Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in the SouthWest of England. He studied until the age of 16 and his interest turned to architecture. He moved to London where he worked as an architect while he began to write. He has written 15 novels and most important novels are “Far from the Madding Crowd”, “Help the dark” and “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” that scandalized Victorian public opinion with its immorality and pessimism.
In his novels the themes are based on love and nature. He considered love a negative feeling which caused failure and disillusion while nature appears as an important character and his love for nature is reflected particulary in his use of metaphor, similitude and personification. Nature si indifferent to man who fights unsuccessfully. Unlike Wordsworth man and nature were different but both inseparable parts of a universe created by a higher power. Nature was a friend, from her man could learn virtue and wisdom that could give joy only being contemplated. Nature is a source of inspiration; nature was important beacuse it rewarded man and it was seen as something positive. On the contrary Hardy influenced by Darwin and Schopenhauer, denied the existence of God so man is a product of a process of evolution, he doesn’t have free will, he can’t choose or shape his destiny. There is no God but a sort of immanent will which is hostile and indifferent to man’s sufferings.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
At the beginning of the novels Tess’s father finds out he is a descendent of the D’Urbervilles, a rich and aristocratic family. His family has already fallen on hard times and so Tess decided to start working on the estate of D’Urbervilles. She is seduced by her master Alec and when she returns to her village she gives birth to a child but he soon dies. After that she left her father’s house and she went to work in a farm. There he met Angel Clare, they fell in love and murry but when Tess told him about her past, he left and went to Brazil. Tess undergoes suffering and she decided to become Alec’s mistress. Angel comes back and forgives Tess who in despair kills Alec and flees with Angel. She is captured at Stonehenge while she is sleeping on a large stone.