Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 near Dorchester, the son of a builder. His education was rural and ordinary for the time, teaching him a mixture of folklore, the realities of rural life, English literature and church music which was to be reflected in his novels. Apprenticeship and office work in architecture from 1856 to 1867 took him to with London, and also saw him submitting poetry for magazine publication, but without success. He returned to Dorchester and started writing novels, the first published being Desperate Remedies in 1871. Far From the Madding Crowd, in 1874, was a runaway success and made him economically secure. While moving around England and the Continent and ultimately settling back in the West Countryin the years that followed, Hardy wrote a string of major novels and short-story collections. The reception of Jude the Obscure (1895), however, led him to give up novels and return to poetry, which he wrote prolifically and eclectically, from lyrics to the three-part epic drama The Dynasts, from 1898 until his death, having gradually become a literary establishment figure, in 1928.