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TWO ON A TOWER (1882) is a tale of star-crossed love in which Hardy sets the emotional lives of his two lovers against the background of the stellar universe. The unhappily married Lady Constantine breaks all the rules of social decorum when she falls in love with Swithin St. Cleeve, an astromer who is ten years her junior. Her husband's death leaves the lovers free to marry, but the discovery of a legacy forces them apart. This is Hardy's most complete treatment of the theme of love across the class and age divide and the fullest expression of his fascination with science and astromy.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was born and educated in Dorchester. He embarked on a career in architecture which he was able to give up with the increasing success of his novels. He published sixteen novels, as well as many short stories and poems. After the hostile reaction to JUDE THE OBSCURE in 1895, he stopped writing fiction to concentrate on poetry. Sally Shuttleworth is a Lecturer in English at the University of Sheffield. She has written a book on George Eliot and 19th-century science.