservative. He was totally devastated by the first world war and the destructive nature of humans. It was in \(1898\), that Hardy leaned towards poetry with the publication of his first poetry collection, "Wessex Poetry", which had poems that were written over thirty years. He also wrote war poems to express his disgust towards man made calamities. Some of his poems were dramatic monologues, a form of poetry in which the speaker addresses an invisible character and brings out his intense emotions.
Famous works of Thomas Hardy:
- Far from the Madding Crowd
- The Mayor of Casterbridge
- Jude the Obscure
- Tess of the D'urbervilles
- Wessex Poetry
- Poems of the Past and the Present
- The Woodlanders
- Under the Greenwood Tree