Happy birthday, Thomas Hardy – 17 quotes


Happy birthday, Thomas Hardy!

Today is the birthday of Thomas Hardy (b.2 June 1840 – d.11 January 1928). Hardy was a celebrated and influential English novelist and poet. And is a favourite of mine. Author of such works as Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895). And some fine poetry. Most of Hardy’s fictional works were initially published as serials in magazines (as was common at the time). The settings were usually a semi-fictional region known as Wessex and the backgrounds populated by rustic characters in a declining rural society. Much of Hardy’s material was drawn from Dorset, a poor county in the South West of England, where rural life had remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years. I’m doubtful that quotes are the best way to show off Hardy’s writing, but I’m willing to have a go.

17 quotes from Thomas Hardy

17. “A novel is an impression, not an argument.”

16. “So many people make a name nowadays, that it is more distinguished to remain in obscurity.” [A Pair of Blue Eyes]

15. “Every successful man is more or less a selfish man. The devoted fail …” [Jude the Obscure]

14. “And at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be – and whenever I look up, there will be you. [Far From the Madding Crowd]

13. “I shouldn’t mind being a bride at a wedding, if I could be one without having a husband.” [Far From the Madding Crowd]

12. “We ought to have lived in mental communion, and no more.” [Jude the Obscure]

11. “A man’s silence is wonderful to listen to.”

10. “You have never loved me as I love you – never – never! Yours is not a passionate heart – your heart does not burn in a flame! You are, upon the whole, a sort of fay, or sprite – not a woman!” [Jude the Obscure]

9. “She was of the stuff of which great men’s mothers are made. She was indispensable to high generation, feared at tea-parties, hated in shops, and loved at crises.” [Far From the Madding Crowd]

8. “This happiness could not have lasted. It was too much. I have had enough; and now I shall not live for you to despise me!” [Tess of the D’Urbervilles]

7. “… and yet to every bad, there is a worse”

6. “O, how I wish I had never seen him! Loving is misery for women always.” [Far From the Madding Crowd]

5. “If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone.”

4. “Some folks want their luck buttered.” [The Mayor of Casterbridge]

3. “It was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity” [Tess of the D’Urbervilles]

2. “But his dreams were as gigantic as his surroundings were small.” [Jude the Obscure]

1. “Meanwhile, the trees were just as green as before; the birds sang and the sun shone as clearly now as ever. The familiar surroundings had not darkened because of her grief, nor sickened because of her pain. [Tess of the D’Urbervilles]


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