Hardy, Thomas - Most important works
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was born in Dorset, the area that in his books he called “Wessex”; he studied architecture and started writing poems that were rejected by publishers, so he turned into fiction.
His most famous works are:
- Jude the Obscure: this novel presents a man divided between two women (who represent the virginal and sexual love); like “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, this book challenges the Victorian ideas about society, sexual morality and religion.
- Tess of the d’Urbervilles: a book divided in more parts; when it was collected in a volume, some parts were omitted because shocked the Victorian readers. Descriptions are clear and detailed, the plot is balanced and well-structured thanks to his studies as an architect. Hardy saw nature with the scientist’s point of view (and not with the passionate Romantic point of view) and had a pessimistic vision of life, influenced by Darwin’s and Schopenhauer’s theories. Tess is passive, accepts everything which happens to her because when she rebelled things got worse and, despite of her honesty and purity, she didn’t manage to change her situation: there’s a tragic end. There’s an opposition even between male and female heroes: Angel is positive only in appearance, because he is full of the prejudice of the time and can’t forget Tess for her previous relationship.
All Hardy’s novels deny the general belief in progress and are set in the imaginary region of “Wessex” (cfr. The reign of Alfred the Great) in order to link the past and the present and to underline the destruction caused by industrial revolution. Nature is a living part of the story, always connected with the events that happens to the characters.