Victorian literature, Pessimism

Thomas Hardy was a 19th century novelist and a 20th century poet. As a novelist, he was last of the great Victorian novelists such as William Thackeray, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens and George Eliot. The last decade of the 19th century was dominated by Thomas Hardy. He wrote 14 novels and almost 900 poems. Hardy’s reputation as a novelist grew during the last decades of of his life and his poetry was relatively neglected. His novels share a pessimist view of the human condition and life. Pessimism is derived from the Latin word ‘Pessimism’ (worst). It is based on a belief that the world is the worst possible and that things are bad and tend to become worse. Thomas Hardy worked out a pessimist theory of his own according to which man is just a puppet in the hands of an inscrutable and malicious force which governs the world and seems to enjoy inflicting endless sufferings. The fact that Hardy resented being called a pessimist is no reason why should not be thus described. Hardy was the painter of darker side of life as it was no wonder if people charge him of ‘pessimist’. The opinion is both right and wrong in this context. In fact, there are some factors that compel us to believe him a pessimist. He was hyper-sensitive, his own life was tragic and gloomy. For a speculative soul, this world is a thorny field. Thomas Hardy captured the heartbeat of the rural English people against the looming backdrop of encroaching industrialism. His novels have a genuine, almost autobiographical feel because he used many personal experiences, acquaintances, settings and opinions in his fiction. Thomas Hardy’s pessimism also represents actual events. Relationships and social issues of Hardy’s life. Hardy’s fatalism and pessimism began to manifest itself in his early childhood, as he was the result of an unplanned pregnancy, and then later in his youth, when his family could not afford to fund a full...
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