Far from the Madding Crowd (Hardcover)
Far From the Madding Crowd, published in 1874, is the book that made Hardy famous.Bathsheba Everdene is a prosperous farmer in Hardy's fictional Wessex county whose strong-minded independence and vanity lead to disastrous consequences for her and the three very different men who pursue her: the obsessed farmer William Boldwood, dashing and seductive Sergeant Frank Troy, and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Despite the violent ends of several of its major characters, Far from the Madding Crowd is the sunniest and least brooding of Hardy's great novels, as Bathsheba and her suitors move through a beautifully realized late-nineteenth-century agrarian landscape that is still almost untouched by the industrial revolution and the encroachment of modern life. With an introduction by Michael Slater
About the Author
Thomas Hardy, whose writing immortalized the Wessex countryside and dramatized his sense of the inevitable tragedy of life, was born at Upper Bockhampton, near Stinsford in Dorset in 1840, the eldest child of a prosperous stonemason. As a youth he trained as an architect and in 1862 obtained a post in London. During his time he began seriously to write poetry, which remained his first literary love and his last. In 1867-68, his first novel was refused publication, butUnder the Greenwood Tree (1872), his first Wessex novel, did well enough to convince him to continue writing. In 1874, Far from the Madding Crowd, published serially and anonymously in the Cornhill Magazine, became a great success. Hardy married Emma Gifford in 1878, and in 1885 they settled at Max Gate in Dorchester, where he lived the rest of his life. There he had wrote The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895). With Tess, Hardy clashed with the expectations of his audience; a storm of abuse broke over the "infidelity" and "obscenity" of this great novel he had subtitled "A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented." Jude the Obscure aroused even greater indignation and was denounced as pornography. Hardy's disgust at the reaction to Jude led him to announce in 1869 that he would never write fiction ever again. He published Wessex Poems in 1898, Poems of the Past and Present in 1901, and from 1903 to 1908, The Dynast, a huge drama in which Hardy's conception of the Immanent Will, implicit in the tragic novels, is most clearly stated. In 1912 Hardy's wife, Emma died. The marriage was childless and had been a troubled one, but in the years after her death, Hardy memorialized her in several poems. At seventy-four he married his longtime secretary, Florence Dugdale, herself a writer of children's books and articles, with whom he live happily until his death in 1928. His heart was buried in the Wessex Countryside; his ashes were placed next to Charles Dickens's in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey.
“Far from the Madding Crowd is the first of Thomas Hardy’s great novels, and the first to sound the tragic note
for which his fiction is best remembered.”