Max Gate, the house Hardy designed and built for himself, Dorset
Thomas Hardy was English; born in 1840 and died in 1928. His father was a builder and stonemason. Though Thomas only attended school until the age of sixteen, he was an able student, learning Mathematics and Latin in that time. He was sent to a local architect's office to be trained, then moved to London in 1862 to attend King's College, where he excelled in his architectural studies.
By 1867 he had begun writing, because in that year he offered a novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, to publishers, who declined it. However in 1871 he succeeded with Desperate Remedies, a murder mystery.
In almost every one of his subsequent novels themes of social disparity and it's effect on a character's outlook and behavior contribute to the plot. In 1872 Hardy turned entirely to writing for his livelihood,and the ensuing output was impressive. After Desperate Remedies came Under the Greenwood Tree, (1872), A Pair of Blue Eyes, (1873), Far From the Madding Crowd, (1874), Return of the Native, (1878), The Trumpet Major, (1880), A Laodicean, (1881), Two on a Tower, (1882), The Mayor of Casterbridge, (1886), The Woodlanders, (1887),Tess of the D'Urbervilles, (1891), and Jude the Obscure, (1895). After this point in his life Hardy turned to poetry.
Hardy married in 1874 and the evidence of his literary output indicates that he became estranged from his wife. This changed in 1912 when she died, triggering in Hardy a grief and remorse so extreme that his will required that he be buried in her grave. The burden placed on his second wife, thirty-eight years younger, by this obsessive remorse, can only be guessed at.