“Only a pallid moth, alas, / Tapped at the pane for me”
July 19, 2018 11:25 AM   Subscribe

A visit with photos to Max Gate, the house that Thomas Hardy built in 1885 and lived in for the rest of his life. Half his novels and most of his poetry was written there.
posted by Quasirandom (6 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
No A/C-- no heat!
No garage-- no squash court--
No fridge-- no radar range-- no proper sort of amenity.
No internet, no phone, no netflix and chill,
No social media of any caliber -
No grill, no pool, no BBQ, no diving board,
No corndogs, no chili, no tacos, no fun! --
$3000/mo. by owner
posted by phooky at 1:33 PM on July 19, 2018

(This place looks beautiful and the pet cemetery is charming and not at all creepy, which is a nice surprise)
posted by phooky at 1:34 PM on July 19, 2018

awww he had a dog named Wessex
posted by supermedusa at 1:45 PM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Max Gate is about 400 yards from the house I grew up in and my Dad worked as a guide there when he first retired.

Local legend has it that upon his death, Hardy's heart was to be buried locally in Stinsford Church and his ashes to be taken to Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey. His heart was removed and kept in a tin at Max Gate until the day of the burial at Stinsford. It unfortunately attracted the attention of one of Hardy's cats who managed to open the tin and had a bit of a nibble on the delectable morsel.

This was discovered by the undertaker who grabbed the offending animal, wrung its neck and put its body (along with what was left of the heart) in the tin to be placed into the casket for burial.

Cecil Day-Lewis, Daniel's father, Hardy admirer & Poet Laureate from 1968 - 1972 is also buried in the same churchyard as the cat.
posted by jontyjago at 2:36 PM on July 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

That is an awesome legend. Thank you!
posted by Quasirandom at 3:04 PM on July 19, 2018

Robert Graves was a friend of Hardy. In his (Graves's) essay The Poet in a Valley of Dry Bones (available in his On poetry: collected talks and essays and in Mammon and the Black Goddess) he gives this anecdote concerning the Oxford English Dictionary:

"The exact right word is sometimes missing from the dictionary. Thomas Hardy told me, in 1924 or so, that he now made it his practice to confirm doubtful words and that, a few days before, when looking up one such in the OED, he had found it, to be sure. But the only reference was 'Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd, 1874.'"
posted by BWA at 5:09 PM on July 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

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