Thomas Hardy, the son of a stonemason, was born in Dorset, England, in
1840. He trained as an architect and worked in London and Dorset for ten years.
Hardy began his writing career as a novelist, publishing Desperate
Remedies in 1871, and was soon successful enough to leave the field of
architecture for writing. His novels Tess of the D'Urbervilles
(1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895), which are considered literary
classics today, received negative reviews upon publication and Hardy was
criticized for being too pessimistic and preoccupied with sex. He left fiction
writing for poetry, and published eight collections, including Wessex
Poems (1898) and Satires of Circumstance (1912).
Hardy's poetry explores a fatalist outlook against the dark, rugged
landscape of his native Dorset. He rejected the Victorian belief in a
benevolent God, and much of his poetry reads as a sardonic lament on the
bleakness of the human condition. A traditionalist in technique, he
nevertheless forged a highly original style, combining rough-hewn rhythms and
colloquial diction with an extraordinary variety of meters and stanzaic forms.
A significant influence on later poets (including
Dylan Thomas, and Philip Larkin), his influence has
increased during the course of the century, offering an alternativemore
down-to-earth, less rhetoricalto the more mystical and aristocratic precedent
of Yeats. Thomas Hardy died in 1928.