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Hardy, Thomas, 1840-1928

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Definition: Hardy, Thomas from

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

, Thomas 1840–1928.


British writer whose pessimistic outlook on life is expressed in novels like Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) and poems like “The Convergence of the Twain” (1912).

Summary Article: Hardy, Thomas from Continuum Encyclopedia of British Literature
Hardy is the only English author, except perhaps D. H. LAWRENCE, who left a substantial number of major novels and also major poems. Indeed, he had two careers, first as a Victorian novelist and short story writer and then as a 20th-c. poet.His life, outwardly quiet, was racked by contradictions. He was born in a remote and old-fashioned part of Dorset (he called the region “Wessex”), but spent his twenties in London, working as an architect, and was very aware of contemporary currents of thought. Like most of his characters, he belonged to an “intermediate class,” which is always striving to better itself but has many links with the working poor and can easily topple over the edge. He was the first professional man in his family, but did not get into university. The struggles of the self-educated are a theme of the stark story “A Tragedy of Two Ambitions” (1894) and Jude the Obscure (1895). Like Tess Durbeyfield, he sometimes felt that he was...    Continue Reading
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