Thomas Hardy was born on Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester on June 2, 1840. Hardy succeeded on the death of his friend George Meredith to the presidency of the Society of Authors in 1909. King George V conferred on him the Order of Merit and he received in 1912 the gold medal of the Royal Society of Literature. Some of his major works include The Return Of The Native (1878),The Mayor Of Casterbridge (1886),Tess Of The D'urbervilles(1891), Jude The Obscure
Hardy's fourth novel, published in 1874 Madding Crowd became so successful that Hardy was able to give up architecture and devote himself to writing.