Thomas Hardy

Topics: Thomas Hardy, Poetry, Thomas Hardy's Wessex Pages: 6 (1712 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy, written by Trevor Johnson, is the detailed journey through the life of one of England's greatest writers. This biography describes some of the major details of his life such as his family, his education, and his major works.

Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 at the Village of Upper Bochampton. He was the child of a country stonemason. Hardy was the third Thomas of his family. His mother's maiden name was Jemima Hand and she and her husband led Hardy to have an unusually happy childhood. His early years were a seed-bed to his later creative development. His mother knew what real poverty was when she was young because she lost her father. Hardy said ‘ she read every book she could lay her hands on' and she grew up to be a woman of ability, judgment, and ‘ an energy that might have carried her to incalculable issues!' Many thought she was the dominant influence in Hardy's life but his father was a man of character also. Even though he didn't ‘ possess the art of enriching himself by business,' he was a fine craftsman, and a lover of music. Hardy's family was never poor and he summed up his happy childhood in a tiny lyric:

She sat here in her chair,

smiling into the fire;

He who played stood there,


Bowing it higher and higher.

Childlike, I danced in a dream;

Blessings emblazoned that day;

Everything glowed with a gleam;

Yet we were looking away!

As a young child, Hardy mastered the violin learning over 100 tunes. He also sang in the Stansford Church every Sunday. It seems to be that Hardy and his parents had a good relationship. In 1867 Hardy met Tryphena Sparks who was 16 and a daughter to a family related to his. She was intelligent and made her living as a teacher. She bore a child in 1868 and Hardy fell deeply in love with her. But in 1872 she broke his heart by returning her engagement ring. She then remarried and had two more children before dying in 1890. Tryphena had a great influence on his writing. On March 7, 1870 Hardy took an architectural trip to a church named St. Juliot. He stayed at the rectory and met the rector's sister-in-law, Emma Lavinia Gifford. She was younger and attractive, and they walked hand in hand through the countryside. They fell half in love and Hardy made many trips back to St. Juliot. In 1874 they were married and proceeded to wander about Europe until they settled in Sturminster Newton. After two years there Hardy decided to move back to London. Years later he looked back on those two years as their happiest

time together. Hardy seemed to live a peaceful and successful life, but there was a "pattern of storm beneath the tranquillity." During these three decades of creation, public acclaim, and critical praise, his private life was overshadowed by what appeared to be his


wife's fall to insanity. She was a victim of delusions, one of her biggest delusions is that she married a lesser man than she deserved. She also believed that she had written Hardy's work and he stole them from her to be published for himself. She also insulted him publicly by taking more pride in being the niece of archdeacon than being the wife of the greatest English writer. She even tried to stop the publication of Jude The Obscure

because she felt it immoral. She died unexpectedly in 1912 and even though Hardy was with her last before she died, she never regained consciousness after a dispute they had earlier. His remorse and grief broke into the release of the most moving love poems of his or any other century. Home life became much more calm and ordered when he married Florence Ellen Dugdale in 1914.

Education wasn't the biggest thing in Hardy's...
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