[Transcribed and placed in HTML by Philip V. Allingham, Contributing Editor, Victorian Web; Faculty of Education, Lakehead University (Canada).]
THOMAS HARDY (O.M.) (1840-1928) was born at High Bockhampton, Stinsford, Dorset, and educated in Dorchester and at King's College, London. He successfully studied architecture, but desired a literary career. Poetry attracted him but promised no pay. So Hardy first wrote novels. Of those The Return of the Native, Tess of the d' Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure are usually adjudged the finest. Fierce criticism of the "immorality" of Jude followed. Hardy turned to the production of The Dynasts (published by 1908), with the exception of Shelley's Prometheus Unbound, the only epic drama in the language. All the while Hardy had penned poetry; but the years from 1908 were especially devoted to the publication of verse. The remains of Hardy, though he had expressed a wish for country burial, were, to the surprise of many, placed in [Poets' Corner,] Westminster Abbey. Nobody disputes the station of Hardy among the prophets. It is likely that, as a novelist, Hardy will be regarded as our greatest; that, among dramatists, he will be accorded rank as the true successor, but not the copyist, of Shakespeare, the co-equal of the author of the Cenci [Percy Bysshe Shelley]; that the unimitative and frequently harsh music of his verse will give him lasting place among English poets.
Powley, Edward B. A Hundred Years of English Poetry. St. Martin's Classics. Toronto: Macmillan, 1933. Page 100.
Last modified 29 July 2004