Author(s): Thomas Hardy; Judith John (Contribution by)
Thomas Hardy, (1840 - 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth. Charles Dickens was another important influence. Like Dickens, he was highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focused more on a declining rural society. He gained fame as the author of novels, including Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) and Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) The novel is set in impoverished rural England, Thomas Hardy's fictional Wessex, during the Long Depression of the 1870s. Tess is the oldest child of John and Joan Durbeyfield, uneducated peasants; however, John is given the impression by Parson Tringham that he may have noble blood, since "Durbeyfield" is a corruption of "D'Urberville", the surname of a noble Norman family, then extinct. The news immediately goes to John's head.