DAY 13 – YOUR FAVOURITE WRITER
Thomas Hardy – what can I say? If it hadn’t been for him, I would never have read Charles Dickens, the Brontes, or George Eliot. I would never have been tempted to try Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. And I wouldn’t have discovered Flaubert, Dumas or Zola. Thomas Hardy was my gateway to the classics of 19th Century literature. And I love him. (BTW – the book attached to this post is the fabulous biography by Claire Tomalin).
I'm not going to bore you with all the details of Hardy's life and books, but instead I'm going to share two little gems about him. Admittedly one of them is probably apocryphal, but I will present them to you anyway.
So who hates it when a book you're really enjoying ends on a cliff-hanger? OK, that's most of us. Well I'm afraid you can blame Mr Hardy for that one. The term ‘cliff-hanger’ was first used during the serialisation of his novel A Pair of Blue Eyes. The protagonist is literally left hanging from a cliff, and the readers had to wait for the next episode to find out what happens.
The other nugget of information, is that when Hardy died, it was determined that his body and his heart should be interred separately. His body was cremated and the ashes are in Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey. And in accordance with his wishes, his heart was buried alongside the body of his first wife, Emma. Well, except that it possibly wasn’t his heart, it may be a pig’s. The legend goes that after his heart had been removed, the doctor who did the deed left the room momentarily and his cat jumped on the table and ate it. Way to go, Tiddles!