By 1885 the Hardys had settled near Dorchester at Max
The mother of Thomas Hardy, an afficionado of Latin
poets and French romances, is probably at the origin of his
impressive writer's career.
His father was a master
mason and contractor.
Moving to London for five years
at the age of twenty-two, Hardy wrote there unsuccessful
poems dedicated to the rural life he had left behind in his
Attracted by the positivism of
Charles Darwin , Herbert Spencer,
and John Stuart Mills, he attended also Shakespeare's plays, enjoyed the
opera, and went to evening classes in French at King's
Back to his native Upper Bockhampton,
and strongly supported by Emma Lavinia Gifford, literature
became progressively his true vocation when his friend George Meredith advised him to
write a novel.
Far From The Madding Crowd
(1874) was his first success.