Thomas Hardy - cronological record of his life and times.
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1840 June 2. Thomas Hardy born in a cottage in Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, near the regional market town of Dorchester. Eldest of four children of Thomas Hardy and Jemima Hand. To read Hardy's poem "Domicilium". 1848 Begins school in Stinsford. 1850-1856 Continues schooling in Dorchester. 1856 Hardy witnesses the hanging of Martha Browne for the murder of her husband. 1856-1860 Articled to Dorchester architect John Hicks, Hardy later becomes his assistant. 1857 Meets and begins friendship with Horace Moule, son of Henry Moule, vicar of Fordington. Moule becomes Hardy's intellectual mentor, and encourages his study of Latin and Greek. 1862 Moves to London to work for architect Arthur Blomfield. 1865 Hardy's first publication, "How I Built Myself a House", appears in Chambers's Journal. Begins to write poetry. 1867 Returns to Dorset and works for Hicks on church restoration. 1868 Completes his first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, and submits it to Alexander Macmillan. Novel is rejected by Macmillan, who suggests that Hardy try Chapman and Hall. 1869 Chapman and Halls' reader, George Meredith, rejects novel, and suggests Hardy write a story with "more plot." Smith, Elder also rejects novel.
1885 The Hardy's move into Max Gate, a house on the outskirts of Dorchester designed by Hardy and built by his brother. 1886 The Mayor of Casterbridge, previously serialized in the Graphic and Harper's Weekly, published in two volumes by Smith, Elder. 1887 The Woodlanders, previously serialized in Macmillan's Magazine and Harper's Bazar, published in three volumes by Macmillan and Company. 1888 Wessex Tales, Hardy's first collection of short stories, published in two volumes by Macmillan. 1890 "Candour in English Fiction" published in the New Review. 1891 A Group of Noble Dames (short stories) published in one volume by Osgood, McIlvaine. Tess of the d'Urbervilles, previously serialized (in bowdlerized form) in the Graphic, published in three volumes by Osgood, McIlvaine. "The Science of Fiction" published in the New Review. Hardy is elected a member of the Athenaeum Club. 1892 Hardy's father dies. Serialized version of The Well-Beloved published in the Illustrated London News as The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved. 1892-1893 Our Exploits at West Poley, a children's story, serialized in the Boston periodical Household. 1893 Hardy meets Florence Henniker and develops an intense friendship with her, exacerbating the growing estrangement between himself and Emma Hardy.
1915 Hardy's sister Mary dies; his "distant cousin" Frank George, who Hardy thought of as his heir, is killed at Gallipoli. 1916 Selected Poems. 1917 Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous Verses. Hardy begins sorting his papers, destroying many of them, in preparation for his posthumously published "autobiography." 1919 Macmillan begins publication of the deluxe "Mellstock Edition" of Hardy's poetry and prose (37 vols.). 1920 On his 80th birthday Hardy receives messages of congratulations from George V and the Prime Minister, and is visited at Max Gate by a deputation from the Incorporated Society of Authors. 1922 Late Lyrics and Earlier with Many Other Verses. Hardy receives an honourary degree from the University of St. Andrews, and from Queen's College, Oxford. 1923 The Famous Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall (drama). 1925 Human Shows, Far Phantasies, Songs and Trifles. 1928 January 11. Thomas Hardy dies. His heart is removed and buried in Emma Hardy's grave in Stinsford Churchyard. His body is cremated and the ashes buried in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey. Winter Words, his last volume of poetry, published posthumously. Henry, Hardy's brother, dies. 1928-1930 Hardy's two-volume "autobiography," The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, 1840-1891 and The Later Years of Thomas Hardy, 1892-1928 is published (on his instruction) by Macmillan under Florence Hardy's name. 1937 Florence Hardy dies. 1940 Kate Hardy, Hardy's last sibling, dies.
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