Thomas Hardy, OM (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth. Charles Dickens was another important influence. Like Dickens, he was highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focused more on a declining rural society. While Hardy wrote poetry throughout his life and regarded himself primarily as a poet, his first collection was not published until 1898. Initially, therefore, he gained fame as the author of novels, including Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895). Hardy's poetry, though prolific, was not as well received during his lifetime. It was rediscovered in the 1950s, when Hardy's poetry had a significant influence on the Movement poets of the 1950s and 1960s, including Philip Larkin. Most of his fictional works – initially published as serials in magazines – were set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex. They explored tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances. Hardy's Wessex is based on the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom and eventually came to include the counties of Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Hampshire and much of Berkshire, in southwest and south central England. Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Bain News Service, publisher [Public domain, Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Featured Article: Your Listening Guide to 19th-Century British Authors
From Gothic chillers to clever whodunits to trailblazing Romantic fiction, Britain in the 1800s was teeming with literary movements, milestones, and masterpieces. This era gave us the Romantic literary movement, serialized novels, Victorian Gothic literature, the rise of detective fiction as we know it, and so much more. Because of that, it can be hard to know where to begin. Here’s a guide to the best of the best Brit-lit listening gems.