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Thomas Hardy

Indeed, Hardy embodies his life in his work in subtle ways, including the imaginative setting of his novels, Wessex, a setting which mirrors his part of the country but does not do so exactly.

Carpenter points out that Hardy did reveal something in his biography that hints at his hidden nature without truly explaining it--indeed, it is not likely that one incident can explain a person's life. He recalled when he was at Brockhampton and remembers one morning that a man was to be hanged that day at Dorchester. He used a big brass telescope belonging to his family and moved to a hill near his house from where he could see the town:

The sun behind his back shone straight on the white stone facade of the gaol, and the form of the murderer in white fustian, the executioner and officials in dark clothing and the crowd below being invisible at this distance of nearly three miles. At the moment of his placing the glass to his eye the white figure dropped downwards, and the faint note of the town clock struck eight (Carpenter 19).

Hardy recalled this incident after many years, showing that it was important to him. Even as he did so, however, he denied that it had any relevance to his life, though Carpenter only partly agrees:

From an ordinary, practical, common-sense point of view such an event had "nothing to do with" Hardy--it was not his life that was being terminated; nothing was added to his income nor detracted form hi


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Thomas Hardy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:02, October 22, 2014, from
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