The article engages with Hardys canonical fictional works from the perspective of the existentialist notion of facticity and, also, its relation with free will. His globally acclaimed masterpieces, The Return of the Native and Tess of the DUrbervilles, have been explicated with the help of the five conceptual components of the philosophical stance of facticity propounded by Jean Paul Sartre: place, past, surroundings, fellow-brethren, and death. Hardys predilection for a more pessimistic portrayal of various dimensions of life and foregrounding failure has always remained a guiding factor for his critics. However, by locating the texts in the frame of selected theoretical postulates and substantiating the relevant features with the appropriate textual instances, the study has made a crucial intervention in the critical tradition pivoted on Hardys oeuvre. Therefore, the article contributes to the study of the great Victorian novelists tragic vision by elaborating it from a different theoretical position and locating it in a thicker philosophical frame. Methodologically, the approach is a qualitative one that relies purely on the textual analysis for its interpretative activity. Thus, the critique stands as a significant contribution to the philosophical reading of canonical literature that, in turn, triggers social awareness besides intellectual accomplishment.
Key words: Existentialism, Novel, Thomas Hardy, Facticity, Jean Paul Sartre