Far from the Madding Crowd (Hardbound)
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The story revolves around young and amorous but capricious Bathsheba Everdene and her enviable problem of coping with her three suitors simultaneously. The first is shepherd Gabriel Oak, financially ruined by his sheepdog driving his flock over a cliff, now forced to work for Bathsheba on her farm. Second suitor is farmer Boldwood, to whom Bathsheba unwisely sends an anonymous valentine, which he takes so seriously as to fall in love with her. The third suitor is dashing Sergeant Troy. He loves Bathsheba's maid Fanny Robin but fails to marry Fanny because she went to the wrong church for the ceremony. Far from the Madding Crowd is perhaps the best known and most humorous of Hardy's novels. Even though the familiar themes of suffering and betrayal are evident, it is the product of Hardy's intimate and first hand knowledge of the attitudes, habits, inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies of rural men and women. Far from the Madding Crowd, first published in 1874, was sold out in just over two months.About the Author
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), poet and novelist, was born in Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester in Dorset. He was the son of Thomas Hardy, a builder and master mason, and his wife Jemima. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to a local architect, John Hicks. In 1862 he went to London to pursue his architectural career and also began writing at this time. He returned to Dorset in 1867 to become assistant to John Hicks. In 1874 he gave up architecture for writing and married his first wife Emma Gifford. In the same year Far From the Madding Crowd was published and met with considerable success. In 1878 Hardy moved back to London. His reputation as writer grew and he became a well-known figure in London’s literary circles. In 1885 he returned to Dorset and over the next three years he published The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), which many regard as his greatest tragic novel, The Woodlanders (1887) and his first collection of short stories, Wessex Tales (1888). He published Tess of the D’Urbervilles in 1891 and Jude the Obscure in 1895. Hardy greatly enjoyed the admiration of London’s literary and aristocratic society, but resented the constant carping of reviewers of his “pessimism” and “immorality”. The hostile criticism of his last two major novels led him to abondon fiction and devote himself to poetry which was always his first love. He published eight volumes of poetry during 1898 to 1928. Emma died in 1912 and Hardy married Florence Dugdale in 1914. Thomas Hardy died on 11 January 1928.
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