Thomas Hardy is regarded throughout
the world as one of the greatest English writers. His
total achievement as novelist, poet, short story writer
is such that he is thought by many as second in greatness
only to Shakespeare. Among his fourteen published novels
there have been such successes as Far from the Madding
Crowd, The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge,
The Woodlanders and Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
The reasons for this lasting appeal are many –
a tremendous honesty to his own deep and sensitive experience
of life, immense scholarship, astonishing powers of
observation and wide-ranging technical skills being
just some of them.
Your first stop today will be in Dorchester, Hardy’s
Casterbridge, and a visit to the Dorset County Museum
which has the greatest collection of Hardy manuscripts,
books and memorabilia in the world, and attracts many
scholars. See the gallery dedicated to Hardy and also
a reconstruction of his study. There are also many other
display rooms here, telling the story of local wildlife,
rocks and fossils, archaelogy and history.
Afterwards visit the Hardy Monument, just outside Dorchester,
erected in 1844 in memory of Hardy. It stands on Black
Down, from where there are glorious views across the
Dorset countryside to the sea.