Not with any other author, even the inimitable Dickens, have I ever seen the linear progression in maturity and strength of writing as in Thomas Hardy's from his debut through Madding Crowd. This is his first What a Classic rating from my reviews as I read through his bookshelf in chronological order, earned by his powerful and appealing characters and his unflinching approach to moral issues and the flaws in those characters and the Wessex world around them. … more
Far From the Madding Crowd appeared serially in 1874. Its financial success allowed Hardy to give up architecture and devote all of his energy to writing. It is the story of the headstrong Bathsheba Everdene and the men in her life – Sergeant Troy, Farmer Boldwood, and the patient devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. According to my old (1967) “Oxford Companion to English Literature,” the main theme of Far From the Madding Crowd (and a favorite of Hardy’s) is “the contrast … more
Pastoral romance is more the stuff of poems than novels. In "Far From The Madding Crowd", the first of his celebrated Wessex novels published in 1874, Thomas Hardy devotes a full-scale narrative to the fancy of a shepherd's devotion to his love, with fitful success. The shepherd is Gabriel Oak, abandoned by his fickle love object, Bathsheba Everdene, and then by kind Providence when he freakishly loses his flock. His search for work leads him back to Bathsheba, who takes him … more
A young man falls victim to his own obsession with an amorous farm girl in this classic novel of fate and unrequited love. Published anonymously and first attributed, erroneously, to George Eliot, this Signet Classic version is set from Hardy's revised final draft-the authoritative Wessex edition of 1912.