William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born at Stratford-on-Avon and was educated at the free Stratford Grammar School. There is no authentic documentation of his early life. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and moved to London in 1586 to become an actor, poet, dramatist and theatre manager. His well-known comedies are A Mid summer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice and Much A do About Nothing, while his outstanding tragedies are Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and Macbeth, among many more.
The first collected edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets appeared in 1609. There are totally 154 sonnets and the major themes of these sonnets include the destructive power of time, the permanence of poetry (art), triangular love and the analysis of amorous emotion (love). It has to be noted that apart from these 154 sonnets Shakespeare also wrote two long poems titled ‘Venus and Adonis’ and ‘The Rape of Lucrece’.
Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928) was both a novelist and a poet. In his novels he depicted people striving against overwhelming odds within a society that was uncaring. However, he sought to improve society.
Hardy’s poetry marks a bridge between the Victorian Ageand the Modernist movement of the twentieth century. Hardy’s use of ‘non-poetic’ language and odd rhymes, coupled with his fatalistic outlook, were both a source and inspiration to numerous twentieth century writers.