His verse had a profound influence on later writers notably Philip Larkin who included many of Hardy's poems in the edition of the Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse that Larkin edited in 1973. In 1870 while on an architectural mission to restore the parish church of St Juliot in Cornwall Hardy met and fell in love with Emma Lavinia Gifford whom he married in 1874. Shortly after Hardy's death the executors of his estate burnt his letters and notebooks.
However since the 1950s Hardy has been recognized as a major poet and had a significant influence on The Movement poets of the 1950s and 1960s including Phillip Larkin. Initially therefore he gained fame as the author of such novels as Far from the Madding Crowd (1874) The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895). Hardy's Wessex is based on the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom and eventually came to include the counties of Dorset Wiltshire Somerset Devon Hampshire and much of Berkshire in south west England.