1840: 2 June Thomas Hardy born at Higher Bockhampton, Dorset, eldest child of a builder, Thomas Hardy, and Jemima Hand, who had been married for less than six months. Younger siblings: Mary (b. 1841), Henry (b. 1851), and Katherine (Kate) (b. 1856).
1848-1856: Schooling in Dorset.
1856: Hardy watches the hanging of Martha Browne for the murder of her husband (thought to be remembered in the death of Tess Durbeyfield on the gallows).
1856-1862: Articled to Dorchester architect John Hicks, later to become his assistant. During the late 1850s developed his important friendship with Horace Moule (eight years older, middle-class, and Cambridge educated) who becomes his intellectual mentor and encourages his self-education in the Classics.
1862: Employed as a draughtsman by London architect Arthur Bloomfield. Hardy's self-education continues, incorporating earlier English writers, lectures, art galleries and operas.
1867: Returns to Dorset as a jobbing architect and works for Hicks on church restoration.
1868: Completes his first novel The Poor Man and the Lady but it is rejected for publication.
1869: Works for the architect R.G. Crickmay in Weymouth, again on church restoration.
1870: Meets Emma Lavinia Gifford, his future wife, on a professional visit to St. Juliot in north Cornwall.
1871: Desperate Remedies.
1872: Under the Greenwood Tree.
1873: A Pair of Blue Eyes (based on his meeting with Emma). Horace Moule commits suicide in his rooms at Cambridge University.
1874: Far From the Madding Crowd. Hardy marries Emma and they live in Surbiton, London.
1875: Hardy and Emma return to Dorset to live in Swanage.
1876: The Hand of Ethelberta.
1878: The Return of the Native. The Hardys move back to London to live in Tooting. A version of part of Hardy's unpublished first novel appears in the New Quarterly Magazine as An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress.
1881: The Trumpet-Major.
1881: A Laodicean. The Hardys return to Dorset and live in Wimborne.
1882: Two on a Tower.
1884: Hardy becomes a Justice of the Peace and serves as a magistrate in Dorchester.
1885: The Hardys move into Max Gate, designed by Hardy and built by his brother Henry, where they remain for the rest of their lives.
1886: The Mayor of Casterbridge.
1887: The Woodlanders. The Hardys begin their annual visits to London for 'the Season', and travel to Italy.
1888: Wessex Tales. The Hardys visit Paris.
1891: Tess of the d'Urbervilles. A Group of Noble Dames.
1892: Hardy's father Thomas dies. The serial version of The Well-Beloved appears in the Illustrated London News, vastly different from the novel that would be published five years later.
1893: Hardy meets Florence Henniker, one of a number of society women who would become extremely important to him. Collaborates with her on The Spectre of the Real (pub. 1894).
1894: Life's Little Ironies.
1895: Jude the Obscure.
1895-6: Sixteen volume edition of The Wessex Novels.
1897: The Well-Beloved, Hardy's final novel.
1898: Wessex Poems and Other Verses. Emma moves into the attic at Max Gate.
1901: Poems of the Past and the Present (post-dated to 1902).
1904: Hardy's mother Jemima dies. Part 1 of The Dynasts.
1905: Hardy meets Florence Dugdale, who would later become his second wife.
1906: Part 2 of The Dynasts.
1908: Part 3 of The Dynasts.
1909: Time's Laughing Stocks and Other Verses.
1910: Hardy is awarded the Order of Merit, having previously refused a knighthood. He also receives the Freedom of Dorchester.
1912: 27 November Emma dies.
1912-13: 24 volume edition of novels and verse - the Wessex Edition.
1913: Poems of 1912-1913. A Changed Man and Other Tales.
1914: Satires of Circumstance. The Dynasts: Prologue and Epilogue. Hardy marries Florence Dugdale.
1915: Hardy's sister Mary dies.
1916: Selected Poems.
1917: Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous Verses.
1919-20: 37 volume edition of novels and verse - the Mellstock Edition.
1922: Late Lyrics and Earlier with Many Other Verses.
1923: The Famous Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall. Florence Henniker dies. Edward VIII visits Max Gate.
1924: Dramatized version of Tess is first performed, Hardy becomes infatuated with the lead actress Gertrude Bugler.
1925: Human Shows, Far Phantasies, Songs and Trifles.
1928: 11 January Hardy dies. His heart is buried with Emma in Stinsford, his ashes in Westminster Abbey. Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres published posthumously. Hardy's brother Henry dies.
1928-30: Hardy's autobiography completed by his second wife Florence and published under her name.
1937: Hardy's second wife Florence dies.
1940: Hardy's youngest sibling Kate dies.
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