The History of Literature #195 – Thomas Hardy


He was born to a lower class family of tradesmen in 1840. Eighty eight years later, he died as one of the most celebrated writers in England. His name was Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), and he was at the same time the product of the Victorian era and one of its greatest critics. But how did this man go from being a builder and architect to writing poetry and eventually the novels that made him famous? What made this budding young priest turn away from the church? And why, after becoming a successful and highly accomplished novelist did he quit writing novels altogether, turning back to poetry for the remainder of his years?

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Music Credits:

“Piano Between” and “Allemande Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

A Literary Quiz: Who Invented the Cliffhanger?

To which author does this sentence refer?

The term “cliffhanger” is considered to have originated with the serialised version of this early novel, in which Henry Knight, one of the protagonists, is left literally hanging off a cliff.

  1. Edgar Allan Poe
  2. Bram Stoker
  3. Wilkie Collins
  4. Thomas Hardy

The answer is #4. Thomas Hardy.

I did not know he wrote a couple of potboilers for cash before he graduated into Tess-and-Mayor-and-Jude land.

Apparently Mr. Hardy’s uncompromising artistry fell victim to a little compromise, at least in his early days.