Written by Emily Wollaston
Thomas Hardy is one of the most renowned and well-loved writers of all time. He had a gift for writing about the pain of human suffering in his novels and the eternal struggle of life. But it was not as a novelist that Hardy had meant to make his living or share his passion. His career began as a poet and Hardy once commented that he would never have written a line of prose if his poems had received more praise and recognition. However, novels such as The Mayor of Casterbridge, Jude the Obscure, Tess of the d'Urbervilles and The Return of the Native are some of the titles he is best remembered for.
Hardy's poetry would never overshadow his reputation as a writer of "classical" literature, a he was often frustrated by his critics' harsh comments about his work. In truth, Hardy was writing about the demise of the agriculture which until the turn of the 19th Century was the most important driving force of life in England, However, the industrial revolution and new innovations were slowly but surely changing the face of the English landscape quite literally. Set in the semi-imaginary county of Wessex, Hardy's novels are the pinnacle of English literature.