Thomas Hardy


Thomas Hardy Famous memorial

Stinsford, West Dorset District, Dorset, England
Death 11 Jan 1928 (aged 87)
Dorchester, West Dorset District, Dorset, England
Burial Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Plot Stinsford
Memorial ID 4112 View Source

Author. Thomas Hardy was born in Higher Brockhampton, Dorset, England, to Thomas and Jemima Hardy, the eldest of four children. His mother encouraged his love of knowledge and learning, and his father, a stonemason, passed on his love of architecture and music. As a result, the younger Thomas played the fiddle in the church choir. Hardy incorporated his village's scenery, local customs and traditions, as well as the liturgy of the Anglican Church, into his novels. (His village became the fictional Wessex.) Hardy was frail as a child, and did not attend the village school until he was 8 years old. The following year, he attended school in Dorchester. Although he was well-read, he was unable to attend university. At 16, he was apprenticed to architect James Hicks after Hicks saw architectural drawings he made with his father of his home, Woodsford Castle. They restored church windows in the English countryside. Hardy later worked with renowned London architect Arthur Blomfeld, but he continued to write and to informally study. He studied the sciences, philosophy, literature, Greek, and Latin. When he began writing poetry his work was rejected by numerous publishers. Racked by poor health, Hardy left London and returned to Dorset. In 1870, Hardy was set to do restorations on a church in St. Juliot, Cornwall, where he met his first wife, Emma Lavinia Gifford, who was the sister-in-law of the vicar of St. Juliot. They were married in 1874. Hardy's debut novel, "Desperate Remedies," published in 1871, was greeted with indifference by critics and readers alike. It was his second novel, published the following year, "Under the Greenwood Tree," that finally won Hardy notoriety. Due to the success of that novel, he wrote a serialized novel for Tinsley's Magazine entitled, "A Pair of Blue Eyes," that also ran in the New York Tribune. But it would not be until 1874, with the publication of "Far From the Madding Crowd" that Hardy would be able to quit his day job to focus solely on writing. Hardy authored "Return of the Native" in 1878 and "The Trumpet Major" in 1880. That year (1880) was not a good one for Hardy as he suffered from internal hemorrhaging and spent many months in bed. During that time, he dictated the novel "The Laodicean" to his wife. In 1885, Hardy and Emma moved to Max Gate, a home they designed and built near Dorchester. He would write some of his most famous works there. Among Hardy's other works includes the novels "The Mayor of Casterbridge" (1886), "Wessex Tales" (1888), "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" (1891), and "Jude the Obscure" (1895). "Jude the Obscure" was the subject of much controversy. The book was considered a major affront to Victorian-era morality, and especially towards marriage. He suffered marital problems with Emma as a result (she was afraid the public would consider the novel a reflection of their marriage), and the book was banned. Yet the controversy helped put more copies into readers' hands (but, the downside being readers had to put brown covers over their copies to avoid being "caught" reading the book). Hardy was so disillusioned with the amount of criticism over "Jude the Obscure" that he never wrote another novel. He returned to poetry, publishing "Wessex Poems" in 1898, the very personal "Poems of 1912-13," inspired by the death of his wife, Emma, in 1912, and "Collected Poems" in 1919. In 1914, he married his secretary, Florence Dugdale, but the beginning of World War I both disillusioned and saddened him. Hardy influenced other famous writers such as D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and Ezra Pound, and continued to be celebrated in both his native England and around the world until his death in 1928. His ashes are at Westminster Abbey but his heart is buried in the churchyard of the parish church of his youth, together with his wives Florence and Emma, and next to the grave of his parents Thomas and Jemima.

Bio by: Donna Di Giacomo

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 6 Dec 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 4112
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Hardy (2 Jun 1840–11 Jan 1928), Find a Grave Memorial ID 4112, citing Westminster Abbey, Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find a Grave .