15 votes
Accepted

Did Thomas Hardy's books get more miserable with time, and was this because of his own life?

You could say that Thomas Hardy's work became more miserable as time went on; however, this is not explicitly true as even his earliest work was riddled with tragedy, including A Pair of Blue Eyes, ...
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10 votes

What does 'you med ask' mean, from "Jude the Obscure"?

Searching a Project Gutenberg etext of Jude the Obscure, I found a dozen other instances of "med", such as these: "Now don't you interrupt, my boy. Never interrupt your senyers. Move the fore hoss ...
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  • 2,255
10 votes

Was Thomas Hardy expressing his own religious intolerance or commenting on the general anti-Semitic sentiment of the time?

I think the answer will become clear if you re-read the passage (starting from the beginning of the chapter so that you have the full context) and carefully distinguish the points of view. When I do ...
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10 votes
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What justifies the anti-Tess interpretation of "Tess of the d'Urbervilles"?

It was mainly due to the Victorian interpretations of several events and actions in the novel and subsequent comments from contemporary critics. Firstly, Tess committed murder when she killed Alec. ...
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10 votes

Was Tess raped?

In addition to the excellent reasoning of the existing answer, I would like to add one detail. Although not much more can be gleaned from the edition that is in circulation today, the 1891 first ...
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10 votes
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Why is the country conjuror referred to as a "white wizard"?

The term "white wizard" is used in the context of the white magic / black magic distinction. Black magic is malevolent, used for harmful or evil purposes; white magic is benevolent, used for ...
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9 votes

Who's this 'certain obliterator of historic records' in "Jude the Obscure"?

The 'certain obliterator of historic records' is referring to a real person. It is widely thought that it was George Edmund Street, who was a Gothic revival architect. Hardy worked for revival ...
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8 votes

What does this passage about the atmosphere blowing from Cyprus and the Galilee mean in "Jude the Obscure"?

TL;DR: Galilee, where Jesus lived and preached, is a metonym for Christian morality; Cyprus, where Aphrodite emerged from the sea, for pagan sexuality. Context Even if the references are obscure, I ...
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7 votes

What does "I'll be D.D. before I have done!" mean?

Doctor of Divinity. The context is Jude ambitiously planning out his future life as an academic clergyman in Christminster (Oxford). From the same passage: And then he continued to dream, and thought ...
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7 votes
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What was the connection between Hardy and Keats?

TL;DR: (i) Keats’ biographer Sidney Colvin consulted Hardy, not as an expert on Keats, but rather as an expert on Lulworth Cove. (ii) Hardy (wrongly) believed that Keats had written ‘Bright Star’ at ...
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7 votes
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Why did Thomas Hardy fictionalise the place names in his Wessex?

As user Fabjaja notes in the comments, Wessex was originally a kingdom in Anglo-Saxon Britain. While some of its peers survive in modern nomenclature (such as the county of Essex), Wessex had not. The ...
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  • 14.9k
7 votes

Why does my copy of "Jude the Obscure" use 'part first' instead of 'first part' or something like that?

If you enter the google books search "part second" you will see this construction was a perfectly normal practice in the 1700 and 1800s. Here are some of the hits I got: to The Ploughboy: A Poem, ...
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  • 3,880
7 votes
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Historical King Ina and Shakespeare's King Lear in the writings of Thomas Hardy

There is little doubt that Shakespeare's play is based on the British King Leir, as the OP states. However, a similar story is also attached to King Ina. Indeed, it may have started there, been ...
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6 votes
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What's the significance of Liza-Lu?

The twist of Liza-Lu and Angel together at the end of Tess of the d'Urbervilles is odd, like you say, and does seem somewhat unnecessary. However, there are some points which can explain why Hardy ...
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6 votes
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Why was Far from the Madding Crowd first published anonymously?

It was the policy of Cornhill Magazine to publish all articles and serializations without a byline, so Hardy surely had no choice in the matter. If you look at volume 29 (January–June 1874), you’ll ...
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6 votes
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What is the significance of the name Jude, in Jude the Obscure?

Norman Holland’s essay on Jude the Obscure has a paragraph about the significance of the names of the major characters in the novel: In the novel as a whole, the principal complex of images is that ...
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5 votes
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"Remembrance Day" in "Jude the Obscure"

‘Remembrance Day’ is Hardy’s fictional version of Encaenia, the ceremony at which the University of Oxford awards honorary degrees to distinguished men and women and commemorates its benefactors. ...
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  • 40.9k
5 votes

Was Thomas Hardy expressing his own religious intolerance or commenting on the general anti-Semitic sentiment of the time?

This is an impossible question to answer definitively without a supporting quote from the author. No such quote appears to exist: I haven't been able to source anything in which Hardy discusses his ...
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  • 14.9k
5 votes

What does 'you med ask' mean, from "Jude the Obscure"?

Specifically ‘med’ represents (West) Berkshire dialect. Desmond Hawkins (1989), Hardy at Home: The People and Place of His Wessex: As [Hardy’s] practice developed he tended to simplify and ...
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  • 40.9k
5 votes

What does the fate of the old church tell us in "Jude the Obscure"?

This is part of a wider Hardy theme of romanticising the old-fashioned ruralness of the SW England countryside and disdaining the march of modernity. Such commentary appears a lot in Hardy's writing. ...
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5 votes
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Did Tess finally know that Alec was not a d'Urberville?

At least by implication, yes. Twice, in conversation with Tess, Alec refers to himself as a "sham" d'Urberville: “If you are a genuine d’Urberville I ought not to tell you either, I suppose....
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4 votes

Who's this 'certain obliterator of historic records' in "Jude the Obscure"?

I think this is more of a general commentary on the state of the English countryside at the time, rather than a reference to any particular person. Such commentary appears a lot in Hardy's writing. In ...
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4 votes

Should there be a trochee in the second to last line of Thomas Hardy's "The Oxen"?

I think your instincts are very good in choosing a trochee for the beginning of the third line. Emphasizing the "I" is meaningful The poet sets up this line by musing that if a person said the ...
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4 votes

Should there be a trochee in the second to last line of Thomas Hardy's "The Oxen"?

You could scan the second to last line as three trochees followed by an iamb. "In the lón|ely bár|ton by yón|der cóomb| Our chíld|hood úsed| to knów|," Í should| gó with| hím in| the glóom|, ...
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  • 8,033
4 votes
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Was Hardy's "A Few Crusted Characters" based directly on the Canterbury Tales?

Short of finding a definitive statement from Hardy, it is impossible to be sure. But it is very likely that A Few Crusted Characters was influenced by The Canterbury Tales. I have three lines of ...
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4 votes
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Meaning of "and a good halfpenny where 'twas a bad one" in Thomas Hardy's "Far from the Madding Crowd"

My interpretation is that Poorgrass gets a ha’penny bonus if the pig-killing is a ‘bad one’. Hardy is known to have been opposed to the prevalence of inhumane pig slaughter and in particular the ...
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4 votes
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How does the quote from Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona connect with Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles?

This epigraph is best dealt with by being broken down into two parts, but there are vague links between Hardy and Shakespeare's works tied together in this particular quote. (Also, it relates to the ...
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4 votes
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"What the Turk do it matter to us"?

There are a couple of other occurrences in Hardy of “Turk” as an imprecation or mild oath. ‘Come to that, is it? Turk! won't thy mother be in a taking! Well, she's ready, I don't doubt?’ Thomas Hardy ...
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