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By: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy The Return of the Native

Amidst the fireworks and celebrations of Guy Fawkes Night, a covered wagon winds its way along the dark country heath land. Hidden at the back is a young woman who is running away from a thwarted marriage ceremony with the local innkeeper. The driver of the wagon, a young herdsman, is secretly in love with her but is so devoted that he vows to help her reunite with her useless lover. The opening scenes of Thomas Hardy's sixth novel The Return of the Native, form the backdrop to this story of a profoundly flawed woman and the men who fall in love with her...

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure

A young man from a poor, working-class background, passionate about education, who aspires to become a professor. His teacher, a respected role model who turns out to have feet of clay. An independent, free-spirited woman. Another who is scheming, selfish and flirtatious. Dominating their lives is the magnificent university town of Christminster. All these and a host of other colorful, memorable characters inhabit the pages of Thomas Hardy's monumental fourteenth novel published in 1895. Thomas Hardy's fame as a novelist rivals that of even Dickens in Victorian literature...

Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Her father compels her to visit the biggest mansion in the village to “claim kin” with the aristocratic d'Urberville family. She falls prey to the debauched son of the house and returns home to give birth in secret to an illegitimate baby who lives only for a few days. Determined to put her past behind her, she goes to work as a milkmaid in a faraway country farmhouse where she falls in love with a good and kind young man. Her conscience troubles her and she confesses the truth about herself in a letter which her beloved never receives...

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy Far From the Madding Crowd

This story opens with a lovely, poor and proud young woman who lives with her aunt. The young woman saves the life of a farmer who subsequently falls in love with her. However, the young woman inherits a fortune and moves away. On the flip side the farmer loses everything he has and travels around the country seeking employment. One evening the farmer helps to put out a blazing fire in a lonely farm. When the veiled owner comes out to thank him, he discovers that she is none other than the beautiful woman who once rejected him and moved away...

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy The Mayor of Casterbridge

Irritated and drunken, an itinerant farm-worker sells his wife and child to a stranger. Thus begins The Mayor of Casterbridge, set in rural and small-town England in the mid-1800s. In the original subtitle, Hardy called this the story of "a man of character," and the central character, Michael Henchard, is one of English fiction's greatest creations. Henchard is deeply developed as a realistic character, but also larger-than-life in the manner of a Greek or Shakespearean tragic hero — huge in his determination and huge in his failings...

Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy Under the Greenwood Tree

This novel is subtitled The Mellstock Quire, A Rural Painting of the Dutch School. The Quire is the group of musicians who accompany the hymns at the local church and we follow the fortunes of one member, Dick Dewy, who falls in love with the new school mistress, Fancy Day. Another element of the book is the battle between the traditional musicians of the Quire and the local vicar, Parson Maybold, who installs a church organ. This battle illustrates the developing technology being introduced in the Victorian era and its threat to traditional country ways...

Moments of Vision by Thomas Hardy Moments of Vision

Hardy claimed poetry as his first love, and published collections until his death in 1928. Although not as well received by his contemporaries as his novels, Hardy’s poetry has been applauded considerably in recent years. Most of his poems deal with themes of disappointment in love and life, and mankind’s long struggle against indifference to human suffering.

A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy A Pair of Blue Eyes

The book describes the love triangle between a young woman, Elfride Swancourt, and her two suitors from very different backgrounds. Stephen Smith is a socially inferior but ambitious young man who adores her and with whom she shares a country background. Henry Knight is the respectable, established, older man who represents London society.

The Trumpet-Major by Thomas Hardy The Trumpet-Major

Our heroine, Anne Garland, lives quietly in a rural community deep in the English countryside. However, the arrival of several regiments preparing for an expected invasion brings colour and chaos to the county. A graceful and charming young woman, Anne is pursued by three suitors: John Loveday, the trumpet-major in a British regiment, honest and loyal; his brother Robert, a merchant seaman and womaniser, and Festus Derriman, the cowardly son of the local squire. Set at the time of the Napoleonic wars, this is the author’s only historical novel, and unusually for Hardy’s stories, most of the characters live happily ever after.

The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy The Woodlanders

The Woodlanders is one of Hardy's later novels, although he originally intended it as a successor to Far From The Madding Crowd. It concerns the life and loves of Giles Winterborne,Grace Melbury,Edred Fitzpiers, Felice Charmond and Marty South.The topics of class,fidelity and loyalty are delt with in Hardys exquisite style and set in the beautiful woodlands of Hintock.

Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy Two on a Tower

The plot concerns two – literally starcrossed – lovers: Swithin St. Cleeve, a very young amateur astronomer, and Viviette Constantine, an unhappily married and abandoned woman 8 or 9 years his senior. Each night Swithin climbs the old tower of the title, in the grounds of the Constantine estate. Lady Constantine, whose husband has been absent some years on an extended hunting and exploring journey to Africa, joins the young man in his stargazing, and supports his astronomical ambitions by buying him equipment, though his dreams of scientific renown are disappointed.Their relationship then deepens and takes several twists and turns.

Book cover Wessex Tales

Wessex Tales is a collection of six short stories written by Hardy in the 1880’s. If you’ve never read Hardy they’ll serve as a good introduction to his writing. Though not as comprehensive as his major works they do contain all the ingredients that make him instantly recognisable. (Introduction by T. Hynes.)

Book cover The Well-Beloved

'The Well-Beloved' tells the story of Jocelyn Pierston and his love for three generations of women - the grandmother, her daughter and grand-daughter over a period of forty years. Pierston is seeking for perfection in his choice of lover and in doing so lets opportunities for happiness pass him by. However, at the end of his life, he finds some kind of contentment in compromise.

Book cover The Hand of Ethelberta

Ethelberta was raised in humble circumstances but became a governess and consequently, at the age of 18, married well. However, her husband died two weeks after the wedding. Her father-in-law, Lord Petherwin, died shortly afterwards. Ethelberta (now 21) lives with her mother-in-law, Lady Petherwin. In the three years that have elapsed since her marriage, Ethelberta has been treated to foreign travel and further privileges by Lady Petherwin but restricted from seeing her own family. The story follows Ethelberta's career as a famous poetess and storyteller...

Book cover Life's Little Ironies; A Set Of Tales With Some Colloquial Sketches Entitled A Few Crusted Characters

Eighteen short stories by a master story teller.

Book cover Desperate Remedies

Cytherea Graye is poor, but accepts a post as lady's maid to the eccentric Miss Aldclyffe, the woman whom her father had loved but had not been able to marry. Cytherea in turn loves a young architect, Edward Springrove; but will Miss Adclyffe's machinations, the knowledge that Edward is already engaged to a woman whom he does not love, and the urgent need to support her sick brother drive Cytherea to accept the hand of Aeneas Manston? Will true love triumph in the end or will she be forced to live a life of misery with a man she doesn't love? ( Michele Eaton )

Book cover Changed Man And Other Tales

Eleven short stories.

Book cover In Time Of The Breaking Of Nations

LibriVox volunteers bring you 9 recordings of "In Time Of The Breaking Of Nations" by Thomas Hardy. This was the Weekly Poetry project for June 30, 2013.Written during the First World War, this is a poem about love, war and their timelessness by one of the best Victorian novelists.

Book cover Poems of the Past and the Present
Book cover Wessex Poems

A collection of poetry by Thomas Hardy, some of which were previously published or adapted into his prose works.

Book cover The Dynasts
Book cover Late Lyrics and Earlier
Book cover Group of Noble Dames

The pedigrees of our county families, arranged in diagrams on the pages of county histories, mostly appear at first sight to be as barren of any touch of nature as a table of logarithms. But given a clue—the faintest tradition of what went on behind the scenes, and this dryness as of dust may be transformed into a palpitating drama. Out of such pedigrees and supplementary material most of the following stories have arisen and taken shape.

Book cover Satires of Circumstance
Book cover Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid

A milkmaid, Margery, encounters a mysterious foreigner and perhaps prevents him from committing suicide. In gratitude, the man offers her any reward she can name. She tells him she wants to go to a ball. He takes her, admittedly a bit reluctantly, to a yeoman's ball in a neighboring county. From there the story continues because of course, a lot happens after the ball. She happens to already have an engagement to a local lad but his hold over her seems to grow of its own accord. This Hardy story may not end the way you wish, but that is often true of stories by this master writer.

Book cover A Laodicean: a Story of To-day
Book cover Time's Laughingstocks
Book cover Tess of the d'Urbervilles (version 3)

"Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented" is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British illustrated newspaper, The Graphic. Though now considered an important work of English literature, the book received mixed reviews when it first appeared, in part because it challenged the sexual mores of Hardy's day. The original manuscript is on display at the British Library, showing that it was originally titled "Daughter of the d'Urbervilles." This project was DPLed by Bead Krazy Dawn and pwaugh68

Book cover Return of the Native (version 2 dramatic reading)

Clym Yeobright returns home to Egdon Heath, a scattered collection of houses on the isolated Wessex moors, and is caught up in a "love pentagon" which includes: his cousin, Thomasin Yeobright; the shadowy inn-keeper, Damon Wildeve; the controversial and romantic Eustacia Vye; and the mysterious reddleman, Diggory Venn, whose skin is stained completely red from his work. This work has all the well-known marks of Thomas Hardy: the Wessex landscape, a choice of lovers, a wedding gone wrong, a particularly shy 30-something man, and a woman with an independent spirit...

Book cover Mayor of Casterbridge (version 3)

In a fit of drunkenness, Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby daughter to the highest bidder at a country fair. He lives with regret and swears off drink, until his wife and daughter return eighteen years later, when he is now well-off and the Mayor of Casterbridge.

Book cover Tess of the d'Urbervilles (version 2)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles subtitled, "A Pure Woman," is the story of a young working woman named Tess Durbeyfield who is sent by her father to visit wealthy relatives. Her encounter with Alec d'Urberville changes her life forever, and brings about a doom that no one could have foreseen.

Book cover Jude the Obscure (Version 2)

Eleven-year-old Jude Fawley, inspired by his teacher Mr. Phillotson, who leaves Marygreen for Christminster to take a university degree, decides to adopt the same course for himself. Raised by his great-aunt, he studies hard with the aid of some old Latin and Greek books sent to him by Phillotson.He trains as a stonemason in order to enable him to support himself when at the university. However when he finally arrives in Christminster he soon finds that a university education is not easily come by for one of his social standing...

Book cover Laodicean

The Laodicean (someone whose religious beliefs are “lukewarm”) of the title is Paula Power who bought the ancient castle De Stancy which she is determined to restore. Being of a modern frame of mind, she has the telegraph connected to the castle – and uses it all the time in the course of the story. George Somerset is a young architect who is invited to compete for the chance of the commission to restore the castle and who falls in love with Paula. However, the brother of Paula’s great friend Charlotte De Stancy – of the aristocratic family that once owned the castle – aided by his villainous illegitimate son, sets out to win Paula for himself...


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