Accueil > Novels > "Far From the Madding Crowd" by Thomas Hardy (1874)

"Far From the Madding Crowd" by Thomas Hardy (1874)

mercredi 17 mai 2023, par Thomas Hardy

This was the first of Hardy’s major works and his first major success, set in a pastoral setting [1] and centered on the yearnings of a farmer-shepherd after the lively and independent farm-owner heroine Bethsheeba.

The novel has a huge amount of local colour, with a full set of country characters whose vernacular and often quite comical conversations and doings take up a considerable amount of the story, and its many dramatic countryside dramas do indeed tend to get the reader away from the maddening metropolitan mobs to sort of look up to the stars somewhat and wonder a bit more than usual about the big picture and our little place in it.

Both readers and writers of the day must have been particularly receptive to and interested in this type of setting, as all of Hardy’s novels as well as most of those of his very high-brow contemporary George Elliot were set almost exclusively in the countryside, and there are almost as many references here to classical mythology, literature and biblical scenes as in any of Eliot’s somewhat more sedate works. Among the highlights are the vivid dialogues and the magnificent storm scene, even though the most powerfully-drawn character is the villainous ex-soldier and fallen aristocrat who tries so hard to ruin both the heroine’s happiness and the hopes of the hero.

With all of the illustrious illustrations by Helen Allingham that appeared in the first publication of the novel in serial form in the literary periodical The Cornhill Magazine in 1874.

(138,000 words)

An e-book is available for downloading below.

Far From the Madding Crowd (e-book)

[1as indicated by the title, a citation from Thomas Grey’s Elegy in a Country Churchyard.