Hardy by Herbert Rose Barraud, 1889
2 June 1840|
Stinsford, Dorset, England
|Died||11 January 1928
Dorchester, Dorset, England
|Occupation||Novelist, poet, and short story writer|
|Alma mater||King's College London|
|Literary movement||Naturalism, Victorian literature|
|Notable works||Tess of the d'Urbervilles,
Far from the Madding Crowd,
The Mayor of Casterbridge,
Jude the Obscure
Thomas Hardy, OM (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth. He was highly critical of much in Victorian society, especially on the declining status of rural people in Britain, such as those from his native South West England.
While Hardy wrote poetry throughout his life and regarded himself primarily as a poet, his first collection was not published until 1898. Initially, therefore, he gained fame as the author of such novels as Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895). During his lifetime, Hardy's poetry was acclaimed by younger poets (particularly the Georgians) who viewed him as a mentor. After his death his poems were lauded by Ezra Pound, W. H. Auden and Philip Larkin.
Many of his novels concern tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances, and they are often set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex; initially based on the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Hardy's Wessex eventually came to include the counties of Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Hampshire and much of Berkshire, in southwest and south central England. Two of his novels, Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd, were listed in the top 50 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.
Life and career
Thomas Hardy was born on 2 June 1840 in Higher Bockhampton (then Upper Bockhampton), a hamlet in the parish of Stinsford to the east of Dorchester in Dorset, England, where his father Thomas (1811–1892) worked as a stonemason and local builder, and married his mother Jemima (née Hand; 1813–1904) in Beaminster, towards the end of 1839. Jemima was well-read, and she educated Thomas until he went to his first school at Bockhampton at the age of eight. For several years he attended Mr. Last's Academy for Young Gentlemen in Dorchester, where he learned Latin and demonstrated academic potential. Because Hardy's family lacked the means for a university education, his formal education ended at the age of sixteen, when he became apprenticed to James Hicks, a local architect.
Hardy trained as an architect in Dorchester before moving to London in 1862; there he enrolled as a student at King's College London. He won prizes from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architectural Association. He joined Arthur Blomfield's practice as assistant architect in April 1862 and worked with Blomfield on All Saints' parish church in Windsor, Berkshire in 1862–64. A reredos, possibly designed by Hardy, was discovered behind panelling at All Saints' in August 2016. In the mid-1860s, Hardy was in charge of the excavation of part of the graveyard of St Pancras Old Church prior to its destruction when the Midland Railway was extended to a new terminus at St Pancras.
Hardy never felt at home in London, because he was acutely conscious of class divisions and his social inferiority. During this time he became interested in social reform and the works of John Stuart Mill. He was also introduced by his Dorset friend Horace Moule to the works of Charles Fourier and Auguste Comte. After five years, concerned about his health, he returned to Dorset, settling in Weymouth, and decided to dedicate himself to writing.
In 1870, while on an architectural mission to restore the parish church of St Juliot in Cornwall, Hardy met and fell in love with Emma Gifford, whom he married in Kensington in the autumn of 1874. In 1885 Thomas and his wife moved into Max Gate, a house designed by Hardy and built by his brother. Although they later became estranged, Emma's subsequent death in 1912 had a traumatic effect on him and after her death, Hardy made a trip to Cornwall to revisit places linked with their courtship; his Poems 1912–13 reflect upon her death. In 1914, Hardy married his secretary Florence Emily Dugdale, who was 39 years his junior. However, he remained preoccupied with his first wife's death and tried to overcome his remorse by writing poetry. In 1910, Hardy had been awarded the Order of Merit and was also for the first time nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. He would be nominated for the prize eleven years later.
Hardy became ill with pleurisy in December 1927 and died at Max Gate just after 9 pm on 11 January 1928, having dictated his final poem to his wife on his deathbed; the cause of death was cited, on his death certificate, as "cardiac syncope", with "old age" given as a contributory factor. His funeral was on 16 January at Westminster Abbey, and it proved a controversial occasion because Hardy had wished for his body to be interred at Stinsford in the same grave as his first wife, Emma. His family and friends concurred; however, his executor, Sir Sydney Carlyle Cockerell, insisted that he be placed in the abbey's famous Poets' Corner. A compromise was reached whereby his heart was buried at Stinsford with Emma, and his ashes in Poets' Corner. Hardy's estate at death was valued at £95,418.
Shortly after Hardy's death, the executors of his estate burnt his letters and notebooks, but twelve documents survived, one of them containing notes and extracts of newspaper stories from the 1820s, and research into these has provided insight into how Hardy used them in his works. In the year of his death Mrs Hardy published The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, 1841–1891, compiled largely from contemporary notes, letters, diaries, and biographical memoranda, as well as from oral information in conversations extending over many years.
Hardy's work was admired by many younger writers, including D. H. Lawrence, John Cowper Powys, and Virginia Woolf. In his autobiography Goodbye to All That (1929), Robert Graves recalls meeting Hardy in Dorset in the early 1920s and how Hardy received him and his new wife warmly, and was encouraging about his work.
Hardy's first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, finished by 1867, failed to find a publisher. He then showed it to his mentor and friend, the Victorian poet and novelist, George Meredith, who felt that The Poor Man and the Lady would be too politically controversial and might damage Hardy's ability to publish in the future. So Hardy followed his advice and he did not try further to publish it. He subsequently destroyed the manuscript, but used some of the ideas in his later work.
After he abandoned his first novel, Hardy wrote two new ones that he hoped would have more commercial appeal, Desperate Remedies (1871) and Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), both of which were published anonymously; it was while working on the latter that he met Emma Gifford, who would become his wife. In 1873 A Pair of Blue Eyes, a novel drawing on Hardy's courtship of Emma, was published under his own name. The term "cliffhanger" is considered to have originated with the serialised version of this story (which was published in Tinsley's Magazine between September 1872 and July 1873) in which Henry Knight, one of the protagonists, is left literally hanging off a cliff.
In his next novel Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), Hardy first introduced the idea of calling the region in the west of England, where his novels are set, Wessex. Wessex had been the name of an early Saxon kingdom, in approximately the same part of England. Far from the Madding Crowd was successful enough for Hardy to give up architectural work and pursue a literary career. Over the next twenty-five years Hardy produced ten more novels.
Subsequently, the Hardys moved from London to Yeovil, and then to Sturminster Newton, where he wrote The Return of the Native (1878). Hardy published Two on a Tower in 1882, a romance story set in the world of astronomy. Then in 1885, they moved for the last time, to Max Gate, a house outside Dorchester designed by Hardy and built by his brother. There he wrote The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), and Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), the last of which attracted criticism for its sympathetic portrayal of a "fallen woman" and was initially refused publication. Its subtitle, A Pure Woman: Faithfully Presented, was intended to raise the eyebrows of the Victorian middle classes.
Jude the Obscure, published in 1895, met with an even stronger negative response from the Victorian public because of its controversial treatment of sex, religion and marriage. Furthermore, its apparent attack on the institution of marriage caused further strain on Hardy's already difficult marriage because Emma Hardy was concerned that Jude the Obscure would be read as autobiographical. Some booksellers sold the novel in brown paper bags, and the Bishop of Wakefield, Walsham How, is reputed to have burnt his copy. In his postscript of 1912, Hardy humorously referred to this incident as part of the career of the book: "After these [hostile] verdicts from the press its next misfortune was to be burnt by a bishop – probably in his despair at not being able to burn me". Despite this, Hardy had become a celebrity by the 1900s, but some argue that he gave up writing novels because of the criticism of both Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. The Well-Beloved, first serialised in 1892, was published in 1897.
Considered a Victorian realist, Hardy examines the social constraints on the lives of those living in Victorian England, and criticises those beliefs, especially those relating to marriage, education and religion, that limited people's lives and caused unhappiness. Such unhappiness, and the suffering it brings, is seen by poet Philip Larkin as central in Hardy's works:
- "What is the intensely maturing experience of which Hardy's modern man is most sensible? In my view it is suffering, or sadness, and extended consideration of the centrality of suffering in Hardy's work should be the first duty of the true critic for which the work is still waiting [. . .] Any approach to his work, as to any writer's work, must seek first of all to determine what element is peculiarly his, which imaginative note he strikes most plangently, and to deny that in this case it is the sometimes gentle, sometimes ironic, sometimes bitter but always passive apprehension of suffering is, I think, wrong-headed."
In Two on a Tower, for example, Hardy takes a stand against these rules of society with a story of love that crosses the boundaries of class. The reader is forced to reconsider the conventions set up by society for the relationships between women and men. Nineteenth-century society had conventions, which were enforced. In this novel Swithin St Cleeve's idealism pits him against such contemporary social constraints.
- "In a novel structured around contrasts, the main opposition is between Swithin St Cleeve and Lady Viviette Constantine, who are presented as binary figures in a series of ways: aristocratic and lower class, youthful and mature, single and married, fair and dark, religious and agnostic...she [Lady Viviette Constantine] is also deeply conventional, absurdly wishing to conceal their marriage until Swithin has achieved social status through his scientific work, which gives rise to uncontrolled ironies and tragic-comic misunderstandings."
Fate or chance is another important theme. Hardy's characters often encounter crossroads on a journey, a junction that offers alternative physical destinations but which is also symbolic of a point of opportunity and transition, further suggesting that fate is at work. Far From the Madding Crowd is an example of a novel in which chance has a major role: "Had Bathsheba not sent the valentine, had Fanny not missed her wedding, for example, the story would have taken an entirely different path." Indeed, Hardy's main characters often seem to be held in fate's overwhelming grip.
For online poems, see "Poetry collections" below.
In 1898 Hardy published his first volume of poetry, Wessex Poems, a collection of poems written over 30 years. While some suggest that Hardy gave up writing novels following the harsh criticism of Jude the Obscure in 1896, the poet C. H. Sisson calls this "hypothesis" "superficial and absurd". In the twentieth century Hardy published only poetry.
Thomas Hardy wrote in a great variety of poetic forms including lyrics, ballads, satire, dramatic monologues, and dialogue, as well as a three-volume epic closet drama The Dynasts (1904–08), and though in some ways a very traditional poet, because he was influenced by folksong and ballads, he "was never conventional," and "persistently experiment[ed] with different, often invented, stanza forms and metres, and made use of "rough-hewn rhythms and colloquial diction".
Hardy wrote a number of significant war poems that relate to both the Boer Wars and World War I, including "Drummer Hodge", "In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations'", and "The Man He Killed"; his work had a profound influence on other war poets such as Rupert Brooke and Siegfried Sassoon. Hardy in these poems often used the viewpoint of ordinary soldiers and their colloquial speech. A theme in the Wessex Poems is the long shadow that the Napoleonic Wars cast over the nineteenth century, as seen, for example, in "The Sergeant's Song" and "Leipzig". The Napoleonic War is the subject of The Dynasts.
Some of Hardy's most famous poems are from "Poems of 1912–13", part of Satires of Circumstance (1914), written following the death of his wife Emma in 1912. They had been estranged for twenty years and these lyric poems express deeply felt "regret and remorse". Poems like “After a Journey,” “The Voice,” and others from this collection "are by general consent regarded as the peak of his poetic achievement". In a recent biography on Hardy, Claire Tomalin argues that Hardy became a truly great English poet after the death of his first wife, Emma, beginning with these elegies, which she describes as among "the finest and strangest celebrations of the dead in English poetry."
Many of Hardy's poems deal with themes of disappointment in love and life, and "the perversity of fate", but the best of them present these themes with "a carefully controlled elegiac feeling". Irony is also an important element in a number of Hardy's poems, including "The Man he Killed" and "Are You Digging on My Grave". A few of Hardy's poems, such as "The Blinded Bird", a melancholy polemic against the sport of vinkenzetting, reflect his firm stance against animal cruelty, exhibited also in his antivivisectionist views and his membership in The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
A number of notable English composers, including Gerald Finzi, Benjamin Britten, and Gustav Holst, set poems by Hardy to music. Holst also wrote the orchestral tone poem Egdon Heath: A Homage to Thomas Hardy in 1927.
Although his poems were initially not as well received as his novels had been, Hardy is now recognised as one of the greatest twentieth-century poets, and his verse has had a profound influence on later writers, including Robert Frost, W. H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, and, most notably Philip Larkin. Larkin included twenty-seven poems by Hardy compared with only nine by T. S. Eliot in his edition of the Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse in 1973. There were also fewer poems by W. B. Yeats.
Hardy's family was Anglican, but not especially devout. He was baptised at the age of five weeks and attended church, where his father and uncle contributed to music. However, he did not attend the local Church of England school, instead being sent to Mr Last's school, three miles away. As a young adult, he befriended Henry R. Bastow (a Plymouth Brethren man), who also worked as a pupil architect, and who was preparing for adult baptism in the Baptist Church. Hardy flirted with conversion, but decided against it. Bastow went to Australia and maintained a long correspondence with Hardy, but eventually Hardy tired of these exchanges and the correspondence ceased. This concluded Hardy's links with the Baptists.
The irony and struggles of life, coupled with his naturally curious mind, led him to question the traditional Christian view of God:
- The Christian God – the external personality – has been replaced by the intelligence of the First Cause...the replacement of the old concept of God as all-powerful by a new concept of universal consciousness. The 'tribal god, man-shaped, fiery-faced and tyrannous' is replaced by the 'unconscious will of the Universe' which progressively grows aware of itself and 'ultimately, it is to be hoped, sympathetic'.
Scholars have debated Hardy's religious leanings for years, often unable to reach a consensus. However, Hardy's religious life seems to have mixed agnosticism, deism, and spiritism. Once, when asked in correspondence by a clergyman, Dr A. B. Grosart, about the question of reconciling the horrors of human and animal life with "the absolute goodness and non-limitation of God", Hardy replied,
- Mr. Hardy regrets that he is unable to offer any hypothesis which would reconcile the existence of such evils as Dr. Grosart describes with the idea of omnipotent goodness. Perhaps Dr. Grosart might be helped to a provisional view of the universe by the recently published Life of Darwin and the works of Herbert Spencer and other agnostics.
Hardy frequently conceived of, and wrote about, supernatural forces, particularly those that control the universe through indifference or caprice, a force he called The Immanent Will. He also showed in his writing some degree of fascination with ghosts and spirits. Even so, he retained a strong emotional attachment to the Christian liturgy and church rituals, particularly as manifested in rural communities, that had been such a formative influence in his early years, and Biblical references can be found woven throughout many of Hardy's novels.
Hardy's friends during his apprenticeship to John Hicks included Horace Moule (one of the eight sons of Henry Moule), and the poet William Barnes, both ministers of religion. Moule remained a close friend of Hardy's for the rest of his life, and introduced him to new scientific findings that cast doubt on literal interpretations of the Bible, such as those of Gideon Mantell. Moule gave Hardy a copy of Mantell's book The Wonders of Geology (1848) in 1858, and Adelene Buckland has suggested that there are "compelling similarities" between the "cliffhanger" section from A Pair of Blue Eyes and Mantell's geological descriptions. It has also been suggested that the character of Henry Knight in A Pair of Blue Eyes was based on Horace Moule.
Locations in novels
Sites associated with Hardy's own life and which inspired the settings of his novels continue to attract literary tourists and casual visitors. For locations in Hardy's novels see: Thomas Hardy's Wessex, and the Thomas Hardy's Wessex research site, which includes maps.
D. H. Lawrence's Study of Thomas Hardy (1936), indicates the importance of Hardy for him, even though this work is a platform for Lawrence's own developing philosophy rather than a more standard literary study. The influence of Hardy's treatment of character, and Lawrence's own response to the central metaphysic behind many of Hardy's novels, helped significantly in the development of The Rainbow (1915) and Women in Love (1920).
Wood and Stone (1915), the first novel by John Cowper Powys, who was a contemporary of Lawrence, was "Dedicated with devoted admiration to the greatest poet and novelist of our age Thomas Hardy". Powys's later novel Maiden Castle (1936) is set in Dorchester, Hardy's Casterbridge, and was intended by Powys to be a "rival" to Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge. Maiden Castle is the last of Powys's so-called Wessex novels, Wolf Solent (1929), A Glastonbury Romance (1932), and Weymouth Sands (1934), which are set in Somerset and Dorset.
Hardy was clearly the starting point for the character of the novelist Edward Driffield in W. Somerset Maugham's novel Cakes and Ale (1930). Thomas Hardy's works also feature prominently in the American playwright Christopher Durang's The Marriage of Bette and Boo (1985), in which a graduate thesis analysing Tess of the d'Urbervilles is interspersed with analysis of Matt's family's neuroses.
Hardy has been a significant influence on Nigel Blackwell, frontman of the post-punk British rock band Half Man Half Biscuit, who has often incorporated phrases (some obscure) by or about Hardy, into his song lyrics.
Hardy divided his novels and collected short stories into three classes:
Novels of character and environment
- The Poor Man and the Lady (1867, unpublished and lost)
- Under the Greenwood Tree: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School (1872)
- Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)
- The Return of the Native (1878)
- The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character (1886)
- The Woodlanders (1887)
- Wessex Tales (1888, a collection of short stories)
- Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented (1891)
- Life's Little Ironies (1894, a collection of short stories)
- Jude the Obscure (1895)
Romances and fantasies
- A Pair of Blue Eyes: A Novel (1873)
- The Trumpet-Major (1880)
- Two on a Tower: A Romance (1882)
- A Group of Noble Dames (1891, a collection of short stories)
- The Well-Beloved: A Sketch of a Temperament (1897) (first published as a serial from 1892)
Novels of ingenuity
- Desperate Remedies: A Novel (1871)
- The Hand of Ethelberta: A Comedy in Chapters (1876)
- A Laodicean: A Story of To-day (1881)
Hardy also produced a number of minor tales; one story, The Spectre of the Real (1894) was written in collaboration with Florence Henniker. An additional short-story collection, beyond the ones mentioned above, is A Changed Man and Other Tales (1913). His works have been collected as the 24-volume Wessex Edition (1912–13) and the 37-volume Mellstock Edition (1919–20). His largely self-written biography appears under his second wife's name in two volumes from 1928 to 1930, as The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–91 and The Later Years of Thomas Hardy, 1892–1928, now published in a critical one-volume edition as The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy, edited by Michael Millgate (1984).
Short stories (with date of first publication)
- Wessex Poems and Other Verses (1898)
- Poems of the Past and the Present (1901)
- Time's Laughingstocks and Other Verses (1909)
- Satires of Circumstance (1914)
- Moments of Vision (1917)
- Collected Poems (1919)
- Late Lyrics and Earlier with Many Other Verses (1922)
- Human Shows, Far Phantasies, Songs and Trifles (1925)
- Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres (1928)
- The Complete Poems (Macmillan, 1976)
- Selected Poems (Edited by Harry Thomas, Penguin, 1993)
- Hardy: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets, 1995)
- Thomas Hardy: Selected Poetry and Nonfictional Prose (St. Martin's Press, 1996)
- Selected Poems (Edited by Robert Mezey, Penguin, 1998)
- Thomas Hardy: The Complete Poems (Edited by James Gibson, Palgrave, 2001)
- The Dynasts: An Epic-Drama of the War with Napoleon (verse drama)
- The Dynasts, Part 1 (1904)
- The Dynasts, Part 2 (1906)
- The Dynasts, Part 3 (1908)
- The Famous Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall at Tintagel in Lyonnesse (1923) (one-act play)
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- "Cakes and Ale." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. 26 April 2015. http://academic.eb.com/EBchecked/topic/88658/Cakes-and-Ale.
- Christopher Durang The Marriage of Bette and Boo. New York: Grove Press, 1987.
- See for example the song "Their damnation slumbereth not", which is a quotation from Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles,Hardy, Thomas (1891). Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Chapter 12. Retrieved 21 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> which is itself an adaptation of the Second Epistle of Peter at 2:3: "Their damnation slumbereth not".
- Purdy, Richard (October 1944). "Thomas Hardy And Florence Henniker: The Writing Of "The Spectre Of The Real". Colby Library Quarterly, series 1, no.8: 122–6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Axelrod, Jeremy. "Thomas Hardy". The Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 19 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Biographies and criticism
- Armstrong, Tim. "Player Piano: Poetry and Sonic Modernity" in Modernism/Modernity 14.1 (January 2007), 1–19.
- Beatty, Claudius J.P. Thomas Hardy: Conservation Architect. His Work for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society 1995. ISBN 0-900341-44-0
- Blunden, Edmund. Thomas Hardy. New York: St. Martin's, 1942.
- Brady, Kristen. The Short Stories of Thomas Hardy. London: Macmillan, 1982.
- Boumelha, Penny. Thomas Hardy and Women. New Jersey: Barnes and Noble, 1982.
- Brennecke, Jr., Ernest. The Life of Thomas Hardy. New York: Greenberg, 1925.
- Cecil, Lord David. Hardy the Novelist. London: Constable, 1943.
- D'Agnillo, Renzo, "Music and Metaphor in Under the Greenwood Tree, in The Thomas Hardy Journal, 9, 2 (May 1993), pp.39–50.
- D'Agnillo, Renzo, “Between Belief and Non-Belief: Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Shadow on the Stone’”, in Thomas Hardy, Francesco Marroni and Norman Page (eds), Pescara, Edizioni Tracce, 1995, pp.197–222.
- Deacon, Lois and Terry Coleman. Providence and Mr. Hardy. London: Hutchinson, 1966.
- Draper, Jo. Thomas Hardy: A Life in Pictures. Wimborne, Dorset: The Dovecote Press.
- Ellman, Richard & O'Clair, Robert (eds.) 1988. "Thomas Hardy" in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, Norton, New York.
- Gatrell, Simon. Hardy the Creator: A Textual Biography. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988.
- Gibson, James. Thomas Hardy: A Literary Life. London: Macmillan, 1996.
- Gibson, James. Thomas Hardy: Interviews and Recollections. London: Macmillan, 1999; New York: St Martin's Press, 1999.
- Gittings, Robert. Thomas Hardy's Later Years. Boston : Little, Brown, 1978.
- Gittings, Robert. Young Thomas Hardy. Boston : Little, Brown, 1975.
- Gittings, Robert and Jo Manton. The Second Mrs Hardy. London: Heinemann, 1979.
- Gossin, P. Thomas Hardy's Novel Universe: Astronomy, Cosmology, and Gender in the Post-Darwinian World. Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007 (The Nineteenth Century Series).
- Halliday, F. E. Thomas Hardy: His Life and Work. Bath: Adams & Dart, 1972.
- Hands, Timothy. Thomas Hardy : Distracted Preacher? : Hardy's religious biography and its influence on his novels. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989.
- Hardy, Evelyn. Thomas Hardy: A Critical Biography. London: Hogarth Press, 1954.
- Hardy, Florence Emily. The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840–1891. London: Macmillan, 1928.
- Hardy, Florence Emily. The Later Years of Thomas Hardy, 1892–1928 London: Macmillan, 1930.
- Harvey, Geoffrey. Thomas Hardy: The Complete Critical Guide to Thomas Hardy. New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group), 2003.
- Hedgcock, F. A., Thomas Hardy: penseur et artiste. Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1911.
- Holland, Clive. Thomas Hardy O.M.: The Man, His Works and the Land of Wessex. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1933.
- Jedrzejewski, Jan. Thomas Hardy and the Church. London: Macmillan, 1996.
- Johnson, Lionel Pigot. The art of Thomas Hardy (London: E. Mathews, 1894).
- Kay-Robinson, Denys. The First Mrs Thomas Hardy. London: Macmillan, 1979.
- Langbaum, Robert. "Thomas Hardy in Our Time." New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995, London: Macmillan, 1997.
- Marroni, Francesco, "The Negation of Eros in 'Barbara of the House of Grebe’ ", in "Thomas Hardy Journal", 10, 1 (February 1994) pp. 33–41
- Marroni, Francesco and Norman Page (eds.), Thomas Hardy. Pescara: Edizioni Tracce, 1995.
- Marroni, Francesco, La poesia di Thomas Hardy. Bari: Adriatica Editrice, 1997.
- Marroni, Francesco, "The Poetry of Ornithology in Keats, Leopardi, and Hardy: A Dialogic Analysis", in "Thomas Hardy Journal", 14, 2 (May 1998) pp. 35–44
- Millgate, Michael (ed.). The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy by Thomas Hardy. London: Macmillan, 1984.
- Millgate, Michael. Thomas Hardy: A Biography. New York: Random House, 1982.
- Millgate, Michael. Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Morgan, Rosemarie, (ed) The Ashgate Research Companion to Thomas Hardy, (Ashgate publishing), 2010.
- Morgan, Rosemarie, (ed) The Hardy Review,(Maney Publishing), 1999–.
- Morgan, Rosemarie, Student Companion to Thomas Hardy (Greenwood Press),2006.
- Morgan, Rosemarie, Cancelled Words: Rediscovering Thomas Hardy (Routledge, Chapman & Hall),1992
- Morgan, Rosemarie, Women and Sexuality in the Novels of Thomas Hardy (Routledge & Kegan Paul), 1988; paperback: 1990.
- Musselwhite, David, Social Transformations in Hardy's Tragic Novels: Megamachines and Phantasms, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
- Norman, Andrew. Behind the Mask, History Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-7524-5630-0
- O'Sullivan, Timothy. Thomas Hardy: An Illustrated Biography. London: Macmillan, 1975.
- Orel, Harold. The Final Years of Thomas Hardy, 1912–1928. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1976.
- Orel, Harold. The Unknown Thomas Hardy. New York: St. Martin's, 1987.
- Page, Norman, ed. Thomas Hardy Annual. No.1: 1982; No.2: 1984; No.3: 1985; No.4:1986; No.5; 1987. London: Macmillan, 1982–1987.
- Phelps, Kenneth. The Wormwood Cup: Thomas Hardy in Cornwall. Padstow: Lodenek Press, 1975.
- Pinion, F. B. Thomas Hardy: His Life and Friends. London: Palgrave, 1992.
- Pite, Ralph. Thomas Hardy: The Guarded Life. London: Picador, 2006.
- Saxelby, F. Outwin. A Thomas Hardy dictionary : the characters and scenes of the novels and poems alphabetically arranged and described (London: G. Routledge, 1911).
- Seymour-Smith, Martin. Hardy. London: Bloomsbury, 1994.
- Stevens-Cox, J. Thomas Hardy: Materials for a Study of his Life, Times, and Works. St. Peter Port, Guernsey: Toucan Press, 1968.
- Stevens-Cox, J. Thomas Hardy: More Materials for a Study of his Life, Times, and Works. St. Peter Port, Guernsey: Toucan Press, 1971.
- Stewart, J. I. M. Thomas Hardy: A Critical Biography. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1971.
- Taylor, Richard H. The Neglected Hardy: Thomas Hardy's Lesser Novels. London: Macmillan; New York: St Martin's Press, 1982.
- Taylor, Richard H., ed. The Personal Notebooks of Thomas Hardy. London: Macmillan, 1979.
- Turner, Paul. The Life of Thomas Hardy: A Critical Biography. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.
- Weber, Carl J. Hardy of Wessex, his Life and Literary Career. New York: Columbia University Press, 1940.
- Wilson, Keith. Thomas Hardy on Stage. London: Macmillan, 1995.
- Wilson, Keith, ed. Thomas Hardy Reappraised: Essays in Honour of Michael Millgate. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.
- Wilson, Keith, ed. A Companion to Thomas Hardy. Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
- Wotton, George. Thomas Hardy: Towards A Materialist Criticism. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1985.
|Library resources about
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- Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, Dorset, contains the largest Hardy collections in the world, donated directly to the Museum by the Hardy family and enscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register for the United Kingdom.
- Hardy Collection at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin
- Hardy's Cottage National Trust visitor information for Hardy's birthplace.
- Hardy Country A visitor guide for 'Hardy Country' in Dorset (sites of interest).
- Thomas Hardy at the British Library
- A Hyper-Concordance to the Works of Thomas Hardy at the Victorian Literary Studies Archive, Nagoya University, Japan
- Letter from Hardy to Bertram Windle, transcribed by Birgit Plietzsch, from Collected Letters, vol 2, pp.131–133. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- Max Gate National Trust visitor information for Max Gate (the home Hardy designed, lived and died in).
- The Thomas Hardy Association (TTHA)
- The Thomas Hardy Society
- The New Hardy Players Theatrical group specialising in the works of Thomas Hardy.
- Works by Thomas Hardy at Project Gutenberg
- Works by Thomas Hardy at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)