The Darkling Thrush
Analysis: Brain Snacks
Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
Hardy taught himself to read (source).
After critics reacted with shock and horror to the "immorality" of Hardy's last few novels (especially Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure), Hardy gave up writing fiction altogether and switched entirely to poetry. He liked poetry better, anyway (source).
Thomas Hardy wanted to be buried next to his wife in the churchyard of their hometown, but his executor had other ideas: he wanted to bury the famous writer in the "Poets' Corner" of Westminster Cathedral, in London. Hardy's family and the executor came to a compromise: Hardy's body was buried at Westminster, but his heart was buried next to his wife, Emma, in Stinsford. There's a crazy rumor that the housekeeper who was in charge of getting Hardy's heart to Stinsford left it sitting on the kitchen table, and a cat ate it. The housekeeper, stricken with guilt, replaced Hardy's heart with a pig's heart from the butcher. This is probably just an urban legend, but we'll never know for sure! (source).