Thomas Hardy: vita e opere

Vita, caratteristiche, tematiche e opere di Thomas Hardy: riassunto in lingua inglese (3 pagine formato doc)

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Thomas Hardy (1840-1928).


  • Family humble origin (“Little better than peasants”), son of a builder, later he pretended to came from an important family.
  • His parents his father was a musician and his mother was interested in literature and folk ballads that H. inherited.
  • School he left it at 16 and he was an apprenticed to a local architect, he continued to study alone.
  • Jobs architect, poet, novelist.
  • Love marriage with Emma Giffort, though Emma’s family was suspicious of his humble origins. After an unsuccessful marriage Emma died in 1912.
    Hardy rediscovered his love for her after her death and began an extraordinary series of poem about her. H. married again in 1914 with Florence Dugdale (writer of children’s books) who was 40 years younger than him. H. was rejuvenated by this 2nd marriage though the effect on Florence was the opposite.


Features and Themes.

  • The Wessex novel his regionalism is strictly connected to the limited area of the Dorsetshire that he called “Wessex”(in Anglo-Saxon times, Wessex was one of the 7 kingdoms established in England and covered the South-western part of the country between the Tames and the South coast): a unifying element and a link between past and present, a country under the impact of modern industrial life.
  • Nature Wessex provided him with rural landscape and natural environment (such as Wordsworth). It’s an essential part in the story, it’s the co-protagonist with the characters. Indifferent to man’s destiny, a hostile power, it came to mean something different from the Romanticism (Joy and Consolation).
  • Love he believed passionately in the spiritual power of Love, but also to the fact that such love could not survive the day-to-day nearness of marriage. Love often ends in disillusion and failure destroyed often by Fate.
  • Socialism and Social Class he remained a socialist throughout his life. He was impatient in his own social class and made great efforts to educate himself in order to escape from the class into which he was born. He didn’t deny the values in which he had lived (a strong emotional attachment to the set of a value) but also a wish to move away in his own intellectual life.
  • Progress and Poverty Dorget was one of the poorest of English counties but its isolation from the outside world means that local customs and tradition were preserved unusually strongly there with the railway things loss the sense of belonging to a particular place and felt little sympathy for the machines. At the same time he was realistic to understand that progress could change the economy and the isolation of the country.
  • Religion his attitude to religion was contradictory: he was brought up as a Christian. In the late 20’s this faith disappeared. Though he rejected Christianity intellectually, he was never thiless throughout his life influenced by and attracted to, his childhood faith. He rejected Christian doctrine and the Bible.
  • Sources Darwin, Schopenhauer and Mill.
  • Pessimism man is an insignificant insect in an universe quite indifferent to him. Man is a puppet in the hand of a malicious force “Immanent Will” which blindly rules universe and human destiny. Man is a powerless victim of an obscure fate. He was influenced by Giacomo Leopardi.
  • Fatalistic determinism there is a predestination to which all men fulfil their destiny without finding any help either in society, which oppressed and destroyed them, or in Love.
  • Failure of Communication
  • Characters Evolutionary theories increased H’s compassion for suffering people and for all the living creatures, including animals and trees.
  • Realism like Verga Hardy rejected all the Romantic and sentimental attitude.
  • Technique
  • Architectural: he was able to give unity to his novels.
  • Cinematic: he at 1st described the landscape then focused on various elements of nature, he used a lot of symbols and perspective.

Breve riassunto su Thomas Hardy: vita e opere


Works. His novel can be divided in 3 groups:
1.    Novels of character and Environment (known as Wessex Novels)
•    Under the Greenhood tree about the story of 2 lover who finally married.
•    Far from the Madding Crowd story of a farm labourer who finally is able to marry the woman farm-owner he loves.
•    The Return of the Native
•    The Major of Casterbridge on the rise and fall of a man who has sold his wife to a stranger.
•    The Woodlander


Tess of the D’Urbervilles Talks about the story of Tess, the 16years old daughter of a poor Wessex peasant, who discovers that he is the descendant of a famous ancient family, the D’Urbervilles. After the death of their horse, Tess goes to a rich supposed relative, Alec, who rape her. She gives birth to a child who dies few months later. Some years later Tess falls in love with Angel Clare a son of a clergymen. She wants to inform him of her past and writes a letter that never reaches him. On their wedding night Tess confesses her past, Angel is shocked and abandons her. She remained alone and become a field worker. One day she meets Alec (who now is an itinerant preacher) and becomes his lover. When Angel returns from Brazil (where he is gone after the wedding night), Tess murders Alec. Tess and Angel escape in the New Forest but she is finally arrested and hanged.