Evening photos: Thomas Hardy country, England

Dorset on England’s south coast. In his novels, Thomas Hardy called the area ‘Wessex,’ a ‘partly real, partly dream’ country. By Andy Haslam, New York Times.

It was in Lulwind Cove, an inlet on England’s south coast, that the dastardly Sergeant Troy took an impromptu swim in “Far From the Madding Crowd,” Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel about an uncommonly independent Victorian woman and her suitors.

The water in the cove was “smooth as a pond,” Hardy wrote, until Troy “swam between the two projecting spurs of rock which formed the pillars of Hercules to this miniature Mediterranean,” whereupon he was swept out to sea and presumed drowned, only to make a dramatic reappearance — this being a Hardy novel — at a most inconvenient moment…

Wisteria-framed-window-estateWisteria-framed window at Mapperton Estate, where ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ was filmed. Andy Haslam, The New York Times

cottage-Thomas-Hardy-bornThe cottage in Higher Bockhampton where Thomas Hardy was born in 1840. Andy Haslam, The New York Times

  • Brett_McS

    Being a tech-head I didn’t like English much at school, but I did like Thomas Hardy’s novels. Except for attending school he lived his whole life in the same village – a corrective to the ‘travel broadens the mind’ pablum.

    • Frau Katze

      I didn’t even get as far as reading any of his work. I had heard of the novels of course. The plots sound pretty depressing, so I think I’ll skip them.

      I just liked the top picture.

      • tom_billesley

        The idyll is under threat, though most of the invaders will demand a London address. Today’s lead in “The Times”:

        Plans by Brussels to force Britain to take in tens of thousands of refugees pulled from the Mediterranean have saddled David Cameron with the first battle of his new premiership.
        Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, will confront the newly elected Conservative government this week with legislation for a mandatory migrant quota system. For the first time, the system will share responsibility for “mass influxes” of non-EU migrants among the 28 member states during times of “emergency”, as decided by the commission.


        • Frau Katze

          Yep. Now wouldn’t that first picture be improved by a mosque? It looks so empty.

      • Kaye

        HIs poetry tends to the dark side as well, but (I personally find) not so much and can have a sweetness to it at times. Worth a glance if you’re into poetry at all.

      • Years ago I read “Jude the Obscure” – after finishing it, I had no desire to go through the rest of his dark works. Maybe they were his revenge against the world for being confined to the same village for the most of his life. By the way, his novels were promoted in the communist countries as an accusatory depiction of the evils of capitalism.

      • AlanUK

        You made a wise decision not to read any of Hardy’s novels. I had to study “The Trumpet Major” in depth for an exam (English Literature, GCE ‘O’ Level). I passed the exam but hated the book and I have never touched another of his writings since. My wife had a similar experience with “Tess of the d’Urbervilles at ‘A’ level!
        As a matter of interest and in case anyone challenges you, Lulwind Cove is correct. Hardy used real places in his novels but changed their names. Thus Lulworth Cove was renamed Lulwind cove.

  • AlanUK

    Dorset is the home county of much of the world-renowned Jurassic Coast. This is an area of great beauty and of international importance to Geology and its effect on scenery.
    There is an amazing website that covers the geology of the Jurassic Coast (and other areas) in great depth (over 10,000 web pictures!). It has been the lifetime work of Professor Emeritus Ian West (formerly of Southampton Uni.) and still kept up to date.
    If anyone has any interest in geology, fossils, geomorphology, coastal scenery it would be worth their while to have a look. The home page is:


    For the Index, scroll down past the pictures
    Incidentally, the first photo, above, is of the Fleet Lagoon, protected by Chesil Beach.