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Thomas Hardy's Dorset

The fictional county of Wessex in the novels of Thomas Hardy (1840–1928) is a thinly disguised portrait of the author’s native Dorset. During Hardy’s lifetime, technological and social changes were reshaping the rural landscape and customs from which his characters spring.

His writing often stresses the insignificance of human emotions and endeavours in the face of the exquisite but overwhelmingly indifferent forces of nature. ’Tess of the D’Urbevilles’ is among those works Hardy himself classified as his "novels of character and environment".

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