Thomas Hardy – pushed and pulled by women

The author Thomas Hardy is another man with Pluto in the 10th for whom women were the central core of his life yet treated badly. He wrote some of the most memorable heroines in fiction but his first wife, who retreated to live in a dusty attic in their house for fourteen years wrote: “He understands only the women he invents — the others not at all.”

Bathsheba, the heroine of Far from the Madding Crowd is an independent farmer who rejects marriage because she hates “to be thought men’s property”. Sue Bridehead in Jude the Obscure lives in sin with her cousin and is praised as the “enfranchised woman of his imagination” (he was a supporter of the Suffragette movement). In Tess of the D’Urbervilles Hardy makes it clear that it is always the woman who pays the penalty: Tess’s exploitation is blamed on the men who let her down.

  In a different sphere of life but not dissimilar to Hefner and Guccione whose entire lives revolved around and were saturated with women yet treated by them with anything but decency and dignity.

  Hardy, born 2 June 1840 8AM Upper Buckhampton, England which gave him a Sun Mars in Gemini trine an uncommitted Neptune in the 7th house of relationships. His Pluto on his Midheaven was square a 12th house Cancer Moon which was conjunct Chiron.

 ADB describes his mother as assertive and elsewhere she is described as interfering, demanding unquestioning devotion from her children. She could also be cold and remote,  intolerant in her views. The Plutonic mother whom he described once as ‘his guiding star’ but also dominating and possessive. It damaged his real life relationships though inspired him to portray the pressures society brought to bear on women.  A strange dichotomy. He was obsessed with women, yet so frightened of them they had to retreat to the attic.

10 thoughts on “Thomas Hardy – pushed and pulled by women

  1. I’m a bit sceptical about these revisionist biographies of famous male artists and writers being written at present, in the light of #MeToo and “believe all women”.

    Looking at Thomas Hardy’s first wife’s, Emma Gifford’s chart, 24 November 1840 Plymouth, Devon; it shows a woman any man might find difficult to live with; her Sun, Moon and Jupiter square Uranus, her Mercury conjunct Saturn square Mars and Uranus and her Venus square Mars. That suggests to me an erratic, highly emotional, unpredictable person, quite possibly hostile towards men and with a tendency to nervous breakdown.
    Perhaps Emma retreated to the attic not because Thomas was afraid of her, which does’nt make a lot of sense somehow, but because divorce was not an option and they could not live together happily and calmly, not surprising considering her chart.

  2. While Hardy was not a great husband, his first wife seems, poor soul, to have had mental health problems – the sort of health problems that were not so severe that she needed hospitalisation, but severe enough to make her hard work to be around. It probably didn’t help that she had no children, and I am sure I read somewhere that she wouldn’t have marital relations with him. One has to remember that divorce in those days was very difficult to arrange, as well as being social death.
    Yet when she died, he wrote some of his finest poetry. One wonders what the equally miserable and long-suffering Florence made of that.
    On the other hand, if Hardy had had a happier marriage, do you think he would have written so much and so well? Many of the world’s finest writers have had pretty unhappy domestic lives, and so to compensate put their efforts into their writing.

  3. having bled from a vein in no man’s land (the somme) for 3 days (the Drs said he should have died) our grandad lost his right leg below the knee. He was sent to a country house to convalesce where the Lady of the house gave him some Hardy books to read because he liked to read. One afternoon he was reading in the garden and a guy asked him what he was reading and stopped to chat for a while. That evening the Lady asked him what he and Thomas Hardy had been talking about.

    I hated tess of the D’urbevilles – like being burned by a blowtorch

  4. Tess is me, I never so identified with a fictional character, until I first watched Natasha Kinski portray her in Tess of the D’Urbervilles, which led me to read and fall in love with Hardy’s novel.

    I was born with Scorpio Neptune in the 4th, it is the apex which squares my 1st house Leo Sun/Venus, and 8th house Aqua Saturn. I was born and raised in more modern, but similar strange family situations. I felt such gratitude for Thomas Hardy, he truly made me feel understood and heard, as a person and a woman.

  5. Hardy’s first wife Emma Gifford was apparently a snob who looked down on Hardy’s family as social inferiors. I always felt more sympathy for Hardy’s second wife Florence Dugdale.

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