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The Youth of Thomas Hardy

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Simon Whalley was a Fellow and Director of Music at the Keble College of Oxford University for 15 years. A lover of great Victorian writers, Thomas Hardy is one of Simon Whalley's favorites.

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The Youth of Thomas Hardy

  1. 1. Simon Whalley
  2. 2.  Simon Whalley was a Fellow and Director of Music at the Keble College of Oxford University for 15 years. A lover of great Victorian writers, Thomas Hardy is one of Simon Whalley's favorites. Born in 1840 in the English county of Dorset, Thomas Hardy spend all but five years of his life there. The Hardys were once a well-to-do family in the area, but their fortune was quite modest by the time Thomas was born. His father was a self-employed master mason, and his mother was a former maid, though she was well-read and loved literature. Hardy’s earliest learning came from his mother, and he eventually entered public school at age eight. At 10 years old, his mother sent him to a school administered by the British and Foreign School Society, where he was introduced to Latin and French.
  3. 3.  As a boy, Hardy was a voracious reader, and he indulged in the Latin and Greek classics as well as the Bible. A lover of romances, he enjoyed the works of Shakespeare as well as Walter Scott, William Harrison Ainsworth, and Alexander Dumas. Though a good student, he was still a loner, and he witnessed the industrial revolution consume his once rural village in the English countryside. This experience would influence his later work; his masterpiece, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, carries an underlying theme of the separation between man and nature.

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