I discovered Hardy as an author way back in my high school days, when I studied English Literature and from then onwards, I have enjoyed his not only his novels, but poetry as well. When I went to live in UK as an Nanny I fell in love with the English countryside and realized where Thomas Hardy was coming from. I could see why he wrote like he did, the English countryside was beautiful and simply a place to lose one’s self with.I love Hardy’s lyrical descriptions of the natural world, so descriptive you can paint the pictures in your head. You find in some instances that he was describing dying arts, especially in rural parts of England, arts that are now lost to us forever.
I find myself re-reading his work now and finding new things in his writing, that the teenage me would never of picked up. Of how rural England was dying especially when the First World War came along, gone were the men who ran estates for the rich. Artisan who had special skills never passed them on so they died with the young men in the battlefields.I feel too the Industrial revolution also killed off rural England and living seasonal off the land, that had been the norm for centuries. People simply left the land for work in London’s many factories and other industries. I feel the Industrial revolution happened so fast that there was no way England’s rural areas would ever be able to cope or catch up. Then there were enclosure of land that spelt trouble for farmers used to animals grazing anywhere in the village.
Hardy I didn’t know much as a person, but always enjoy his work and love to carry a book of his poems with me everywhere. They let me daydream of another life, far from the city, tucked away in some little village never heard of before and you would never find on a map. A time when horses ruled the dirt roads. I found on my own travels through rural West Sussex little hamlets tucked amongst the South Downs, many not sign posted or on any map you could find. They were hidden gems in a land of many great cities, forgotten and going about their everyday lives without a thought to any body else. They were places you would stumble upon once and may never find again, even for want of trying.
Thomas Hardy makes me think of Autumn landscapes, trees golden with a carpet of colour at their feet. Farmer’s cutting down barley and wheat on bright summer days, the gentle nature and rhythm of life by the seasons. I guess also he is identified with another time where machines were mere science fiction. I also liked his characters ordinary people with sometimes extraordinary happenings in their lives.
I love the fact he was a poet too, another one of my passions, and he wrote some lovely verses too. Many that are still my favourite now and many I have committed to memory. I guess too his imagery have brought my love of the English countryside, and pretty much close to the real thing as you could possibly describe.