I have found in Hardy delicacy and beauty in all respects. His novels are not mere fiction of his imagination. I find in them his own personal experiences of the earlier years, presented in an artistic perfection. They are based to a large extent upon his own, individual observation and experience.
Hardy has an important place in English literature because of his poems and highly successful novels. However, it is owing to his great novels that he could earn for himself name, fame and prominence. Among his well-known novelists of the durbar villas, far from the madding crowd, the return of the native, the mayor of Caster Bridge and Jude the obscure are the prominent ones.
Most of his novels are full of sufferings, tears and painful struggles of life and are tragic in nature. My liking and fascination too for this great novelist is also based on my personal experiences of my own life that has been full of pathos setbacks and frustration. I always missed what I desired for often forcing me to feel that my Fate connives somewhere against me and hence failure and disappointment in all what I do! And this is exactly what Hardy’s novels contain.
For him Fate is the ‘villain’ in most of his novels. Though he has made his characters fight hard against the odds of life, but it proves to be a losing battle in the end. After the heroine’s death in ‘Tess of the Durbervilles’, Hardy writes:
Justice was done and the President of the Immortals had ended His sport with Tess.
Some of his critics, however, call his characters the people with psychological weaknesses. Most of Hardy’s stories are enacted in fictional land of Wessex, a place of unfavourable and gloomy landscapes, fully suited to stories of tragedy. It was, indeed, his birthplace, Dorset.
One of his most successful novels is ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’, wherein selfish love is contrasted with selfless one. His poetry is mostly lyrical. He has also given us a drama in verse, called the Dynasts, running in three volumes.
The poem focuses on Napoleon, and Hardy has used abstract figures to represent the blind force that according to him is behind all our actions and their outcome.
Thus I get in my great, renowned author everything that I enjoy-mind-absorbing stories, fascinating plots, unpredictable/ mischievous machinations of fate, wonderful description of Nature and the fanciful imagery of a great poet. No wonder, I always run to him, whenever I have time to relax and spare.