THOMAS HARDY: TESS E JUDE THE OBSCURE
Thomas Hardy: He was born of humble parents in June 1840.He learned to play the violin, and he always loved music and dancing. By 1862 he was working and studying architecture in London, and he began to write poetry at this time. His thought was also influenced by the writing of Comte, Mill and Darwin and Schopenhauer. 1872 he published Under the Greenwood, in 1878 The return of the Native, in 1886 The mayor of Casterbridge, in 1891 Tess of the D’Urbervilles and in 1895 Jude the Obscure. The book scandalized Victorian public opinion with its pessimism and immorality. Hardy decided to give up fiction and turn to poetry. In his seven collections of lyric poetry, dating from 1898 with the Wessex Poems we find both sketches of love and loss and more abstract considerations of the historical and cosmic ironies which encompass human tragedy. He died in 1928 and was buried in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.
THOMAS HARDY LIBRI
Hardy’s deterministic view: Hardy’s works are packed with considerations about life, death, man and the universe. He was largely influenced by the Oxford movement. His family members were Christians and Hardy himself considered entering the clergy. However he eventually abandoned his devout faith in God probably influenced by his reading both of the classics and of contemporary authors. From Greek tragedy he derived the notions of cruel Gods, indifferent Nature and hostile Fate. After reading Darwin’s The Origin of Species he perceived the intellectual consequences of that scientific theory and denied the existence of God. He could see no intelligent direction of the universe, only the control of “insensible chance” over everything. So human life was a purely tragic process over which man had no power. Hardy was not a total pessimist, however. Under the influence of Mill and the French philosopher Comte he advocated the need for altruism through cooperation and loving kindness.
THOMAS HARDY TESS
Hardy’s Wessex: Hardy’s Wessex transcends topographical limits combining the imaginative experience of the individual with a sense of man’s place in the universe. Hardy had a superb sense of place: he described ruins of churches, towers, walls, but also monments of the importance of Stonehenge or the colleges of Christminster or Oxford. He was also interested in home interiors with their furniture and objects. He had an accurate knowledge of the country traditions that accompanied the small gatherings and larger festivals of the community.
The difficult of being alive: Hardy develops one main theme the difficulty of being alive. Another important theme is Nature, presented as a co-protagonist with the characters. Indifferent to man’s destiny, nature sets the pattern of growth and decay which is followed by human life. Nature also implies regeneration, expressed through the cycle of seasons. In his novels Hardy exposes the most conventional, moralistic, hypocritical aspects of Victorian society. Difficulty or failure of communication is another central theme and it frequently leads to tragedy.