He must compete with the dashing young soldier Sergeant Troy and respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. And while their fates depend upon the choice Bathsheba makes, she discovers theterrible consequences of an inconstant heart. Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of Hardy's novels to give the name of Wessex to the landscape of south-west England, and the first to gain him widespread popularity as a novelist. Set against the backdrop of the unchanging natural cycle of the year, the story both upholds and questionsrural values with a startlingly modern sensibility.
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He must compete with the dashing young soldier Sergeant Troy and respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. And while their fates depend upon the choice Bathsheba makes, she discovers theterrible consequences of an inconstant heart. Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of Hardy's novels to give the name of Wessex to the landscape of south-west England, and the first to gain him widespread popularity as a novelist.
Set against the backdrop of the unchanging natural cycle of the year, the story both upholds and questionsrural values with a startlingly modern sensibility. This new edition retains the critical text that restores previously deleted and revised passages. Departe de lumea dezlantuita cristi.
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Description 'I shall do one thing in this life - one thing for certain - that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die. User reviews LibraryThing member atimco. Thomas Hardy is one of those authors whose works I do enjoy — but grudgingly.
His strong descriptive powers, well-written characters, and interesting plots are all points in his favor. But there is something dark running in the vein below, a grimness that I find disturbing. As the back of this audiobook copy of Far From The Madding Crowd would have it, Hardy's sense of inevitable human tragedy was already manifesting itself in this tale.
Far From The Madding Crowd tells the story of Bathsheba Everdene, a beautiful and independent young woman who is sought by three very different suitors. Gabriel Oak is the first man to fall in love with her, and after her rejection he falls upon hard times and is forced to seek work as a shepherd. Of course it is Bathsheba who eventually hires him. Her second suitor is one Farmer Boldwood, a moody and passionate man who is awakened to Bathsheba's charms by a foolish Valentine's Day card she sends him, quite in jest.
And the third is a dashing officer, Sergeant Francis Troy, who is as captivating and handsome as he is selfish. Hardy really takes the time to set up his characters, and they are all very well written. Bathsheba in particular is a fascinating creation. In some ways she is quite a little feminist, having no inducement to the marriage state in the abstract that would tempt her to seize the chance when it is offered her.
And after she catches her bailiff stealing, Bathsheba is determined to run her inherited farm herself — an unprecedented act for a woman in that time. But Hardy was something of a misogynist, and often peppers his narrative with derogatory comments about the female sex.
One such example is this: "'It was not exactly the fault of the hut,' she observed in a tone which showed her to be that novelty among women — one who finished a thought before beginning the sentence which was to convey it. I don't like to judge works by the standards of a different time, but I certainly was occasionally annoyed with this misogyny. Other times, once I understood Hardy was like that, it amused more than offended me.
Hardy's deep cynicism is not just directed toward women. God comes in for a fair share of the blame; Boldwood's disastrous encounters with Troy are called "Heaven's persistent irony" toward him. It is the gargoyles on the church, monstrosities sanctioned by religion, that are responsible for the horrific accident that disfigures Fanny's grave. Because of this mutilation, Troy's half-formed good resolutions produced by Fanny's death are instantly dashed, and the fault laid at Heaven's door: "To turn about would have been hard enough under the greatest providential encouragement; but to find that Providence, far from helping him into a new course, or showing any wish that he might adopt one, actually jeered his first trembling and critical attempt in that kind, was more than nature could bear.
Indeed, it is almost as if God wants Troy to be damned and takes active steps to ensure that it is so. This is classic Hardy. And yet religion is not portrayed in a uniformly bad light; Gabriel is observed by Bathsheba in the very act of kneeling in prayer, in direct contrast to her agitated and rebellious frame of mind.
The reader is left with the idea that this bedtime prayer is a ritual of Gabriel's, and that it has a not inconsiderable share in helping him face his troubles calmly and with dignity. The focus here is on the man, however, and not the God to whom he is praying. From the first Hardy sets up his characters on a large stage, not so much in their provincial surroundings but by the literary references he uses to describe them.
When Gabriel Oak first sees Bathsheba from a distance, he is pictured as "Milton's Satan" watching Eve from a bird's-eye view. When Bathsheba arouses Boldwood's interest, he is compared to Adam awakening from his sleep to behold Eve. The reader is given to understand that these few titles have a profound effect on Oak and change him from the morally pliable man of the opening chapters to something of a solid rock, dependable and upright in all he does.
Despite the darker themes, Hardy is not all doom and gloom. His sense of humor is most often displayed in the rustic country folk of Wessex, whose mannerisms and foibles are treated with fond indulgence. One character, Joseph Poorgrass, suffers from what he calls "the multiplying eye" — a condition that only assails him in taverns when he's had a bit too much to drink. The relationships among these country folk are also portrayed in a comical light; one instance is the way the worthies of the village try to calm the affronted maltster by agreeing he is the oldest man they know.
Young Cainy Ball's breathless recital of what he had seen in Bath is a small masterpiece of comedy, as he chokes and sprays his listeners with crumbs, and is remonstrated for his careless breathing and eating habits.
You'll choke yourself some day, that's what you'll do, Cain Ball. And I've been visiting to Bath because I had a felon on my thumb; yes, and I've seen — ahok-hok! A coral reef which just comes short of the ocean surface is no more to the horizon than if it had never been begun, and the mere finishing stroke is what often appears to create an event which has long been potentially an accomplished thing.
There was a change in Boldwood's exterior from its former impassibleness; and his faceshowed that he was now living outside his defences for the first time, and with a fearful sense of exposure. It is the usual experience of strong natures when they love. I very much enjoyed his narration, though I did find the lengthy descriptions of nature to drag a bit.
Lee's character voices are excellent, with the exception of the female characters; a deep-voiced man just can't create a believably feminine voice. I don't think I will ever enthusiastically recommend Hardy; he isn't an author whose works can really be loved, at least not by me. But they do have a quality about them that invites contemplation, mainly of the flaws of humankind and the apparently indifferent God reigning over the chaos we make of our lives. It's a different perspective for me, and one that I find deeply unattractive — and yet fascinating, in a grim sort of way.
Hardy will never be a comfort read for me, but he does provoke thought, if not exactly admiration. LibraryThing member gypsysmom. I talked my work book club into reading this for our May read.
I already know one member doesn't care for it but I'm interested in seeing how the rest feel. I personally loved it and I thought it had a more hopeful ending than some of the other Hardy that I have read. When I finished reading the book I sighed, mostly a happy sigh for the ending but a little bit sad because now the book is over. My husband, who read a lot of Hardy when he was young, said he couldn't remember anything about the book now but it probably was rather dark like all his books.
I told him that in this one Hardy seemed to have overcome his usual pessimism. Gabriel Oak is a young farmer when he first sees Bathsheba Everdene. She is coming to stay with her aunt who is a neighbour of Gabriel's. Gabriel is quite taken by Bathsheba and he asks her to marry him. She declines saying that she has nothing and he is on his way up in the world and should have a wife who would help him achieve his goals. Soon after the tables turn. Gabriel loses everything he has and Bathsheba inherits her uncle's farm near Weatherbury.
Fortune brings them together again with Gabriel working for Bathsheba. However, since Gabriel now has no prospects he cannot hope to marry her but he does everything he can to make sure her farm prospers. A neighbouring farmer, Mr. Boldwood, takes notice of Bathsheba and also proposes to her.
She doesn't turn him down outright and indicates she might accept his offer in the future. Then along comes Sargeant Troy who grew up in Weatherbury. He is a dashing, good looking soldier and Bathsheba is swept off her feet. She marries Troy but soon regrets her decision. She also regrets how she treated Mr. Troy disappears in circumstances that make it appear he has died. Boldwood again asks Bathsheba to marry him when she is legally able and this time Bathsheba agrees even though she is honest with him that she does not love him.
Then Troy reappears while Boldwood is throwing a Christmas party. Boldwoood shoots Troy and kills him. He is sentenced to be hung but after his neighbours petition for clemency his death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment.
Oak is finally rewarded for his patient love and support of Bathsheba and they marry. Hardy's descriptions of the countryside and the farming operations are so vivid that I could picture them exactly. Some of the scenes that really stood out for me were the storm on the night of the harvest celebration and the sheep-shearing scene.
Perhaps having grown up on a farm that, although more modern still carried out those essential tasks, made it easier for me. It will be interesting to see if the other members of my book club who, for the most part, are urban raised felt the same way. I was made to read this in English Literature at school when I was Absolutely hated it, so full of flowery language that I skipped whole sections and completely missed the story.
I really wasn't looking forward to it, but of course this time round I loved it. Yes, Hardy is quite verbose, but this is basically a very good story, with characters you can warm to.
At the age of 14 I was made to write an essay on whether or not Gabriel Oak is a too-good-to-be-true caricature. Asked that question now, I would say yes of course he is
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