Far from the Madding Crowd (Signet Classics)
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Far from the Madding Crowd (Signet Classics) [Mass Market Paperback]

Thomas Hardy , James Wright
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1, 1961 Signet Classics
Bathsheba, a willful English beauty of the nineteenth century, finally recognizes her true love in Gabriel.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840. In his writing, he immortalized the site of his birth—Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester. Delicate as a child, he was taught at home by his mother before he attended grammar school. At sixteen, Hardy was apprenticed to an architect, and for many years, architecture was his profession; in his spare time, he pursued his first and last literary love, poetry. Finally convinced that he could earn his living as an author, he retired from architecture, married, and devoted himself to writing. An extremely productive novelist, Hardy published an important book every year or two. In 1896, disturbed by the public outcry over the unconventional subjects of his two greatest novels—Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure—he announced that he was giving up fiction and afterward produced only poetry. In later years, he received many honors. He died on January 11, 1928, and was buried in Poet’s Corner, in Westminster Abbey. It was as a poet that he wished to be remembered, but today critics regard his novels as his most memorable contribution to English literature for their psychological insight, decisive delineation of character, and profound presentation of tragedy.

Product Details

  • Series: Signet Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics; Reissue edition (January 1, 1961)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451523601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451523600
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,229,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Since 'tis as 'tis . . . I feel my thanks accordingly. January 25, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Over the years I've read most of Hardy's novels and decided recently to re-read the great Wessex novels in the order in which they were written. This is the first of them and Hardy's first 'mature' novel.
In breathtakingly evocative language Hardy writes a paean to times he knew were changing. He is writing at a period when the old country ways are at war with the new. Bathsheba Everdene is, in her way, one of the 'new' people. And Sergeant Troy, out of harmony with the village of his birth and 'a man to whom memories were an encumbrance', is too. So one would think they were meant for each other. Hardy shows us, though, that there is something about the old ways that is worth saving; this is personified by Gabriel Oak, who is staunch like his name. His steadfastness symbolizes the old ways, the ways in which loyalty, integrity, modest ambitions and decency are lasting values. One is led to think, perhaps, in the middle of the book that the new ways will be a path out of the seemingly simple and ineffective country ways, where people live their lives by the seasons, know their rôle in their society, get along civilly with each other, all of which might seem to lead to a certain lack of excitement. When Gabriel characterizes his proposal of marriage to Bathsheba by saying '. . . at home by the fire, whenever you look up, there I shall be--and whenever I look up, there will be you', this is taken by Bathsheba as a recipe for boredom. She comes to understand with time that this sort of domestic harmony is a haven from the harms of the world.
And so, while writing about changing times, Hardy also writes a prose poem about married love.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forces of Nature July 9, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, the first of Thomas Hardy's 'Wessex' novels, tells the story of a small troupe of farmers and their workers in a sheep-farming community in the fictitious county of 'Wessex'.

Gabriel Oak has been a shepherd since his teenage years, as his father was before him, but he's moved up and purchased, on credit, his own farm. The work is hard, but he is confident that he will succeed, and takes pride in being his own man. Then one day, a new woman arrives in town. Bathsheeba Everdene is beautiful, headstrong, intelligent, but incurably vain; Farmer Oak falls in love with her immediately. A few months later, he proposes, and is utterly rejected. Bathsheeba moves on to care for her dying uncle, and take over his farm. Gabriel continues farming - until tragedy strikes.

He and Bathsheeba will cross paths again, this time not as lovers, but as mistress and servant. Bathsheeba's beauty, vanity and impetuousness leave a trail of carnage in her wake, and Gabriel can only watch on as lives are destroyed, farms are ruined, and his own heart is crushed repeatedly.

Hardy is famous for his fatalism, and this is displayed no more than in the character of Bathsheba Everdene. She is not an evil person, as the above summary would suggest - but her stunning beauty and fierce intelligence combine with her vanity and impulsivity to create something like a force of nature, and though she means only good she seems to be able to do nothing but wrong by those who care for her. She has no more control over her nature than she does over the weather.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Hardy Read? It Exists July 13, 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've always condidered myself to be sort of an optimist; so it is really odd that I've always really loved Thomas Hardy's books. I count Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure among my very favorites, and whether or not it is my favorite, I think that The Mayor of Casterbridge is marvelously written. Still though, reading all of that fatalism and cynicism can be a little much. It was really nice to pick up this novel and not read so many grim scenes.
Far From the Madding Crowd is a pretty simple love story driven by the characters. First, there is Bathsheba Everdeen. She's vain, naive, and she makes the stupidest decisions possible. Yet, you still like her. Then there are the three guys who all want her: Troy who's like the bad guy straight out of a Raphael Sabatini novel, Boldwood who's an old lunatic farmer, and Gabriel Oak who is a simple farmer and is basically perfect. The reader sees what should happen in the first chapter, and it takes Bathsheeba the whole book to see it. The characters really make the book. The reader really has strong feelings about them, and Hardy puts them in situations where you just don't know what they're going to do. The atmosphere that Hardy creates is (as is in all of Hardy's novel) amazing and totally original. I don't think any other author (except Wallace Stegner in America) has ever evoked a sense of place as well as Hardy does. Overall, Far from the Madding Crowd is a great novel. I probably don't like it quite as well as some of his others, but I still do think it deserved five stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak Female Characters
Gabriel Oak is a hardworking, unassuming farmer. He is moderately successful, dedicated, and solitary. Read more
Published on March 1, 2012 by A. Luciano
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Character Study
The strength of this book is in the character development. It's not predictable or confusing. You can relate to each character in one way or another.
Published on June 2, 2011 by Racine28
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it a try...
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy centers on young Bathsheba Everdene, a strong fiery independent woman who has come into the good fortune of inheriting a farm in Hardy's... Read more
Published on February 10, 2011 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow reading
This book was very slow reading, for me. The author, is very descriptive in his story, most of it to an extreme. Read more
Published on June 28, 2010 by jEvans
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.75 Stars
Far from the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy's first major success and remains one of his most popular works. Read more
Published on March 3, 2010 by Bill R. Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars Heart Of The Country
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... Read more
Published on July 12, 2008 by Slokes
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic to be Savored
Thomas Hardy weaves a rich pastoral tale that examines the foibles of humanity: pride, vanity, greed, passion...and gives us a touching love story with a realistic ending. Read more
Published on December 27, 2007 by Nina Munteanu
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite English Novelist
Why?--Because there is the class struggle, the positioning for marriage, sexual passion, and jealousy and characters that relate to the common man. Read more
Published on September 4, 2006 by John Lewinski
5.0 out of 5 stars We Pull Our Own Strings
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD is the only novel by Thomas Hardy in which the majority of the characters do not crash into chaos and tragedy. Read more
Published on August 24, 2006 by Martin Asiner
5.0 out of 5 stars Far from the Madding Crowd
Thomas Hardy, born in Dorset, England in 1840, is one of the greatest writers from the United Kingdom. Read more
Published on February 12, 2006 by Elijah Chingosho
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