Desperate Remedies is a novel by English author Thomas Hardy, first published anomously in 1871. It is Hardy’s second novel, although the manuscript of his first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, never was published and that manuscript is lost.
After Hardy had trouble publishing his first novel, he was told to ”attempt a novel with a purely artistic purpose, giving it a more 'complicated' plot than was attempted with his first, unpublished novel.” The publication of Desperate Remedies was Hardy's breakthrough, and the first of a long string of novels that propelled him to the forefront of Victorian letters.
In Desperate Remedies a young woman, Cytherea Graye, is forced by poverty to accept a post as lady's maid to the eccentric Miss Aldclyffe, the woman whom her father had loved but had been unable to marry.
Cytherea in turn loves a young architect, Edward Springrove; but will Miss Adclyffe's machinations, the knowledge that Edward is already engaged to a woman whom he does not love, and the urgent need to support her sick brother drive Cytherea to accept the hand of Aeneas Manston? Will true love triumph in the end or will she be forced to live a life of misery with a man she doesn't love?
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist, in the tradition of George Eliot, he was also influenced both in his novels and poetry by Romanticism, especially by William Wordsworth.
Charles Dickens is another important influence on Thomas Hardy. Like Dickens, he was also highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focused more on a declining rural society.
Initially 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). 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.
The bulk of his fictional works, initially published as serials in magazines, were set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex and explored tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances. 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.