Revision with unchanged content. The nineteenth century was a time of fundamental changes in British society. The great Victorian writer Thomas Hardy reflects upon this time of transition by creating a setting for his regional novels which is much more than a mere background to the narration. Over the years his perception and representation of nature and landscape changes, partly influenced by the findings of Charles Darwin, partly caused by the effects of the Industrial Revolution. This book analyses regional elements in three of Hardy's novels, namely Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) and Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891). It shows why and how he moves away from the pastoral to a more realistic depiction of rural English society. Aspects that will be looked at in greater detail are the oppositions of country and town, tradition and change, social acceptance and exclusion, dialect speech and standard English and the relationship between external and internal nature. This book is of interest to scholars of Thomas Hardy and English literature but it also appeals to anyone wanting to gain some deeper insight into the development of the novel in the nineteenth century.