Novelist and poet, born in Upper Bockhampton, Dorset, S England, UK. After schooling in Dorchester, he studied as an architect, and at 22 moved to London, where he began to write poems expressing his love of rural life. Unable to publish his poetry, he turned to the novel, and found success with Far from the Madding Crowd (1874). He then took up writing as a profession, and produced a series of novels, notably The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1896). His main works were all tragedies, increasingly pessimistic in tone, and after Tess he was dubbed an atheist. He then took up poetry again, writing several volumes of sardonic lyrics, as well as the moving elegies to his first wife Emma Gifford (d.1912), and the epic drama, The Dynasts (1903–8). Several of his novels have been filmed and televised, notably Far from the Madding Crowd (Schlesinger, 1967) and Tess (Polanski, 1979).
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