Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in Dorset, trained in his youth as an architect, and moved to London in 1862 to work in architecture. After the publication of Far From the Madding Crowd in 1874, Hardy became sufficiently successful to focus full time on his writing, and he did not return to architecture thereafter. He married his first wife, Emma, whom he met in Cornwall on a business trip, in 1874 and moved with her to Max Gate, a home he designed in Dorset, in 1885. Although Hardy is most often associated with rural life, he did live for several years in London and then chose to return to his geographical roots. Hardy and Emma remained together until her death in 1912; two years later, he married his much younger secretary Florence Dugdale. During his years with Emma, he is thought to have had one or two chaste affairs with other women with whom he felt an intellectual kinship, and his eventual marriage to Florence grew out of their many years of professional and personal relationship during Hardy’s marriage to Emma. He continued to write prolifically until his death, at the age of 87, in 1928.
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