Titles of stories as they are best known are used throughout. Some dates of composition are approximate.

"How I Built Myself a House": Hardy's work in print for the first time, a short story in Chambers's Journal on 18 March 1865.

1840 In the third year of Victoria's reign, Thomas Hardy is born on the 2nd of June in a large cottage bordering the heath at Higher Bockhampton, three miles outside Dorchester, Dorset. The eldest son of a violin-playing builder and an ambitious mother, Thomas Hardy received from the former parent a love of music, and from the latter a love of books.
1848 Hardy could read before he entered the new school at Lower Bockhampton.
1849 Hardy was transferred to a private school in Dorchester.
1856 Hardy articled with Dorchester architect John Hicks.
1862 Hardy moved to London to take up more advanced architectural work with Arthur Blomfield. At this time, he wrote many poems, but failed to get any published.
1865 March: "How I Built Myself a House" [Hardy's first published work and first short story] appears in Chambers's Journal, 18 March.
1867 Returning to Dorset, depressed and disappointed by publishers' rejection of his early verse, Hardy assisted Hicks in church restorations.
1868 January: Hardy finished his first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, and submitted to both Macmillan and Chapman and Hall, but it was never published.
1870 7 Match. Hardy travelled to St. Juliot, northern Cornwall, to plan the restoration of the local parish church; here he met the rector's sister-in- law, Emma Lavinia Gifford
1871 March: Hardy published the sensation novel Desperate Remedies in three volumes with William Tinsley, but its sales were mediocre.
1872 June: Under the Greenwood Tree is published in two volumes by Tinsley, London. Instantly, critics compared it favourably to the work of George Eliot.
1872 Sept.: A Pair of Blue Eyes, illustrated by J. A. Pasquier, is published in Tinsley's Magazine in eleven parts, until July, 1873.
1874 Jan-Dec.: Far From the Madding Crowd is published in serial in the Cornhill Magazine in twelve numbers, illustrated by H. P. Allingham. February: Hardy agrees to have" Destiny and a Blue Cloak" published in the New York Times . F. B. Pinion describes this as" Hardy's first short story" in New Wessex edition of Thomas Hardy: Collected Short Stories (1988): p. 929. September: Hardy sends off finished draft of" Destiny and a Blue Cloak" to the New York Times ; Thomas Hardy marries Emma Gifford on 17 September. October 4: "Destiny and a Blue Cloak" published in the New York Times.
1875 July: The Hand of Ethelberta is published in serial in the Cornhill Magazine in eleven numbers, illustrated by George Du Maurier.
1876 April: The Hand of Ethelberta is published in volume form; Hardy and his wife have moved to Yeovil. May: Last instalment of The Hand of Ethelberta .
1877 "The Thieves Who Couldn't Help Sneezing" published in a children's annual. While living at Sturminster Newton, Hardy writes The Return of the Native.
1878 January: The Return of the Native begins in serial in Belgravia (Jan.-Dec.), il. Arthur Hopkins. March 22: Hardy moves to Hardy and his wife move to Upper Tooting, near Wandsworth Common (London). April 6: "The Duchess of Hamptonshire" (as "The Impulsive Lady of Croome Castle") published on 6 and 13 April in Light (11 and 18 May in Harpers Weekly). July: An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress published in The New Quarterly Magazine, and the first of its five instalments appears in Harper's Weekly.
1879 April 19:"The Distracted Preacher" published in the New Quarterly Magazine and in five parts in Harper's Weekly(19 April-17 May). Hardy at work on The Trumpet Major.
1880 January: The Trumpet-Major begins in serial in Good Words (Jan.-Dec.), il. John Collier. April 15: "Fellow-Townsmen" published in the New Quarterly Magazine, pp. 335- 83 (17 April-15 May, in 5 parts in Harpers Weekly). October: Hardy is seriously ill for next six months. December: A Laodicean begins in serial in Harper's New Monthly Magazine (Dec., 1880-Dec., 1881) in 13 numbers, il. George Du Maurier.

1881 June: Hardy moves to Wimborne. December 5: "What the Shepherd Saw" published in the Illustrated London News, pp. 19, 22- 3. December 10: "The Honourable Laura" published as "Benighted Travellers" in Harper's Weekly, pp. 826-7, and 17 Dec., pp. 858-9; and on 17 December in Bolton Weekly Journal (Christmas Leaves).
1882 May: Two on a Tower begins in serial in Atlantic Monthly in eight monthly nos. July: "A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four" sent off . November 25:" A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four" published in Harper's Christmas (Dec., 1882), pp. 26-7. December: last instalment of Two on a Tower in Atlantic Monthly.
1883 February:" The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid" sent off to the Graphic , beginning a nine-year relationship with this large-format weekly illustrated journal. March 1:" The Three Strangers" published in Longman's Magazine, pp. 569-88; in Harper's Weekly 3 March (pp. 134-5) and 10 (p. 151). June: the Hardys move to Dorchester, deciding to build a house there. June 25:" The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid" is published in the Graphic (Summer), pp. 4- 25, with four full-page illustrations by C. S. Reinhart; and in Harper's Weekly from 23 June to 4 August (with only three of Reinhart's illustrations). Hardy's essay "The Dorsetshire Labourer" is published in Longman's Magazine for July. By the end of the summer, Hardy has completed the children's adventure story Our Exploits at West Poley.
1884 Hardy is working on The Mayor of Casterbridge in this year. February 7: "The Duchess of Hamptonshire" is published as" The Impulsive Lady of Croome Castle" in Light (6 and 13 April): 7-8, 51-2; in Harper's Weekly (11 and 18 May): 370-1, and 394; as" Emmeline; or, Passion versus Principle" in the Independent (New York) 7 Feb., 1884 (pp. 215-35).
1885 February: "A Tryst at an Ancient Earthwork" written. March 15: "A Tryst at an Ancient Earthwork" published in The Detroit Post. April: The Mayor of Casterbridge finished. June 29: The Hardys move from ShireHall Place to Max Gate, a great house that he himself has designed and built on the outskirts of Dorchester. October 17 and 24: "A Mere Interlude" published in Bolton Weekly Journal.
1886 January 2: The Mayor of Casterbridge begins in weekly serial in The Graphic , illustrated by Robert Barnes. May: Last instalment of MoC; first instalment of The Woodlanders in Macmillan's Magazine (12 parts). May 10: The Mayor of Casterbridge is published in two volumes by Smith, Elder. (London).
1887 February: Hardy finishes writing The Woodlanders; visits Italy. April: Last (12th) instalment of The Woodlanders in Macmillan's Magazine. August: "Alicia's Diary" written. September: "The Withered Arm" written. October 15: "Alicia's Diary" published in Manchester Weekly Times Supplement. December 31: "The Waiting Supper" published in Harper's Weekly, pp. 965-7.
1888 January 7:" The Waiting Supper" published in Harper's Weekly, pp. 17-19. January: "The Waiting Supper" published in Murray's Magazine, pp. 42-67, and February, pp. 199-218. "The Withered Arm" published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, pp. 30-48. May: Wessex Tales published by Macmillan. August: "A Tragedy of Two Ambitions" written. September:" The First Countess of Wessex" written. December: "A Tragedy of Two Ambitions" published in The Universal Review (537-60), with six illustrations by George Lambert.
1889 September: About half of Tess of the D'Urbervilles sent off. December: "The First Countess of Wessex" published in Harper's New Monthly 80 (20-43), il. A. Parsons and C. S. Reinhart.
1890 January: "The Lady Penelope" published in Longman's Magazine, pp. 279-287. May: A Group of Noble Dames sent off. July: Hardy revised A Group of Noble Dames and sent off. July, second half: Most of stories in Life's Little Ironies written. November-December 1: A Group of Noble Dames published in The Graphic, Christmas : No. 1: "Barbara of the House of Grebe," p. 4-5; Harper's Weekly 29 Nov. No. 2: "The Marchioness of Stonehenge" (originally, "The Lady Caroline ") p. 9-12; Harper's Weekly 6 Dec., p. 959-62. No. 3: "Anna, Lady Baxby," p. 12-13; Harper's Weekly6 Dec., p. 962, 964. No. 4:" The Lady Icenway," p. 13; Harper's Weekly 13 Dec., p. 981, 984. No. 5:" Squire Petrick's Lady," p. 16; Harper's Weekly 13 Dec., p. 984. No. 6:" Lady Mottisfont," p. 16-20; Harper's Weekly 20 Dec., p. 994-5.
1891 March: "For Conscience' Sake" published in the Fortnightly Review 49: 370-382." The Doctor's Legend" in the New York Independent. March-June:" A Few Crusted Characters" published in Harper's New Monthly , illustrated by C. Green. april: "The Son's Veto" written. May: A Group of Noble Dames published by Osgood, McIlvaine June 27: "To Please His Wife" published in Black and White, 678-82, il. W. Hennessy. July 4: Tess of the D'Urbervilles begins its serial run in The Graphic, illustrated by Hubert Herkomer et al. November-December:" On the Western Circuit" published in The English Illustrated Magazine , il. W. Paget, and Harper's Weekly 28 Nov., il. W. T. Smedley. December 1: "The Son's Veto" published in The Illustrated London News: 20-21, 25. December 5: "What The Shepherd Saw" published in The Illustrated London News. December 26: Tess ends in weekly serial in The Graphic.
1892 July: Death of Hardy's father. October 1: The Well-Beloved begins in serial in The Illustrated London News December 17: Last instalment of The Well-Beloved (12 parts), il. Walter Paget.
1893 January: "The Fiddler of the Reels" sent off. March:" Master John Horseleigh, Knight" sent off. May: "The Fiddler of the Reels" published in Scribner's Magazine 13: 597-609, il. W. Hatherell. Hardy meets Florence Henniker. June 12: "Master John Horseleigh, Knight" published in The Illustrated London News, il. W. B. Wollen. September: "An Imaginative Woman" finished; "A Tryst at an Ancient Earthwork" revised. October: Life's Little Ironies assembled. December: "A Tryst at an Ancient Earthwork" published in The English Illustrated Magazine (281-8), with four photographs by W. Pouncy. Hardy is working on Jude the Obscure
1894 February: Life's Little Ironies published by Osgood, McIlvaine. April: "An Imaginative Woman" published in The Pall Mall Magazine, 951-69, il. A. J. Goodman. December: Jude the Obscure begins in serial as The Simpletons, and then as Hearts Insurgent for remaining eleven parts, and in Harper's New Monthly Magazine (Dec., 1894-Nov., 1895), illustrated by William Hatherell.
1895 March: Hardy finishes writing Jude. November: Jude is published in book form.
1896 August: "A Committee-Man of 'The Terror'" sent off. November 22:" A Committee-Man of 'The Terror'" is published in The Illustrated London News , illustrated by H. Burgess. December 14: "The Duke's Reappearance" is published in Saturday Review : 14-16. Throughout the year, the critics' hostile reception to Jude dispirits Hardy. His growing financial independence leads Hardy to return to his first love, poetry.
1897 March: The Well-Beloved published in book form. July: "The Grave by the Handpost" finished. November 30: "The Grave by the Handpost" is published in St. James's Budget , illustrated by G. H. Patterson.
1898 December: Hardy publishes his first book of verse, Wessex Poems; many of the poems contained therein date well back to the 1860s.
1900 January: "A Changed Man" written; on April 21 and 28, it is published in The Sphere (419-421; 451-2), illustrated by A. S. Hartrick. December: "Enter a Dragoon" is published in Harper's Monthly (pp. 25-35), illustrated by A. Hayman.
1902 The Dynasts, in dramatic blank verse, is published in three parts, one of the longest poems in the English language.
1910 Hardy receives the Order of Merit.
1912 April: Hardy responds to the sinking of the Titanic with the elegy "The Convergence of the Twain (Lines on the Loss of the ''Titanic')." November: Life's Little Ironies published (Wessex edition; Preface dated "May, 1912"). Wessex Tales published (Wessex edition; Preface dated "May, 1912"). A Group of Noble Dames published (Wessex edition). The death of Emma Hardy sets off a wave of self-recrimination and regret in Hardy that prompts him to write (and re-write) many poems about their relationship, since termed "The Emma Poems."
1913 October: "A Changed Man" and Other Tales published by Macmillan. Poems of 1912-13 published.
1914 "A Changed Man" and Other Tales published (Wessex edition). Shortly after his marriage to young Florence Dugdale, the First World War breaks out.
1928 11 January: Hardy dies at Max Gate. His eighth and last book of verse appears posthumously. In addition to his short stories and novels 'of character and environment' he has left us 1093 poems, both lyric and narrative, and numerous essays.
1929 February: "Old Mrs. Chundle" published posthumously in The Ladies' Home Journal (Philadelphia) at the instigation of Florence Hardy. Hardy recollected having written the story between 1888-1890.


"A Thomas Hardy Chronology" (Australian site, unfortunately no longer available).

Ray, Martin. "A Chronology of Thomas Hardy's Collected Short Stories." Thomas Hardy: A Textual Study of the Short Stories. Ashgate, 1997.

Last updated 14 December 2000