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Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy - Delphi Classics (Illustrated) (Delphi Parts Edition (Thomas Hardy) Book 6)

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This eBook features the unabridged text of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ from the bestselling edition of ‘The Complete Works of Thomas Hardy’. Having established their name as the leading publisher of classic literature and art, Delphi Classics produce publications that are individually crafted with superior formatting, while introducing many rare texts for the first time This eBook features the unabridged text of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ from the bestselling edition of ‘The Complete Works of Thomas Hardy’. Having established their name as the leading publisher of classic literature and art, Delphi Classics produce publications that are individually crafted with superior formatting, while introducing many rare texts for the first time in digital print. The Delphi Classics edition of Hardy includes original annotations and illustrations relating to the life and works of the author, as well as individual tables of contents, allowing you to navigate eBooks quickly and easily. eBook features: * The complete unabridged text of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ * Beautifully illustrated with images related to Hardy’s works * Individual contents table, allowing easy navigation around the eBook * Excellent formatting of the text Please visit www.delphiclassics.com to learn more about our wide range of titles


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This eBook features the unabridged text of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ from the bestselling edition of ‘The Complete Works of Thomas Hardy’. Having established their name as the leading publisher of classic literature and art, Delphi Classics produce publications that are individually crafted with superior formatting, while introducing many rare texts for the first time This eBook features the unabridged text of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ from the bestselling edition of ‘The Complete Works of Thomas Hardy’. Having established their name as the leading publisher of classic literature and art, Delphi Classics produce publications that are individually crafted with superior formatting, while introducing many rare texts for the first time in digital print. The Delphi Classics edition of Hardy includes original annotations and illustrations relating to the life and works of the author, as well as individual tables of contents, allowing you to navigate eBooks quickly and easily. eBook features: * The complete unabridged text of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ * Beautifully illustrated with images related to Hardy’s works * Individual contents table, allowing easy navigation around the eBook * Excellent formatting of the text Please visit www.delphiclassics.com to learn more about our wide range of titles

30 review for Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy - Delphi Classics (Illustrated) (Delphi Parts Edition (Thomas Hardy) Book 6)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Moonlight Reader

    Two people have complained that there are spoilers in this review. Read at your own peril. Hi! I'm Bathsheba Everdene! And I'm Poor Decision-Making Bathsheba Everdene. I sent a random Valentine to a guy on a neighboring farm asking him to marry me, even though I don't even like him! This turned him into an annoying semi-stalker who spent the next several years begging me to marry him for reals! And then, in a further display of my terrible judgment, I married a philandering asshole who only w Two people have complained that there are spoilers in this review. Read at your own peril. Hi! I'm Bathsheba Everdene! And I'm Poor Decision-Making Bathsheba Everdene. I sent a random Valentine to a guy on a neighboring farm asking him to marry me, even though I don't even like him! This turned him into an annoying semi-stalker who spent the next several years begging me to marry him for reals! And then, in a further display of my terrible judgment, I married a philandering asshole who only wanted my money and my luminescent beauty! The girl he really loved starved to death with his unwanted child, so he spent a bunch of my money to buy her a really great headstone, and then ran away to join the circus! And then, when he came back from the circus for no reason whatsoever, the semi-stalker shot him. AT CHRISTMAS! In front of the whole county. Don't be like this me! Marry Gabriel Oak on page 25, like you should have, you silly cow.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This was just so good. "Sheep are such unfortunate animals! - there's always something happening to them! I never knew a flock pass a year without getting into some scrape or other." Sheep! Sheeeeeep!! More sheep!!! I love sheep :) They are so cute! But sheep are actually not the reason why I love this book so much. That would be silly. But I do love the fact that Gabriel Oak was a shepherd, and not say, a pig farmer. Anyways! Even though this story takes place in rural Wessex and is filled with she This was just so good. "Sheep are such unfortunate animals! - there's always something happening to them! I never knew a flock pass a year without getting into some scrape or other." Sheep! Sheeeeeep!! More sheep!!! I love sheep :) They are so cute! But sheep are actually not the reason why I love this book so much. That would be silly. But I do love the fact that Gabriel Oak was a shepherd, and not say, a pig farmer. Anyways! Even though this story takes place in rural Wessex and is filled with sheep and fields and moonlit nights and beautiful descriptions, there is a lot more to it than just animals and landscapes. Far From the Madding Crowd is the poignant, moving and brilliant story of Bathsheba Everdene and her three suitors. "Love is a possible strength in an actual weakness." Bathsheba Everdene; strong, wilful, independent and, above all, beautiful, Bathsheba is a woman ahead of her time. She doesn't shy away from work, she is courageous, intrepid and cannot be tamed. I read a lot of romances in which the heroines do nothing more than sip afternoon tea while entertaining callers, and attend balls and soirees and drink the waters in Bath. But here, we have a heroine who can do it, who is a farmer and takes on a lot of duties. She starts out as her own bailiff, superintends and manages everything, and boldly enters the world of market, a world of men. Bathsheba is unique and attractive, and she turned every man's head. "She was of the stuff of which great men's mothers are made. She was indispensable to high generation, hated at tea parties, feared in shops, and loved at crises." Enter Suitor #1! Gabriel Oak. What a man. I'm completely head over heels in love with him! "I shall do one thing in this life - one thing certain - that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die." Gabriel is the kind of man you feel completely safe and secure around. He's the type who cherishes and protects those he loves (sheep or otherwise :P)and he's always there to save the day (I lost count of how many times he did it during the course of the novel), counsel, or simply to lend a should to cry on. He is so reliable, honest and trustful that one can tell him anything, and confide any secret to him; he's sure to keep it and give you good advice. Oak has moreover incredible self-control. He's not a man you need to fear. If you tell him you don't want to marry him, he sucks it up and humbly accepts it even though he may be hopelessly in love with you, and will never bother you with advances and declarations again, unless you hint that you are ready to welcome them. Gabriel is also the kind of employee that every employer wants. He is serious, hard-working, always alert, and extremely helpful. He's constantly going the extra length to make sure that everything is running smoothly on the farm, and that all is well and working. He falls in love with Bathsheba early on, so early in fact that it is difficult to figure out what he sees in her to make him love her so. Being poor, he has nothing to offer her save his love and all his wonderful qualities, but unfortunately that is not enough for Miss-Stubborn-Bathsheba-Everdene. So, enter Suitor #2! William Boldwood. Possesses most of the qualities listed above, plus money and property! Should be good enough for you this time, Bathsheba, eh? "'My life is a burden without you', he exclaimed, in a low voice. 'I want you - I want you to let me say I love you again and again!'" Mr. Boldwood starts out as the epitome of thriving bachelorhood. He presents the picture of a hard-working, serious and brooding man who is quite happy living and working alone, and who hasn't wasted a thought on women and marriage in years. No woman, no troubles, no drama. Everything is going really well for him, and he did sound like a very good man; poised, composed, upright principles, good ways of living, etc...In short, he's quite a catch, and any woman who married him would be assured protection, security, and a good position...and undying passion? With Boldwood, it's all or nothing. Either he doesn't give any woman a thought, or he will give one woman all his thoughts. And the lucky girl is...Bathsheba Everdene! Wee! Brace yourselves, because Boldwood is as stubborn as Bathsheba and about to make a complete cake of himself by not being able to take no for an answer. He probably proposes over fifty times during the course of the novel. Not a good sign. "It was a fatal omission of Boldwood's that he had never once told her she was beautiful." Cue Suitor #3! Sergeant Francis Troy. No good qualities (okay, maybe a few), no money, no position, no house, BUT...GOOD LOOKS AND SENSUALITY! HELL YES!!! "'I've seen a good many women in my time, [..] but I've never seen a woman so beautiful as you.'" Sergeant Troy is the handsome, seductive rake who has no morals and no apparent life purpose. The past and the future mean nothing to him. He is careless, impulsive, rash and a complete asshole. But he is charming and tantalizing to a fault, and knows only too well how to infiltrate himself into women's lives. When the lovely Bathsheba catches his eye, he becomes caught in the moment and would give anything to win her...but does he love her? And, more importantly, does she love him? Alas, her vanity has at last been flattered! "When a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away." Who doesn't love a good Victorian love-triangle?! ;) Caught in the web of their own self-inflicted actions and the resulting consequences, these characters will have to go through a series of trials and events, happy and sad, trying and uplifting, before we come to a satisfactory conclusion. The story is written in an incredibly beautiful, flowing and passionate way, full of quotable parts (as we can observe since I can't seem to stop quoting!) and extraordinary descriptions. I enjoyed every single minute I spent reading this novel. And I also learned a lot of things, too. Lessons to Remember From Far From the Madding Crowd: *When you live in a hut and make a fire, always keep one window open unless you want to suffocate to death. *Sheep, although very cute, are pretty dumb animals. *Cover your ricks when it rains!!!! *Sending a random Valentine to your elder bachelor neighbour is not exactly a good idea. *Especially if said Valentine says "Marry Me" on the seal (why the heck did she have a seal that said 'marry me' in the first place anyways?), and you have absolutely no intention of ever marrying that man for real. *Sheep can die from eating clover (and only a certain capable, skillful, heart-melting shepherd can save them). *Watch out when planting flowers around graves... *Don't keep anything in your hands or close by when you go to a fair and are sitting next to the canvas (stealers, ya know!). *Don't freaking trust bailiffs! Those guys are overrated. Be your own bailiff! Unless you can have Gabriel Oak. Always choose Gabriel if you can! *DON'T LEAD MEN ON WHEN YOU HAVE NO INTENTION OF GETTING INTIMATE WITH THEM!!! *Don't make promises/proposals or any other kind of rash demands on Christmas Eve/Christmas day, so as to not ruin your enjoyment of the holiday if it goes awry. *Don't buy things for your future significant other in preparation for your hypothetical wedding (effin' weird, seriously!). *Don't creep up during the night to ride your own horse if you weren't expected at home (stealers , ya know, again!). *When you feel overwhelmed and completely distressed, spend the night in a marsh! The dense, stifling air will help clear your head. *Don't keep your husband's ex-girlfriend's coffin inside your house. May cause serious breakdowns. *And, last but not least, ALWAYS ASK ABOUT THEIR EXES!!! Honestly though, on a scale of 1 to Mr. Boldwood, I have definitely reached his level of obsession with this book, and have spent the whole day repeatedly stating that I finished it, and it was so good, and I can't wait to see the movie, and ahhh!!!!! I loved this. Every bit is delicious, from Gabriel's tender devotion to Boldwood's mad obsession and Troy's promising passion, along with Bathsheba's evolutions and strengths and weaknesses. Hardy was certainly one love expert. Wow. And Wessex! I want to go there! So beautiful :) "What a way Oak had, she thought, of enduring things. Boldwood, who seemed so much deeper and higher and stronger in feeling than Gabriel, had not yet learnt, any more than she herself, the simple lesson which Oak showed a mastery of by every turn and look he gave - that among the multitude of interests by which he was surrounded, those which affected his personal well-being were not the most absorbing and important in his eyes." *Sigh* That too, is beautiful. And it perfectly sums up the whole book (minus Troy's shenanigans). And it is why I love Gabriel so much. Buddy read with Becca!! :D

  3. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    "The heart wants what the heart wants" No, that is not from this book. I just thought it would have been a good tagline for the 2015 movie adaptation of this classic (they went with "Based on the classic love story by Thomas Hardy" instead). "Serve you right you silly cow" That is also not from the book, but it's a sentence that popped into my mind while reading some later parts of the book. "Fuck off Boldwood!" Still not from the book but I wish it was. "It is difficult for a woman to define her feel "The heart wants what the heart wants" No, that is not from this book. I just thought it would have been a good tagline for the 2015 movie adaptation of this classic (they went with "Based on the classic love story by Thomas Hardy" instead). "Serve you right you silly cow" That is also not from the book, but it's a sentence that popped into my mind while reading some later parts of the book. "Fuck off Boldwood!" Still not from the book but I wish it was. "It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs." Now that is from the book, which is brimming with quotable lines. Not being a woman I don't know how true it is but I find this one very interesting. Thomas Hardy was not a woman either (unlike George Eliot) but I am sure he had much better insight than I do. (For some clarification of this quote please refer to the comments section after the review). This is the latest of my ongoing project to "read" classic books in audiobook format. I find that printed books require more patience and commitment. Far from the Madding Crowd is basically the story of Bathsheba Everdene and how her three suitors affect her life. This is my second Thomas Hardy book, Jude the Obscure was the first, I found Jude the Obscure very depressing though quite a gripping read. I am glad to report this book is somewhat more upbeat, somewhat being the operative word. What a gloom merchant Hardy seems to be, was he a buzz killer at parties? I can not fault his talent as a writer though, his prose is consistently beautiful and elegant, his characters are well developed and vivid. His plot twists and turns are often unpredictable. Looking at the protagonist Bathsheba Everdene, considering her wit and intelligence how she ends up choosing to marry the worst of the three suitors is hard to imagine. Obviously in the context of the book she is dazzled by Troy's oily charms, but I find it a little out of character and feel like she chooses him to drive the plot forward. If she had chosen the best man out of the three we would have ended up with a short story of nonevent. May 1, 2015 that is. Of the other two, that Boldwood seems to have a very appropriate name. His "wood" makes him bold (sorry). His bullying Bathsheba into submission is hard to take, apparently he his a man driven by passion (or his little fireman). Gabriel Oak is the perfect gentleman throughout, I am not surprised Bathsheba does not choose him to begin with, he seems like a safe and dull choice. If the overall plot of the book seems like a soap opera I may have misrepresented it, There is a lot of psychological insight here about human nature and how we often make the wrong choices based on superficiality. As mentioned earlier this novel is not as grim as Jude the Obscure, the first half of the book is in generally good spirit, the story becomes very dark towards the end of the book but ended on a moderately cheerful note. I find the ending a little predictable but very satisfying, I imagine most readers would want the book to end just like this and perhaps Hardy did not want to alienate his readers too much and indulge in a gloomy ending as seems to be his wont. An enjoyable book to read when you are in the mood for a classic or some pastoral mayhem. I have not read Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles yet but it sounds really depressing. Can't wait! Notes: I do love to read Hardy's unique brand of depressing fun, if you like this review I hope you will check out my other Hardy reviews: • Tess of the D'Urbervilles • Jude the Obscure • The Mayor of Casterbridge • The Return of the Native • The Woodlanders • I have not seen any of the film adaptations if you have please let me know what you think in the comments, thanks.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Bathsheba Everdene a gorgeous, mesmerizing young woman, 22, ( the formerly poor, now rich girl ) she inherited a prosperous, large farm from her late uncle, set in rural Wessex , ( Dorset ) southwest England, in the 1860's, has three, very different suitors, common Gabriel Oak, eight years older a shepherd and fine flute player, who will soon lose his sheep, the first time he sees her, Miss Everdene is admiring herself in a hand mirror and smiling, William Boldwood, a wealthy, good looking farme Bathsheba Everdene a gorgeous, mesmerizing young woman, 22, ( the formerly poor, now rich girl ) she inherited a prosperous, large farm from her late uncle, set in rural Wessex , ( Dorset ) southwest England, in the 1860's, has three, very different suitors, common Gabriel Oak, eight years older a shepherd and fine flute player, who will soon lose his sheep, the first time he sees her, Miss Everdene is admiring herself in a hand mirror and smiling, William Boldwood, a wealthy, good looking farmer and neighbor but middle -aged -bachelor, at 40, when she sends the rather standoffish man, as a silly joke anonymously, a Valentine's Day card, telling him to marry her, he falls insanely in love, after discovering the identity of the writer and the handsome, dashing, irresistible, youthful rake, Sergeant Francis "Frank" Troy, a couple of years her senior in the British cavalry, he woos by displaying his amazing swordsmanship, that both scares and thrills her , it is no surprise the winner of this contest. Miss Everdene has only one real friend and confidant, her patient loyal servant Liddy, they are always together in her huge house, the independent but still frightened woman, is strangely lonely, running the big farm solely, with no experience to guide her. A few days after Bathsheba's arrival a pretty, pleasant maid of the house, Fanny Robin, 20, mysteriously disappears into the night, rumors say she fled to be with her lover a soldier in a nearby town, but nobody can be sure. Later after turning down marriage proposals from Mr. Oak and Mr. Boldwood, to her ultimate regret and considerable sufferings , Bathsheba secretly weds the unstable, ( not in her own village of Weatherbury, but in another small community) the fickle Mr. Troy, she was understandably dazzled. But Frank soon becomes restless, bored, his nature is to wander, he has little to do on the farm, the unemployed but capable Gabriel, hired to work there, has taken charge of the laborers and farm, also the love distracted Mr. Boldwood's land too. By accident Troy meets Fanny on a deserted road with his wife, he recognizes her in the dark , Bathsheba doesn't, but grows very suspicious, the unfortunate girl needs immediate help, Frank gives her a little money and promises Miss Robin, to see her the next day...But unforeseen events prevents that from happening , and terrible consequences occur because of this. A classic novel , Thomas Hardy's first big success, is his only real "happy ending" book but tragedy , turmoil and heartbreak abounds, the unforgiving countryside is shown as beautiful but harsh, and mournful, the people are a lot brighter than they were given credit for then, still life is never easy, mistakes are made and deaths follow, a masterpiece in literature.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Helene Jeppesen

    What a story! I was going to give it 4 stars, but the ending was so intense and wrapped everything up so beautifully that I had to rate it 5 stars. What I love the most about this book is that it deals with an unorthodox woman. Bathsheba (I know, what a name?) is admired by a lot of men; still, she keeps on rejecting them one after another. She doesn't want to be like every other woman at that time who marries the first man to propose and has children. Bathsheba is stubborn and she's insecure, a What a story! I was going to give it 4 stars, but the ending was so intense and wrapped everything up so beautifully that I had to rate it 5 stars. What I love the most about this book is that it deals with an unorthodox woman. Bathsheba (I know, what a name?) is admired by a lot of men; still, she keeps on rejecting them one after another. She doesn't want to be like every other woman at that time who marries the first man to propose and has children. Bathsheba is stubborn and she's insecure, and she takes the reader (and all her suitors) on quite a journey. She's human and she just wants to make the right choice, and I loved her for that. This was my first book by Thomas Hardy, and one of the first things I noticed about his writing was that he spends a lot of time on heavily detailed descriptions. In particular the beginning is filled with descriptions of the surroundings and nature, and while I was a bit frustrated to start with, I couldn't deny the fact that these descriptions were beautiful and really set the mood for the book. I loved this story because it's honest and very relevant. Read it with an open mind, and I'm sure you'll end up appreciating it as much as I do :) (Now I've got to watch the movie...)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    This book can be summed up in one sentence: Bathsheba Everdene's milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. Okay - now that I am more awake - I am ready for more of a review! I was leaning 5 stars, but something about the end brought it down to 4. Click the spoiler for my thoughts on the ending: (view spoiler)[Gabriel Oak is too good for Bathsheba. I didn't want him to be all like "Okay, now that you have ruined two men's lives, you finally want to marry me so let's do it". I wanted him to say "Hel This book can be summed up in one sentence: Bathsheba Everdene's milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. Okay - now that I am more awake - I am ready for more of a review! I was leaning 5 stars, but something about the end brought it down to 4. Click the spoiler for my thoughts on the ending: (view spoiler)[Gabriel Oak is too good for Bathsheba. I didn't want him to be all like "Okay, now that you have ruined two men's lives, you finally want to marry me so let's do it". I wanted him to say "Hell naw, biatch!", drop the mic, and walk off into the sunset! If he had done that, 5 stars all the way! (hide spoiler)] Many books these days are all about the love triangle. To get into the crazy love shapes that are occurring in this book. You need a degree in Advanced Geometry. What is great about each "point" of the relationship "shapes" in this story is that each represents extremes of nobility, arrogance, insanity, patheticness, immaturity, and complete disregard for how their actions affect those around them (until it is too late). Because of this, you get a lot of fascinating drama and fascinating character behavior. "Madding Crowd" - frequently when I read a classic, I like to follow up with reading about it on Wikipedia to get some side facts and trivia. I discovered that the word "Madding" means "frenzied" and the title is actually a tongue-in-cheek joke. The book takes place in what is supposed to be a bucolic and peaceful setting "Far from the madding crowd". But, with the adventures and misadventures Bathsheba, Oak, Boldwood, Troy, and Fanny, the drama might just be crazier in the countryside! And, speaking of tongue-in-cheek humor, I love Hardy's delivery of descriptions throughout this book. Almost every description has hints of cynicism and sarcasm. I think most people imagine this book as a drama, and it definitely has its dramatic moments, but I found myself laughing at the silly characters, their silly actions, and the silly descriptions quite a bit. Bravo, Hardy! So, if you have been holding off on this book because you think it is a boring and stuffy classic, think again - that could not be farther from the truth. Give it a go, its pretty darn good!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    4.75ish stars. With a name like Bathsheba how much could we honestly expect from her? Imagine playing with her as a child, "Come here little Bathy-Bathy!" She was doomed from the start. And she was obviously one of those children who was told entirely too often how special she was and how pretty and how she could do anything she set her mind to. Poor Bathsheba. Not that it should need to be said for a novel that's almost 150 years old, but in case you still haven't read this and plan on doing so 4.75ish stars. With a name like Bathsheba how much could we honestly expect from her? Imagine playing with her as a child, "Come here little Bathy-Bathy!" She was doomed from the start. And she was obviously one of those children who was told entirely too often how special she was and how pretty and how she could do anything she set her mind to. Poor Bathsheba. Not that it should need to be said for a novel that's almost 150 years old, but in case you still haven't read this and plan on doing so: spoilers ahead. I love characters who are awful people, idiots, fools, douchebags and the like. But woof, there are some doozies here. How about that dog, Young George, eh? The nerve! One should never be too efficient at one's work! Naturally, he had to be put down. Okay, sorry, I just had to say something about him, the poor guy. :'( There are some very memorable key characters in this book, and not all of them are worthy of a punch in the face. There is, of course, one of my greatest literary man-crushes of all time, Gabriel Oak. But it's the small, supporting crowd that really elevates the book to favorite status. There's self-righteous but well-meaning Joseph Poorgrass, full of bible verses and pseudo-wisdom; sweet, simple Liddy Smallbury, Bathsheba's friend, confidant, doormat and indentured servant; the ol' maltster, coming up on 184 years of age give or take; and the true heroes of the story, namely the sheep. The writing is beautiful, if not a little long-winded and flowery when giving descriptions of the Wessex countryside. I get it, you've convinced me, it’s great to be far from the madding crowd. It's also chock-full of quotable quotes on a variety of subjects. Marriage: “All romances end at marriage.” “It may have been observed that there is no regular path for getting out of love as there is for getting in. Some people look upon marriage as a short cut that way, but it has been known to fail.” (on the day of Gabriel's and Bathsheba's wedding) ""Faith," said Coggan, in a critical tone, turning to his companions, "the man hev learnt to say 'my wife' in a wonderful naterel way, considering how very youthful he is in wedlock as yet-hey, neighbours all?" "I never heerd a skilful old married feller of twenty years' standing pipe 'my wife' in a more used note than 'a did," said Jacob Smallbury. "It might have been a little more true to nater if't had been spoke a little chillier, but that wasn't to be expected just now." "That improvement will come wi' time," said Jan, twirling his eye." Womanhood: “I am not a fool, you know, although I am a woman, and have my woman’s moments.” “Women are never tired of bewailing man’s fickleness in love, but they only seem to snub his constancy.” "I shall never forgive God for making me a woman, and dearly am I beginning to pay for the honour of owning a pretty face." Way to humblebrag, right? And my personal favorite: This supreme instance of Troy's goodness fell upon Gabriel's ears like the thirteenth stroke of a crazy clock. I'm gonna start using that expression day-to-day. I'm gonna make it a thing. Sarcasm and sketchy 19th-century sexism aside, Hardy really is a brilliant wordsmith and there are so many gems throughout the novel- wise commentary, clever dialogue, wry observations on human relationships. Speaking of sketchy 19th century sexism, let's talk about the Boldwood rape-gagement. If we didn't know that he was only forcing Bathsheba into a marriage blood oath, several statements could be taken way out of context when just a few filler words are omitted. What does it seem like they're talking about? : Boldwood: "But do give me your [--] . You owe it to me!" Bathsheba: "Don't press me too hard. [...] Pray let me go! I am afraid!" Boldwood: He begged in a husky voice unable to sustain the forms of mere friendship any longer. "Promise yourself to me; I deserve it, indeed I do. Be gracious and give up a little to me." Bathsheba: The trimmings of her dress, as they quivered against the light showed how agitated she was, and at last she burst out crying. "And you'll not-press me-about anything more?" she sobbed, when she had the power to frame her words. Boldwood: "Yes, then I'll leave it." Boldwood came close to her side, and now he clasped one of her hands in both his own, and lifted it to his --. Bathsheba: "What is it? Oh I cannot!" she exclaimed on seeing what he held. "Don't insist Boldwood- don't!" In her trouble at not being able to get her hand away from him at once, she stamped passionately on the floor with one foot, and tears crowded to her eyes again. Boldwood: "No sentiment- the seal of a practical compact," he said more quietly, but still retaining her hand in his firm grasp. "Come, now!" And Boldwood slipped the -- on her --" Bathsheba: She said, weeping as if her heart would break. "You frighten me. Please let me go!" Boldwood: "Only to-night: just to-night, to please me!" Bathsheba: At length she said, in a sort of hopeless whisper- "Very well, then. I will-to-night, if you wish it so earnestly." Boldwood: "And it shall be the beginning of a pleasant --? Bathsheba: "It must be, I suppose, since you will have it so!" she said, fairly beaten into non-resistance. Boldwood: "Boldwood pressed [his] -- and allowed it to drop in her lap. "I am happy now," he said. "God!" (Afterward) He left the room, and when he thought she might be sufficiently composed sent one of the maids to her. Bathsheba cloaked the effects of the late scene as she best could. Heavy stuff. But finally in all seriousness, this book, when it comes down to it, is not a flippant romance. It isn't the Bachelorette. It isn't love at first sight. Bathsheba and Gabriel end up with something deeper and more meaningful and true: “This good fellowship - camaraderie - usually occurring through the similarity of pursuits is unfortunately seldom super-added to love between the sexes, because men and women associate, not in their labors but in their pleasures merely. Where, however, happy circumstances permit its development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which is strong as death - that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, besides which the passion usually called by the name is as evanescent as steam.” Honestly, the kind of relationship I respect and strive for.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    I loved escaping into this 19th-century English novel. I dove into it and found both comfort and sustenance. One of my reading goals for 2017 is to make time for classics I haven't read yet, and Far From the Madding Crowd was perfect because this was my first Thomas Hardy book. The fact that I enjoy novels set in the English countryside was just a lucky bonus. I had seen two different movie versions of the book, so I was familiar with the basic story: Strong Woman Refuses Wonderful Man; then Stron I loved escaping into this 19th-century English novel. I dove into it and found both comfort and sustenance. One of my reading goals for 2017 is to make time for classics I haven't read yet, and Far From the Madding Crowd was perfect because this was my first Thomas Hardy book. The fact that I enjoy novels set in the English countryside was just a lucky bonus. I had seen two different movie versions of the book, so I was familiar with the basic story: Strong Woman Refuses Wonderful Man; then Strong Woman Taunts Another Wonderful Man; and finally Strong Woman Foolishly Marries Total Jerk. Chaos Ensues until Strong Woman Comes To Senses and Marries First Wonderful Man. I love the character of Bathsheba Everdene, and how she wanted to defy the traditional role of women. (Fun trivia: the writer of the Hunger Games series reportedly named her heroine Katniss Everdeen as an homage to Bathsheba.) I also loved the character of Gabriel Oak (aka Wonderful Man), and despised Sergeant Troy. And how could you not pity Farmer Boldwood for the way Bathsheba flirted with him? Far from the Madding Crowd was first published in 1874, and reading this more than 140 years later, it's difficult to appreciate how groundbreaking some aspects of this story were for the time. I liked this note about Hardy's candor from the Introduction to my edition: "It was imperative that the 'things which everybody is thinking but nobody is saying ... be taken up and treated frankly' — and for Hardy this included such unmentionable 'things' as female sexuality (and) illegitimacy." I just adored this novel — I liked the prose and I enjoyed spending time with these characters. Five stars to Mr. Hardy for letting me escape into the English countryside for a week, even if things are never as calm and quiet as they appear. Favorite Quotes "It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs." "A resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible." "It may have been observed that there is no regular path for getting out of love as there is for getting in. Some people look upon marriage as a short cut that way, but it has been known to fail." "Bathsheba loved Troy in the way that only self-reliant women love when they abandon their self-reliance. When a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never any strength to throw away. One source of her inadequacy is the novelty of the occasion. She has never had practice in making the best of such a condition. Weakness is doubly weak by being new." "I am not a fool, you know, although I am a woman, and have my woman’s moments." "To persons standing alone on a hill during a clear midnight such as this — the roll of the world eastward is almost a palpable movement. The sensation may be caused by the panoramic glide of the stars past earthly objects, which is perceptible in a few minutes of stillness; or by a fancy that the better outlook upon space afforded by a hill emphasizes terrestial revolution; or by the wind; or by the solitude; but whatever be its origin the impression of riding along is vivid and abiding. The poetry of motion is a phrase much in use, and to enjoy the epic form of that gratification it is necessary to stand on a hill at a small hour of the night, and, first enlarging the consciousness with a sense of difference from the mass of civilized mankind, who are horizontal and disregardful of all such proceedings at this time, long and quietly watch your stately progress through the stars. After such a nocturnal reconnoitre among these astral clusters, aloft from the customary haunts of thought and vision, some men may feel raised to a capability for eternity at once." "Fitness being the basis of all beauty, nobody could have denied that his steady swings and turns in and about the flock had elements of grace."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    "The poetry of motion is a phrase much in use, and to enjoy the epic form of that gratification it is necessary to stand on a hill at a small hour of the mass of civilized mankind, who are dreamwrapt and disregardful of all such proceedings at this time, long and quietly watch your stately progress through the stars." While I was in the midst of reading this novel, I was struck by general wonderment with regards to the title of this book. Why "Far From the Madding Crowd"? It had always seemed tha "The poetry of motion is a phrase much in use, and to enjoy the epic form of that gratification it is necessary to stand on a hill at a small hour of the mass of civilized mankind, who are dreamwrapt and disregardful of all such proceedings at this time, long and quietly watch your stately progress through the stars." While I was in the midst of reading this novel, I was struck by general wonderment with regards to the title of this book. Why "Far From the Madding Crowd"? It had always seemed that Thomas Hardy bestowed titles in the form of the book's protagonist. Why not Bathsheba of Weatherbury or The Mistress of Weatherbury or Bathsheba the Complicated? Why this vague title? And then it hit me. Far From the Maddening Crowd is the embodiment of what we feel when we're in love. When one is a victim of cupid's arrow, one tends to think of nothing but infatuation. It becomes your strength, your weakness, your nourishment, your insomnia. Your attention is deflected by this love-centric desire. You may seem to do trivial things, the body may work but the mind wanders. In essence, you are far away from everything going around you that have nothing to do with the person you love. You live in a suspended reality where the face of your darling is both the sun and the moon. You live far from the crowd, which is madding, because it has nothing to do with your romance. As stated in the excerpt I selected to start this review with, "it is necessary to stand on a hill at a small hour of the mass of civilized mankind, who are dreamwrapt and disregardful of all such proceedings at this time" if you are to watch your proceedings through the stars. The title may very well be Hardy's most romantic. Bathsheba Everdene, described as a free-spirited, independent, and strong-willed woman named after King David's queen, Uriah the Hittite's wife, Solomon's mother is subject to much scrutiny. Many people find fault in her apparent fall from Hardy's descriptions. She becomes weak, slavish, and inconsistent especially with regards to her love with Sergeant Troy. Hardy is often accused of gender-stereotyping and sometimes rightly so. There are instances where he blames Bathsheba's weakness of character to her "womanliness". But I should say that it is unfair to accost him because of this. He did live in a society that practiced much worse treatments. You have to keep in mind that gender emancipation was not yet realized in 1874. I remember using this line of thought in my review of Tess, and I still stand by it. Though, I should add that Bathsheba's inconsistency with Sergeant Troy is mainly due to the type of love that they share, and is no fault of Mr. Hardy. I shall be getting to this in a minute. Three choices are presented to Bathsheba. The Sergeant Troy, the gentleman farmer Boldwood, and the shepherd Gabriel Oak, all three signifying different kinds of love. This, I believe is the main idea of the book, to enumerate and dissect the different kinds of love present in a lover's beating heart. Sergeant Troy's love, if it is to be called love at all, is known by the name of passion. It is physical attraction, the weakest of the three. It is easily suppressed and forgotten. Some may even call it lust, one of the seven deadly sins. If it is so, then it veers away from the goodness that we attribute to love. No wonder, Bathseba's relationship with Troy is destructive. It is also the reason, why I stated earlier, that Bathsheba becomes inconsistent when she is around Troy. For the temptation of lust weakens even the strongest and most virtuous of men. Bathsheba's flaws are clearly not a byproduct of gender, as some claim it to be, but it lies in human nature itself. This, I understand, should clear some misgivings about Mr. Hardy. Also, in application, I understand that most marriages are destroyed because a great number of couples mistake this passion for love and hastily vow forever. And so, when it is exhausted, as it easily is, the marriage falls apart. Exactly like Bathsheba and Troy. Moving on, farmer Boldwood's love, on the other hand, is a kind of wild and strong, yet self-centered love. It is strengthened to an insane proportion but it only seeks to appease itself, it doesn't consider the person it is being given to. It is like a fire burning and scorching everything in its path; it is a dangerous kind of love that will turn everything to dust after the love has been consumed. And as exemplified, this is the kind of love that makes people do crazy things, like murder. It is a love so self-centered that it will deny its recipient of happiness when rejected. Lastly, we come to shepherd Gabriel Oak's love. In contrast to Mr. Boldwood's self-centered love, this love is so great that Gabriel is willing to sacrifice his own happiness for the sake of hers. I believe this is the strongest of the three. Willing to consider, willing to endure, willing to suffer for the sake of one it loves. It may not be as bright as Troy's passion, or loud as Boldwood's insane self-love, but it is never wavering in its steady stream of purity. Like Oak, it is often ignored by its recipient in favor of those kinds much brighter and louder. But, also like Oak, when it is given the chance, it is the one that will last forever. "Where, however, happy circumstances permit its development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which is strong as death - that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, beside which the passion usually called by the name is evanescent as steam." With regards to this, it just occurred to me that certain famous quotations about love are true. For Troy - Love is the strongest desire. For Boldwood - Love is blind. For Gabriel - Love conquers all. Forgive me, for these trifles. I just thought it ironic that all of them are correct, yet none of them talk of the same thing. Let me not detain you any longer, as I end, I should just like to admire Hardy's attitude with respect to love, and his attitude towards humanity in general. At first, I thought that the simple workfolk of Weatherbury were just background and were there only to provide humor in the story. But as the tale progressed, it became apparent that they were the echoes of Hardy's own beating heart. They embodied his appreciation for country living, for his Wessex, for Mother Nature, for the preservation of things old in this rapidly changing world, and lastly for his optimism in both love and life. As the great blusher Joseph Poorgrass (probably my favorite character) says as he closes the tale: "But 'tis as 'tis, why, it might have been worse, and I feel my thanks accordingly." I guess when it comes to love, romance, and relationships I'm not one to talk. I'm pretty certain I'm not an expert on these things, so I can't really give any insights or anything. Personally, all I do is echo: It is better to have loved and lost, than to not have loved at all. Hey, I feel my thanks too.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shovelmonkey1

    Ah Far from the Madding Crowd, even saying the book title aloud summons images of an overcrowded class room, sweaty adolescents and a fraught English teacher. I was forced to read this book when I was about thirteen. Other books I was forced to read, learn and regurgitate in vast, ungainly and probably largely misunderstood swathes include Macbeth, Hamlet, Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead, Pride and Prejudice, A Winters Tale, The Colour Purple and Wuthering Heights. A diverse selection you m Ah Far from the Madding Crowd, even saying the book title aloud summons images of an overcrowded class room, sweaty adolescents and a fraught English teacher. I was forced to read this book when I was about thirteen. Other books I was forced to read, learn and regurgitate in vast, ungainly and probably largely misunderstood swathes include Macbeth, Hamlet, Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead, Pride and Prejudice, A Winters Tale, The Colour Purple and Wuthering Heights. A diverse selection you might think. Yes indeed, diverse but with one key element in common. They all possess the correctly ordered group of elements required to send a class of teenagers into a coma. What? OK yes maybe that was a bit unfair. Not all teenagers, but certainly the clump of hormonally driven monsters that I shared my school years with anyway. A Winters Tale by Bill the Bard was my least favourite of all of these - frankly I thought it was a badly cobbled together parody, a poor imitation of his previous work. Yes that was what I thought at thirteen. Far from the Madding Crowd was second least favourite because it was set in a time where a man was judged on the number of sheep he owned which basically just spelled D-U-L-L to my uncomprehending eyes. However, looking at it now with the perception and clarity of an adult mind (hahahaha) I can see the merits of this text particularly some of its themes which are quite modern if you squint a bit and overlook the references to sheep and horse and carts. Bathsheba Everdene (great name!) arrives in a rural idyll and accidentally steals the heart of lonely shepherd Gabriel Oak (even better name). While she thinks Gabriel is alright, he's not exactly romantic dynamite and his offer of marriage is rebuffed in the hope of better things. Nowadays she could have married him, serialised the wedding as part of a reality TV show and then divorced straight after while still up to her arse in the detritus of plundered wrapping and opened gift boxes. But, this was days of yore so Bathsheba didn't have those kind of opportunities. Luckily for her in lieu of reality TV, a wealthy relative dies and she inherits a fortune. Gabriels fortunes on the other hand go rapidly down hill, or more to the point, over the edge of the hill. He unleashes a sheep dog with ADHD and it drives his flock over a cliff (swap Dodos "doom on you scene" in Iceage the Movie for sheep to obtain correct comedy effect). While luckless Gabriel ponders what to do with his sheep puree, Bathsheba acquires a few new admirers; the prosperous Boldwood and the dashing Troy. Boldwood is not really her cup of tea and the erroneous valentine was a big mistake - the 19th century equivalent of a drunken text message. Troy on the other hand has got the sort of allure possessed by Sean Bean in his Sharpe uniform and Bathsheba's head is turned by a spot of private sword play (dirty girl!). From here on in it is a comedy of errors, spurned lovers, missing persons and during this time Bathsheba racks up a rapid turnover of husbands which would have earned a round of applause from Liz Taylor. In the end, patient sheep-doctor Gabriel wins out and gets the girl. Not baaaa-d Gabriel!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    846. Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy, C1874 Characters: Gabriel Oak, Bathsheba Everdene, William Boldwood, Francis Troy, Fanny Robin. Abstract: Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrast 846. Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy, C1874 Characters: Gabriel Oak, Bathsheba Everdene, William Boldwood, Francis Troy, Fanny Robin. Abstract: Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in Wessex, Hardy's novel of swiftpassion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about relationships. عنوانها: به دور از مردم شوریده؛ دور از اجتماع خشمگين؛ نویسنده: تامس هاردی؛ (نشر نو) ادبیات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: یازدهم ماه مارس سال 2004 میلادی عنوان: به دور از مردم شوريده، یا «دور از اجتماع خشمگين»؛ اثر: توماس هاردی؛ برگردان: ابراهیم یونسی؛ نشر: فرهنگ نشر نو، 1382، در 536 ص، شابک: 9647443188؛ شخصیت رمان، دختری ست زیبا، به نام «بت شبا»، که پس از مرگ پدر و مادر، با خاله اش زندگی می‌کند. گله‌ داری به نام «گابریل اوک»، بسیار به وی علاقمند است. گابریل، بر اثر سانحه‌ ای، گوسفندان را از دست می‌دهد، و به کارگری جویای کار، بدل می‌شود. شبی گابریل در راه گذر خویش، شعله‌ های آتشی را می‌بیند، که مزرعه‌ ای را میسوزاند. گابریل برای خاموش کردن آتش، تمام توان خویش به کار می‌گیرد، و با کمک اهالی روستا، آتش را خاموش می‌کنند. با صاحب مزرعه که رودررو می‌شود، «بت شبا» را می‌بیند، که از او، برای کمکش، تشکر می‌کند. گابریل درمی‌یابد، که مزرعه میراثی ست، که از یکی از اقوام «بت شبا»، به او رسیده است. بدینسان «گابریل» مشاور مزرعه دختر شده، در آنجا کار و زندگی می‌کند؛ اما «بت شبا» با یکی از خواستگاران خویش به نام گروهبان «تروی» ازدواج می‌کند و ادامه ی داستان. ا. شربیانی

  12. 4 out of 5

    Graham Herrli

    The only emotions that this book evoked for me were boredom and annoyance. The boredom stemmed largely from its predictable plotline and its verbose narrative style (and its utter failure to engage me intellectually, which may have made this verbosity pardonable). The annoyance stemmed from Hardy's method of creating the protagonist, Bathsheba. He repeatedly describes Bathsheba as being self-willed, confident, independent, and poised; but he only tells us this about her, while her actions demons The only emotions that this book evoked for me were boredom and annoyance. The boredom stemmed largely from its predictable plotline and its verbose narrative style (and its utter failure to engage me intellectually, which may have made this verbosity pardonable). The annoyance stemmed from Hardy's method of creating the protagonist, Bathsheba. He repeatedly describes Bathsheba as being self-willed, confident, independent, and poised; but he only tells us this about her, while her actions demonstrate a considerable lack of these characteristics. He has a habit of writing in sweeping generalizations about the nature of "women," often describing such nature in its supposed relation to Bathsheba. Each time he tells us of her supposed independence, he does so with the implicit, and often explicit, assumption that what he is saying about her sets her apart from that which defines women in general, yet his negative stereotypes about women later manifest themselves in the actions which he gives to Bathsheba.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan's Reviews

    They say all good tropes have a literary ancestry. I recall reading this quintessential "innocent country girl falls for philandering bad boy" story/trope years ago. Bathsheba Everdene was a (nowadays "badass") heroine who inherited her late uncle's farm and made it thrive, with the help of Gabriel Oak. Gabriel has always loved Bathsheba, but the strong-willed Bathsheba rejects his marriage proposal. Indeed, she rejects all potential suitors - until she is bedazzled by the handsome (but secretly They say all good tropes have a literary ancestry. I recall reading this quintessential "innocent country girl falls for philandering bad boy" story/trope years ago. Bathsheba Everdene was a (nowadays "badass") heroine who inherited her late uncle's farm and made it thrive, with the help of Gabriel Oak. Gabriel has always loved Bathsheba, but the strong-willed Bathsheba rejects his marriage proposal. Indeed, she rejects all potential suitors - until she is bedazzled by the handsome (but secretly nefarious!) Sergeant Francis Troy. After a whirlwind courtship, the two are married and Bathsheba begins to repent in leisure, as the saying goes, slowly realizing that Francis Troy is nowhere near half the man that Gabriel Oak is. Things go from bad to worse when Troy's former lover seeks him out (see, love triangles existed even in literary fiction!) Troy is heartbroken by his former lover's death, disappears and is presumed dead. But Bathsheba is never short of a love triangle: her older neighbour, Mr. Boldwood, is also in love with her and pesters her to marry him as well. (Poor girl can barely set foot out the door without someone harassing her to marry him!) Suffice it to say that things do not end well with poor Mr. Boldwood's suit. It becomes a nail-biting melodrama at this point! Okay: seriously now: the 1998 Masterpiece Theater production, starring Paloma Baeza and Nathanial Parker is my favourite (and most faithful) movie adaptation, followed by the 1967 Julie Christie/Alan Bates version.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Luffy

    For my O Level year, I had to make a choice. Either take English literature as my option, or take Hindi. I took the latter. Had I taken the former, I would have read Far From The Madding Crowd in my teens. Now I'm in my late thirties. The mistake of passing over English Lit has been rectified, if only partly. I remember noticing my friends taking a hefty paperback tome to read their book assigned to them. How would I know that one day I'll be reading the book on a device that's so light, regardle For my O Level year, I had to make a choice. Either take English literature as my option, or take Hindi. I took the latter. Had I taken the former, I would have read Far From The Madding Crowd in my teens. Now I'm in my late thirties. The mistake of passing over English Lit has been rectified, if only partly. I remember noticing my friends taking a hefty paperback tome to read their book assigned to them. How would I know that one day I'll be reading the book on a device that's so light, regardless of how long or chunky a book should be. I would lie if I said that I was connected as one with the book. Or that I understood every single word among its pages. Yet I have a feeling of satiety, of wholeness and accomplishment. Far From the Madding Crowd has a pastoral setting. The characters are immortal. The writing style is confident. Never shaky. The denouement of the plot is like a set of fast exchanges on a chess board. How does Gabriel Oak fare? How strong is the love of the main female character - Bathsheba - for her first flame? The loose ends are tied. There's a happy ending. Most of the book points to one direction. The resolution is a twist in itself, confounding the previous indications. Though some chapters of the book are slow as hell, and the pacing grinds to a still-life halt, the sands of time make themselves felt. You know that you are reading a Classic. This classic is indeed, a page turner, and a crowd pleaser, especially when compared to the author, Thomas Hardy's other books.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    I almost didn't read this book, the February selection for my real-life book club. It seemed rather dull and there's a huge stack of yummier-looking books calling my name, saying "Read ME next!" BUT, since I'm the one who's always bitching to the group about how we need to read more classics, it seemed in poor taste for me to give this one a miss. And, I'm glad I read it. Even though Hardy's writing style took some getting used to. It's sort of wordy. Okay, it's really wordy. Near the beginning, I almost didn't read this book, the February selection for my real-life book club. It seemed rather dull and there's a huge stack of yummier-looking books calling my name, saying "Read ME next!" BUT, since I'm the one who's always bitching to the group about how we need to read more classics, it seemed in poor taste for me to give this one a miss. And, I'm glad I read it. Even though Hardy's writing style took some getting used to. It's sort of wordy. Okay, it's really wordy. Near the beginning, there are two entire pages that could easily be summed up as: It was night. The stars were bright. Farmer Oak played his flute. Even though bad things happen to lots of sheep and a dog. Even though Bathsheba Everdene, due to her wishy-washy dithering, is way, WAY up there on the list of characters I'd like to punch, sharing the company of Holden Caulfield and Adela Quested. Once again - glad I read it, but equally glad it's over. I doubt I'll ever read it again. It didn't rock my world, but I didn't hate it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    Far From the Madding Crowd has Thomas Hardy's trademark of romance, love, the pain that accompanies deep love and betrayal. At the same time it is laced with warmth and humor. What did I like in this book? Everything! The story of course but especially the protagonists. The heroine above all, sensitive, courageous, emancipated, Bathsheba is a woman of rare beauty, who turns all men's heads. In my opinion, Thomas Hardy is one of the most endearing figures in literature. The male characters, though d Far From the Madding Crowd has Thomas Hardy's trademark of romance, love, the pain that accompanies deep love and betrayal. At the same time it is laced with warmth and humor. What did I like in this book? Everything! The story of course but especially the protagonists. The heroine above all, sensitive, courageous, emancipated, Bathsheba is a woman of rare beauty, who turns all men's heads. In my opinion, Thomas Hardy is one of the most endearing figures in literature. The male characters, though duller are not devoid of interest. Three of them hope to win Batsheba's heart: Gabriel Oak, Boldwood the landowner and Sergeant Francis Troy. It is clear that in addition to his talent as a writer Thomas Hardy is a fine psychologist who dissects the smallest character traits of his heroes and manages to make them endearing despite their shortcomings. Far from the Madding Crowd is one of those rare books that mark a lifetime of readers so, let yourself be convinced, do not miss this masterpiece!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Margitte

    There are several books titled Far From The Madding Crowd on GR. I was inspired to read Thomas Hardy's Victorian novel after reading Roger Brunyate's excellent review. Published in 1874 for the first time as a novel, it depicted the social upheaval resulting from the changes in rural life in the industrial era. Customs and traditions disintegrated, and with that the security, stability and dignity it brought for the inhabitants. It was a period in which religious, political, scientific, and socia There are several books titled Far From The Madding Crowd on GR. I was inspired to read Thomas Hardy's Victorian novel after reading Roger Brunyate's excellent review. Published in 1874 for the first time as a novel, it depicted the social upheaval resulting from the changes in rural life in the industrial era. Customs and traditions disintegrated, and with that the security, stability and dignity it brought for the inhabitants. It was a period in which religious, political, scientific, and social values entered the age of modernism. Thomas Hardy used the weather as character in the plot, and added Fate as the driving force behind the events. Man was not in control of his own destiny, and women acted as Fate's power over men. But Fate was also nestled in the weather. Well, that's how I saw it. Three men's fate changed when they met the beautiful, unconventional, independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene. She became a farmer on the largest estate in Weatherbury (note the name) and drew three very different suitors into her parlor - like the spider and the flies. :-) There was the bachelor gentleman-farmer Boldwood; soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy -who could not leave women alone; as well as the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. The mating rituals disrupted the community and lead to tragedy. Ms. Everdene made inroads upon the emotional constitution of all three men, and that's mildly stated :-) The story line is as strong as the plot, and above all, the author's philosophical view points is shared with the reader about the devastating effect of the industrial revolution on agriculture and the lives of everyone involved. The fundamental beliefs were shaken to their core. The novel raises the moral question of what is a good life and what is the reward. The story was so atmospheric, like most Victorian novels, but had the surprising (for me) addition of sexuality as an condiment to a social salad. Done tastefully and very dignified, I must add. It is perhaps the reason why I so enjoyed it. One cannot be unaware of Hardy's sense of the unity of man with nature: the eternal hills of his Wessex, the sounds of wind and weather, the ever-circling constellations, the light at different times of day and different seasons, the growth of vegetation, and the behavior of living creatures. His characters convey a general feeling of being a part of the universe; his narrative captures its rhythms. Far from the madding crowd, he seems to say, man comes into his own. I derived the same enjoyment from this tale as The Mill On The Floss by George Eliot, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, and a few others. Thomas Hardy though, had a unique way of blending a social and historical background with his personal philosophy, without being fanatical or overpowering, and created characters that would forever stand out from the crowd. A brilliant novel which withstood the test of time. A FANTASTIC READ! RECOMMENDED.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alok Mishra

    "I shall do one thing in this life -- one thing certain -- that is, love you, and long for you, and KEEP WANTING YOU till I die." Tell me one guy who hacks the story and stands close to your heart - Oak! I don't yet understand why Hary is put in the box of pessimists when he has always been a 'lover' who never wishes to lose the 'love'. Far from the Madding Crowd was prescribed in our syllabus for graduation and I enjoyed the book, no doubt. Hardy is a little detailed author, of course, but there "I shall do one thing in this life -- one thing certain -- that is, love you, and long for you, and KEEP WANTING YOU till I die." Tell me one guy who hacks the story and stands close to your heart - Oak! I don't yet understand why Hary is put in the box of pessimists when he has always been a 'lover' who never wishes to lose the 'love'. Far from the Madding Crowd was prescribed in our syllabus for graduation and I enjoyed the book, no doubt. Hardy is a little detailed author, of course, but there is joy in reading the way he gives the details - whether be it of the Oak's smile or Bathsheba's misfortune or Oak's loyalty in love... Hardy is a classic - a classic in true sense!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Thomas Hardy writes often about women, with a sympathy that looks a little like contempt. In Far From the Madding Crowd he lays out the options available to Bathsheba Everdene (yes, Katniss is named after her): Frank Troy is the dashing adventurer, charming and dissipated. He ensnares her in a ferny grove, showing off his swordplay. ("It will not take five minutes," he says, and we picture Hardy snickering.) Boldwood is the older, stolid man, a rural Casaubon, representing security and the abdic Thomas Hardy writes often about women, with a sympathy that looks a little like contempt. In Far From the Madding Crowd he lays out the options available to Bathsheba Everdene (yes, Katniss is named after her): Frank Troy is the dashing adventurer, charming and dissipated. He ensnares her in a ferny grove, showing off his swordplay. ("It will not take five minutes," he says, and we picture Hardy snickering.) Boldwood is the older, stolid man, a rural Casaubon, representing security and the abdication of passion. And right in between them is Gabriel Oak, "only an every-day sort of man," the Goldilocks middle. But Bathsheba doesn't seem well-suited to any of them; even Oak doesn't really attract her. "I want somebody to tame me; I am too independent; and you would never be able to, I know." Maybe taming isn't really her thing. "Though she scarcely knew the divinity's name, Diana was the goddess whom Bathsheba instinctively adored." Diana, the goddess of chastity. "But a husband - " "Well!" "Why, he'd always be there, as you say; whenever I looked up, there he'd be." Ugh, right? Husbands. So the question isn't just which man will Bathsheba choose, but why should she choose anyone at all? It's all serious business, of course, but people forget that Hardy can be funny. He throws out phrases like "rather deathy," and there are cracks like this: "There is no regular path for getting out of love as there is for getting in. Some people look upon marriage as a short cut that way, but it has been known to fail." Not the most original joke, even back then, but it's still funny. He's second to none in describing nature. He can set a scene like no one else. Here he describes the countryside in an impending storm: The moon...had a lurid metallic look. The fields were sallow with impure light, and all were tinged with monochrome, as if beheld through stained glass. And the scenes he sets in these vivid landscapes are infinitely memorable, too. His books always contain a few gloriously melodramatic setpieces: the audacious climax of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, the "too menny" of Jude the Obscure. Here, in addition to the sexy swordplay with Troy, there's a decisive midnight lightning storm, and the long walk of Fanny Robin. This is one of the two reasons I love Hardy: in each book, I know I'll get a few scenes I'll never forget. The other is the schadenfreude. His books would get glummer as he grew, culminating in the misery porn of Jude the Obscure; Madding Crowd is by comparison light reading. But he's still going to trample your heart. Earlier authors like Dickens and even Eliot wrote books where every plot development followed inevitably from the actions of their characters. But for Hardy, again and again, despite the best intentions and noblest natures of his characters, fate throws a wrench in. This Murphy's Law is one of the reasons Hardy seems like such a pessimist. (The other is that everybody dies miserable and alone.) The action in Madding Crowd is kicked off by the chance destruction of most of Oak's sheep (discovered in a bloody heap at the base of a cliff, in another of Hardy's vivid images). Boldwood's storyline begins with a nonchalant prank. (Which, btw, I didn't really buy; that's a rare case where Hardy's plot manipulation shows.) So vicissitudes prey on our characters; fate slaps them around. (view spoiler)[And when Bathsheba finally chooses Oak, it's not exactly a happy ending. I mean, compared to Hardy's later work it's ecstatic - only some people die miserable and alone! - but it's ambivalent. "Oak laughed, and Bathsheba smiled (for she never laughed readily now)." The final sentence, given to one of the farmhands: "Since 'tis as 'tis, why, it might have been worse, and I feel my thanks accordingly." Bathsheba has been pretty thoroughly beaten down here; she flees to Oak's solidness, and it might have been worse, but it might have been better too. (hide spoiler)] How happy do you think the ending is?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    With how long this has been sitting on my currently reading shelf (a little over 4 months, I do believe) I'm sure you all were expecting me to come back with a scathing review. But it's quite the contrary - I'm happy to report that this was wonderful. It's just that I was in the mood to read this and then I wasn't and then I was again, and that's that mystery solved. This was my first Thomas Hardy, and I chose it because I'd already seen the Carey Mulligan film and fell very much in love with th With how long this has been sitting on my currently reading shelf (a little over 4 months, I do believe) I'm sure you all were expecting me to come back with a scathing review. But it's quite the contrary - I'm happy to report that this was wonderful. It's just that I was in the mood to read this and then I wasn't and then I was again, and that's that mystery solved. This was my first Thomas Hardy, and I chose it because I'd already seen the Carey Mulligan film and fell very much in love with the elaborate soap opera that is Bathsheba Everdene's life. Sorry if this is slanderous, but the frankly elaborate ways in which she and Oak are pushed together and pulled apart throughout this book are something straight out of EastEnders, and it was delightful. But even though I already knew the story, I enjoyed watching it all unfold again. I also found Bathsheba to be one of the most complex heroines from any classic novel I've read, and her thoroughly compelling journey for peace and love as she came to better understand herself was just a constant source of joy to read. It goes without saying that this male-authored work from 1874 is not a Feminist Novel, but the sheer compassion with which Bathsheba's character arc is crafted was something of a surprise to me, in a good way. I certainly wasn't expecting lines like this: "It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs." Or this: "'But a husband–' 'Well!' 'Why, he'd always be there, as you say; whenever I looked up, there he'd be.' 'Of course he would – I, that is.' 'Well, what I mean is that I shouldn't mind being a bride at a wedding, if I could be one without having a husband. But since a woman can't show off in that way by herself, I shan't marry – at least yet.'" (That may be the single most iconic exchange I've ever read.) I occasionally found Hardy's writing a bit overwrought, but the dialogue was lively and the pastoral setting was brought to life spectacularly. Despite the fact that this is a book filled with vibrant characters and dramatic plot twists, it's ultimately rather slow-paced, so I don't really regret the (excessively) languid pace at which I read it. I'm looking forward to reading more of Hardy, probably Tess of the D'Urbervilles or Jude the Obscure next.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Far from the Madding Crowd is one of the three Thomas Hardy novels I’d read by the time I turned twenty. The others were Tess of the Durbervilles and Jude the Obscure. My twenty-year-old self was irritated by Tess’ passivity and found Jude’s life too depressing to contemplate. However, this novel had a few laughs and a conventionally happy ending, so even though it also has its fair share of madness, depression, despair and death, I was content to say that I liked it. I didn’t like it enough to Far from the Madding Crowd is one of the three Thomas Hardy novels I’d read by the time I turned twenty. The others were Tess of the Durbervilles and Jude the Obscure. My twenty-year-old self was irritated by Tess’ passivity and found Jude’s life too depressing to contemplate. However, this novel had a few laughs and a conventionally happy ending, so even though it also has its fair share of madness, depression, despair and death, I was content to say that I liked it. I didn’t like it enough to make me want to read it again, though. Many, many years later I’ve come to a new appreciation of Hardy’s work, which started with listening to and loving audiobook versions of The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Under the Greenwood Tree. With such positive experiences under my belt, I tackled Jude the Obscure and Tess of the d’Urbervilles in the same format and found, much to my surprise, that Tess no longer annoyed me as she had before and that Jude filled me with compassion rather than made me feel depressed. My current reaction to Hardy’s novels may just be a factor of age and life experience. But for whatever reason, I now respond emotionally and not just intellectually to their elements of Greek and Shakespearean tragedy. Hardy’s characters move me deeply and I’m equally moved by his intensely poetic prose. I particularly love the painterly way in which Hardy describes the location of his novels: the geography, the nature, the architecture – all are rendered in colour, light and shade. And so to Far from the Madding Crowd. It has the reputation of being the sunniest of Hardy’s novels. That reputation is, I think, undeserved. Tragedy it’s not, but it’s still a more serious and weighty offering than Under the Greenwood Tree. The narrative is straightforward enough. The heroine, Bathsheba Everdene, is courted by three very different men: the steady, reliable and aptly named Gabriel Oak, the repressed and stalkerish William Boldwood and the dashing Bad Boy, Frank Troy. In dealing with these three relationships, Hardy explores themes including the relationship between chance and moral responsibility and the inherent danger of romantic love. The three central characters are supplemented by a chorus of farmworkers and the tragic Fanny Robin, whose fate is central to the plot. As much as I appreciate Hardy’s writing, I tend to have issues with his female characters. Bathsheba Everdene is no exception. Early on this time around, my reaction to her was similar to my reaction to the character played by Andie MacDowell in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Yes, I understand that she’s beautiful, but given her personality I don’t really understand why she would inspire anyone to undying devotion. However, Bathsheba won me over, up to a point anyway. She’s flawed, but not completely lacking insight into her flaws and she develops over the course of the novel. I listened to an audiobook edition narrated by English actor Jamie Parker. He does an excellent job, including with the female voices. This is no mean feat for a male narrator. All in all, this was a worthwhile literary experience. My 20-year-old self feels validated.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    This is my first read of Thomas Hardy and what a reward it was. Simply brilliant! I'm absolutely in love with his style of writing: the poetic language and phrasing and his sense in detail to description. What a power of observation Hardy had possessed? Whether it is to human emotions, human psychology, the rural set up of the story, the structures, fixtures, weather or anything, his eye for observance and accuracy in detail throughout the book was simply amazing. With reference to characters, I This is my first read of Thomas Hardy and what a reward it was. Simply brilliant! I'm absolutely in love with his style of writing: the poetic language and phrasing and his sense in detail to description. What a power of observation Hardy had possessed? Whether it is to human emotions, human psychology, the rural set up of the story, the structures, fixtures, weather or anything, his eye for observance and accuracy in detail throughout the book was simply amazing. With reference to characters, I loved Gabriel Oak the most. His steadfastness, his strength and courage, his honesty and loyalty and above all his unconditional love towards Bathsheba bounded me deep to him. As to Bathsheba, I liked her too. She was strong-willed and independent and her life circumstances have made her guarded. Her pride is not injurious but it is rather a cloak of protection she uses. But young as she is, she is not free of fault; her impetuous nature and a little insensitivity for others feelings can be accounted for in that light. The only fault that I could allude was her failure to understand her own heart! However with all her wild ways and her recklessness at times, her strength and courage to undergo so many heartaches was admirable. I have always loved such courageous female protagonists and Bathsheba is definitely a one. Rest of the characters were appropriately chosen and placed. I liked Mr. Boldwood. His obsession with Bathsheba and his conduct added a little humor to the story. And as customary in any story, there is a villain and he is none other than sergeant Troy. He was so well portrayed by Hardy, for I killed him numerous times before it was actually done by Boldwood. Overall, it was a beautiful story, wonderfully written. I enjoyed it so much and was loath to see it ended. Another brilliant masterpiece I read back to back.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amy | shoutame

    Definitely one of my favourite classics of the year so far! This novel centres around a female character name Bathsheba Everdene and the events that befall her as she tries to make her way in the world. When she takes ownership of a family farm she is quickly picked out by many men in the village and soon has a fair few marriage proposals. She must make up her mind as to who she is and what she plans on doing. Once she has made her choice she must make her bed and lie in it! I found this to be su Definitely one of my favourite classics of the year so far! This novel centres around a female character name Bathsheba Everdene and the events that befall her as she tries to make her way in the world. When she takes ownership of a family farm she is quickly picked out by many men in the village and soon has a fair few marriage proposals. She must make up her mind as to who she is and what she plans on doing. Once she has made her choice she must make her bed and lie in it! I found this to be such an enjoyable read - I really love books set in this time period, I find the characters and the decisions they make to be rather amusing! My favourite character by far was Gabriel Oak - what a top bloke! This was my first novel by Hardy and I have since picked up Tess of the D'Urbevilles. I would highly recommend this one to all!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ted

    Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. Thomas Gray, Elegy written in a Country Churchyard - 1751 Hopefully by the end of the review, the reader will have an idea of how Hardy was inspired by these lines. Let's look at a discourse in chapter XXII of this book (short chapters, the words are on page 166) in which Hardy is talking about the rather staid subject of th Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. Thomas Gray, Elegy written in a Country Churchyard - 1751 Hopefully by the end of the review, the reader will have an idea of how Hardy was inspired by these lines. Let's look at a discourse in chapter XXII of this book (short chapters, the words are on page 166) in which Hardy is talking about the rather staid subject of the chapter, that being "The Great Barn and the Sheep Shearers". Actually, that chapter title is itself the sort of writing I loved about this book. How can a novel have a chapter title like that, unless it tells about a conflagration, or a violent gang called the sheep shearers … something like that. But this is a gentle story. It's gentle like the Wessex countryside that it's set in (more on Wessex later). But first, to diverge down a side-track or three (you'll likely gain very little by reading this (view spoiler)[ … The edition pictured with this review was thought by the reviewer to be the one he read a few years ago. So when he determined to enlarge his review – that is, make it sort of a review instead of a non-review - he went looking for the Penguin book. He delved into the bottom of his world (the basement) looking for that Penguin, but found a quite different species on the shelf holding a few books by Hardy. And upon looking very carefully (for the marks were light, and few) he realized that this different species really was the one that had brought the story to him. He had thought that he could quickly select a couple passages that had amused him, from those he had surely underlined, commented upon, made squiggles and stars and !!!!s and other marks beside. But no. Due to the actual paucity of markings, he felt fortunate to even find those few in the chapter mentioned. The edition I refer to is a Quality Paperback Book Club reproduction of the Wessex edition published by Macmillan & Co., London, in 1912. It contains a Preface written by Hardy himself ("T.H."), dated "1895-1902." Presumably that means that some bits were added in 1902 to an 1895 preface - not that Hardy took seven years to write a preface first finding print in 1902. (hide spoiler)] The parts that I'll quote from this chapter deal mainly with that Great Barn, but also with Wessex, time, the pace of life in this part of England – things like that.One could say about this barn, what could hardly be said of either the church or the castle, akin to it in age and style, that the purpose which had dictated its original erection was the same with that to which it was still applied. Unlike and superior to either of those two typical remnants of medievalism, the old barn embodied practices which had suffered no mutilation at the hands of time. Here at least the spirit of the ancient builders was at one with the modern beholder. Standing before this abraded pile, the eye regarded its present usage, the mind dwelt upon its past history, with a satisfied sense of functional continuity throughout – a feeling almost of gratitude, and quite of pride, at the permanence of the idea which had heaped it up. The fact that four centuries had neither proved it to be founded on a mistake, inspired any hatred of its purpose, nor given rise to any reaction that had battered it down, invested this simple grey effort of old minds with a repose, if not a grandeur, which a too curious reflection was apt to disturb in its ecclesiastical and military compeers. The lanceolate windows, the time-eaten arch-stones and chamfers, the orientation of the axis, the misty chestnut work of the rafters, referred to no exploded fortifying art or worn-out religious creed. The defense and salvation of the body by daily bread is still a study, a religion, and a desire. [Here skipping a paragraph detailing the suitability of the design to the sheep shearing activity …] This picture of today in its frame of four hundred years ago did not produce that marked contrast between ancient and modern which is implied by the contrast of date. In comparison with cities, Weatherbury was immutable. The citizen's Then is the rustic's Now. In London, twenty or thirty years ago are old times; in Paris ten years, or five; in Weatherbury three or four score years were included in the mere present, and nothing less than a century set a mark on its face or tone. Five decades hardly modified the cut of a gaiter, the embroidery of a smock-frock, by the breadth of a hair. Ten generations failed to alter the turn of a single phrase. In these Wessex nooks the busy outsider's ancient times are only old; his old times are still new; his present is futurity. So the barn was natural to the shearers, and the shearers were in harmony with the barn. One more less extensive reference here. The protagonists of the novel, the young Gabriel and the unusually female farm holder Bathsheba, whom he is working for, are here (in the Great Barn) together as he begins to shear a sheep, and she watches. "Bathsheba, after throwing a glance here, a caution there [at and to the younger shearers] … came again to Gabriel, as he put down his lunch to drag a frightened ewe to his shear-station, flinging it over upon its back with a dexterous twist of the arm. He lopped off the tresses about its head, and opened up the neck and collar, his mistress quietly looking on. 'She blushes at the insult', murmured Bathsheba, watching the pink flush which arose and overspread the neck and shoulders of the ewe where they were left bare by the clicking shears – a flush which was enviable, for its delicacy, by many queens of coteries, and would have been creditable, for its promptness, to any woman in the world." When Gabriel is done, "The clean, sleek creature arose from its fleece – how perfectly like Aphrodite rising from the foam should have been seen to be realized – looking startled and shy at the loss of its garment, which lay on the floor in one soft cloud, united throughout, the portion visible being the inner surface only, which, never before exposed, was white as snow, and without flaw or blemish of the minutest kind" Yes, even the ewes blush when shorn of their natural coverings, in Wessex. And speaking of … Wessex Hardy writes in his Preface, written a generation after the story was first published,In reprinting this story for a new edition I am reminded that it was in the chapters of "Far from the Madding Crowd," as they appeared month by month in a popular magazine, that I first ventured to adopt the word "Wessex" from the pages of early English history, and give it a fictitious significance as the existing name of the district once included in that extinct kingdom. The series of novels I projected being mainly of the kind called local, they seemed to require a territorial definition of some sort to lend unity to their scene. Finding that the area of a single county did not afford a canvas large enough for this purpose, and that there were objections to an invented name, I disinterred the old one. The region designated was known but vaguely, and I was often asked even by educated people where it lay. However, the press and the public were kind enough to welcome the fanciful plan, and willingly joined me in the anachronism of imagining a Wessex population living under Queen Victoria; - a modern Wessex of railways, the penny post, mowing and reaping machines, union workhouses, lucifer matches, labourers who could read and write, and National school children. But I believe I am correct in stating that, until the existence of this contemporaneous Wessex in place of the usual counties was announced in the present story, in 1874, it had never been heard of in fiction and current speech, if at all, and that the expression "a Wessex peasant," or "a Wessex custom," would therefore have been taken to refer to nothing later in date than the Norman Conquest. I remember the story, for lack of a better word, as "gentle". Not meaning that there are no (modest) villains, or that nothing unfortunate happens. Actually, the word should be applied to the manner in which the story is told – a "gentle telling". Rather as if Hardy had decided to read it to us, instead of forcing us to read it ourselves, so that he could indicate not only by his words, but by his tone of voice, by an occasional wink, by a smile or scowl or widening of the eyes not only the path of events and the words of conversations, but the texture and emotion of what's going on inside the characters. And his gentle telling dovetails with the essentially gentle time in which the story is set. The ups and downs of life simply accepted as the way things are, the glass is always half full (at least), things go on as before, year after year, seasons cycling, love coming and going … Mindful of A Month in the Country, though set half a century earlier. Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Previous review: Tales of Hoffman the Chicago Eight Seven Next review: World Treasury of S.F. More recent review: Life from an RNA World Previous library review: Blake biography by Peter Ackroyd Next library review: A Child's Garden of Verses

  25. 5 out of 5

    Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)

    Update--10/14/2012: I just completed a re-read of this novel. The more I read it, the more I realize that it is simply exquisitely plotted and written. Hardy-the-poet shines through on just about every page as he describes the pastoral Wessex landscape and the country rustics that occupy it. This is truly a gem of a novel, and one of my favorites by Hardy. *** I just completed re-reading Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, and just fell in love with it all over again! The first time I read the nov Update--10/14/2012: I just completed a re-read of this novel. The more I read it, the more I realize that it is simply exquisitely plotted and written. Hardy-the-poet shines through on just about every page as he describes the pastoral Wessex landscape and the country rustics that occupy it. This is truly a gem of a novel, and one of my favorites by Hardy. *** I just completed re-reading Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd, and just fell in love with it all over again! The first time I read the novel was last summer as a serialized group read with one of my groups on Shelfari.com. I loved it the first time through, but realized that I could find even more in it with a careful re-reading. I did. It really is a beautiful novel, and so very well written with an engaging plot. The novel is loaded with allusion, much of it biblical; and even the character's names -- Bathsheba Everdene, Gabriel Oak, Farmer Boldwood, Fanny Robin, and Sergeant Frank Troy -- evoke comparisons to vivid images, scenes from Nature, or historical or mythological personages. Hardy's ability to inextricably link the pastoral landscape of his Wessex countryside with the emotions and thoughts of his characters is remarkable. As in The Return of the Native and the landscape of the Egdon Heath, Hardy makes the rolling hills, woodlands, hay fields and sheep pastures surrounding Weatherbury as much a primary protagonist and character in the novel as the human characters themselves. His prose associated with the placement and movement of the novel's human players within this landscape becomes almost lyrical and poetic; and as I am sure he intended, reflects his interpretation and representation of a time and place in southwestern England that was important to him, but is part of that heritage of what it means to be 'English.' The story of the romantic 'square' involving Gabriel Oak, Bathsheba Everdene, Farmer Boldwood, and Frank Troy is a tale that resonates in each of us. We can relate, at different times, to the motives and actions of each as they pirouette through their dance of Life and Love against the pastoral backdrop of the farms and sheep paddocks of Weatherbury. This is the Nature of Hardy's beloved Wessex. Like a hound on the trail, make sure to follow Hardy's use of the color 'scarlet' and 'red' through the novel. Read and experience Hardy's use of Fate, Chance, Change, and Irony working their primeval magics upon the landscape and human actors in this great play of Life. Far From the Madding Crowd is truly a timeless work from one of the Victorian period's great authors.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca May

    Far From the Madding Crowd is, without a doubt, the strangest romance novel I have ever read. Before starting the review, I do have a slight confession to make. When I initially saw this novel in the bookshop, the only reason I recognised the title was because Harry Kennedy – played by Richard Armitage, my favourite actor at the time – quoted a line from the story in The Vicar of Dibley: Harry Kennedy: "As Gabriel Oak said to Bathsheba in Far From the Madding Crowd; ‘Whenever I look up, there shal Far From the Madding Crowd is, without a doubt, the strangest romance novel I have ever read. Before starting the review, I do have a slight confession to make. When I initially saw this novel in the bookshop, the only reason I recognised the title was because Harry Kennedy – played by Richard Armitage, my favourite actor at the time – quoted a line from the story in The Vicar of Dibley: Harry Kennedy: "As Gabriel Oak said to Bathsheba in Far From the Madding Crowd; ‘Whenever I look up, there shall be you, and whenever you look up, there shall I be.' " Though Far From the Madding Crowd did look like the type of book I would enjoy, I can't deny that my primary reason for buying the novel was because a character played by Richard Armitage quoted a line from it. Yes, I am that bad. Now I've got that out of the way, when you’ve all stopped laughing at me, I can continue with my review. … No, seriously, you can stop laughing now. So, why does Far From the Madding Crowd classify as the strangest romance novel I have ever read? For a great many reasons; first of all, one might expect that the above quote would come near the end of the novel, at such a time when the two lovers are confessing their love for one another, no? Wrong. So wrong. In actual fact, this quote (which is also somewhat switched around) appeared when the story had gone on for a grand total of forty pages, during an impassioned proposal from Gabriel Oak to Bathsheba Everdene, which is promptly refused. So much for my intention to enjoy reading a beautiful and familiar quote in a romantic setting. Hmph. The author is the second reason this was such a strange story. One would expect that the author of a classic romantic novel would have some sort of understanding of love – and Thomas Hardy certainly has that. What baffled and perplexed me was to read a novel during which the author seems, at times, to have uncannily accurate and perceptive observations on the subject of love, with lines that make your heart want to soar. But at other times he seems to have very little opinion of love at all. Certain comments - almost scathing in nature - are enough to knock you right back, perhaps not agreeing with the statement, but it nags at you nonetheless because of the kernel of truth at its centre. Here is one such quote: "The rarest offerings of the purest loves are but a self-indulgence, and no generosity at all." It took me at least half an hour of uneasy and careful contemplation of this line in order to understand my own thoughts on the matter. Indeed, it was quite impossible for me to pick up the novel again until I understood why it bothered me so. My heart immediately cried out against the injustice of this statement, yet it's ring of truth made it imperative that I justify that disagreement to myself. In the end I was glad to have been able to make such a justification. I decided that every action we take does indeed have an element of selfishness; after all, it is we ourselves who choose the actions we take. But this need not diminish the value in any act of love or kindness, and I could never consider it a weakness to wish those we love to be happy. There are two more reasons why Far From the Madding Crowd was such a unique romance, and these reasons go hand in hand; the characters and the subsequent plot. Our heroine Bathsheba Everdene – who is an interesting character in herself – spends most of the novel being courted not by Gabriel Oak, our hero, but by two other men; Sergeant Troy and Mr Boldwood. I will return to those two in a moment, but first I must describe Gabriel Oak – don’t you just love that name? Gabriel is a reasonably young farmer, with unremarkable looks, a wonderful and very adorable way with animals (well, except when he shoots his dog…) and steadfast principles. He is extremely kind, intelligent in his own simplistic way, admirably humble and shatteringly honest. Steady, quiet and dependable, Gabriel remains almost in the background for a decent portion of the novel, but the strength of his presence means that he is never forgotten. One would think it would be hard to respect or like a man who can fall in love within the space of about twenty pages, and offer marriage to Miss Everdene when she barely knows him, but Thomas Hardy does a wonderful job of making it believable. Gabriel Oak feels a special connection to Bathsheba, despite being well aware of her faults, and would be content only to be liked in return for the privilege of having a bride he loves. Miss Bathsheba Everdene, however, is quite a different story. Gabriel endures some ill fortune which eventually brings him to be employed by Bathsheba, who recently inherited a large farm from a deceased relative. Observing Miss Everdene moving amongst the community of male farmers with grace, confidence and skill does indeed inspire admiration. Bathsheba is clever, beautiful, hard-working and determined, so one can quite understand Gabriel’s attraction to her. But she is dangerously capricious, and unbelievably conceited. Indeed, her despicable vanity made it difficult for me to like her, at times. There is even a point where she feels piqued and disappointed that Gabriel Oak is no longer showing any love or admiration for her; even though that would mean she would have to continue breaking his heart. I found it hateful that Bathsheba desired the admiration of others so much she did not care nearly enough for what that admiration might cost them. As one might expect, her caprice and vanity quickly lead her into a very tangled situation. On the spur of the moment she decides to send a love note to a neighbouring Farmer, Farmer Boldwood, asking him to marry her. The note is meant to tease, to amuse Bathsheba, as she wishes to see what reaction she will get from the man who is the biggest catch in the district, yet is reputed to have a heart of marble. What the lady did not anticipate was that the note would cause Mr. Boldwood to fall utterly and irrevocably in love with her. When Boldwood originally entered the story, he seemed to me to resemble the character of Mr. John Thornton from North and South. Mr. Boldwood is a wealthy gentleman overseeing a farm of considerable size, and seems rather cold and distant. Like Mr. Thornton, his life has been too much involved with work to notice women for a considerable time, though the fact that he was jilted as a young man also contributes to his cold and un-romantic heart. However, as the novel progressed his resemblance to Mr. Thornton becomes less and less pronounced, as he falls in love with the lovely Miss Everdene based on a Valentine’s note that was intended as a silly prank. Furthermore he is determined and insistent to the point of foolishness, and eventually I felt ashamed of myself for ever having compared the man to Mr. Thornton. Though Boldwood had his good qualities, Mr. Thornton would never be so foolish as to fall in love for such a silly reason. Thornton possesses a depth of love that is incomparable to Boldwood’s feelings, and he knows how to express his feelings with much more beauty and sincerity than Boldwood could ever achieve. Thornton’s proposal was a thousand times more romantic, and he knows how to back down with far more grace and honour, knows how to love from a distance when there seems to be no hope. Boldwood’s love, on the other hand, was dangerous and all-consuming; he pursues Bathsheba relentlessly, until by the end of the novel Bathsheba accepts his proposal. (I’m going to call it his twenty-seventh, but I unfortunately didn’t count) I might also add that Bathsheba is literally weeping when she accepts his proposal – out of a sense of obligation, seeing as she started it all with that stupid note – and she adds the caveat that she will only marry him after seven years has passed, assuming her missing-and-presumed-dead-from-drowning husband has not returned during that time. And in case you were wondering, Boldwood was actually happy with the acceptance of a woman who began to cry upon realising she was beaten down enough by obligation to accept his proposal. (P.S., 2015: Having now seen the latest film version of Far From the Madding Crowd, I felt compelled to add to this section of the review that Michael Sheen's depiction of Boldwood is simply brilliant. While the whole film is a beautiful masterpiece and I would recommend it to anyone, Michael Sheen's portrayal of Boldwood assisted greatly in my understanding of the character, and substantially added to my empathy and liking for him). Gabriel Oak, however, is far more self-sacrificing; he is prepared to hide his own heart away and step aside, compromising his own happiness in the hope that Bathsheba may be happy, and furthermore entering her confidence as an honest and valued friend. "Thoroughly convinced of the impossibility of his own suit, a high resolve constrained him not to injure that of another. This is a lover's most stoical virtue, as the lack of it is a lover's most venial sin." But if you can believe it, Miss Everdene’s first choice of husband was far, far worse than Boldwood. I do not wish to spoil the plot, so I will not speak overly of Sergeant Francis Troy, but to say that he is everything I find despicable in a man. His surface charms, good looks and brilliant compliments appealed to Bathsheba’s vanity. I have previously mentioned that her vanity was her worst fault, and here she pays for that fault dearly. The attraction between them is little more than lust, but unfortunately Bathsheba does not realise this until after she marries him, and discovers what a truly terrible man he is. Some of the things Troy does literally made me want to throw the book at a wall, they made me so angry. How could Bathsheba be so intelligent, yet have such terrible taste as to turn down Gabriel Oak and accept the monster that was Sergeant Troy? I cannot say any more without giving away too much of the plot, but rest assured; though Far From the Madding Crowd can sometimes be a little depressing, it ends well and so beautifully that I had tears in my eyes. Aside from his very well-drawn plot and characters, Thomas Hardy has a way of writing that simply astounded me. The way he constructs his sentences, the words he chooses, his description and insight… all these things combine to make an unbelievably beautiful novel. The story is full of very quotable quotes, and contains observations of nature that simply take ones breath away: ”To persons standing alone on a hill during a clear midnight such as this, the roll of the world eastward is almost a palpable movement. The sensation may be caused by the panoramic glide of the stars past earthly objects, which is perceptible in a few minutes of stillness, or by the better outlook upon space that a hill affords, or by the wind, or by the solitude; but whatever be it’s origin the impression of riding along is vivid and abiding. The poetry of motion is a phrase much in use, and to enjoy the epic form of that gratification it is necessary to stand on a hill at a small hour of the night, and, having first expanded with a sense of difference from the mass of civilized mankind, who are dream-wrapt and disregardful of all such proceedings at this time, long and quietly watch your stately progress through the stars. After such a nocturnal reconnoitre it is hard to get back to earth, and to believe that the consciousness of such majestic speeding is derived from a tiny human frame.” … I’m speechless. And that is but one of many, many examples of such beautiful and insightful writing. Even if a classic romance set in the rural countryside would not appeal to you, it is worth reading Far From the Madding Crowd just to experience such extraordinary writing. I rarely ever go back to read a line again – only if it is extremely funny or seems to require contemplation – but a spellbound sense of wonder often sent me back over Hardy’s words, in order to truly appreciate these brilliant descriptions. Overall then, despite my original reason for picking up the book (thanks Richard Armitage, I’m sure they’ll be laughing at me for a week now, but seeing as I enjoyed the book so much I forgive you),I discovered much, much more than I ever expected to find. I discovered interesting and well-drawn characters, beautiful writing that required much thought, and the story of a romance that was undoubtedly strange, but a story that needed to be told all the same.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    A Snake, a Fruitcake and a Beefcake with Heartache Sgt. Troy, Billy Boldwood and Gabriel Oak Bathsheba Everdeen has inherited a sheep farm from her late uncle in the idyllic Victorian farming community, the village of Weatherbury, Wessex County, England. The novel was published in 1874 and reportedly was Hardy's first commercial success (his 4th novel). Bathsheba is haughty and creates her own set of madding problems by sending a Valentine to the shy, very strange William Boldwood, after turning d A Snake, a Fruitcake and a Beefcake with Heartache Sgt. Troy, Billy Boldwood and Gabriel Oak Bathsheba Everdeen has inherited a sheep farm from her late uncle in the idyllic Victorian farming community, the village of Weatherbury, Wessex County, England. The novel was published in 1874 and reportedly was Hardy's first commercial success (his 4th novel). Bathsheba is haughty and creates her own set of madding problems by sending a Valentine to the shy, very strange William Boldwood, after turning down a marriage proposal from the heady shepherd/farmer Gabe Oak. Then as giddy as a schoolgirl, she falls head over heels for the cad Sergeant Troy (a distant relative of Major Tom and Captain Jack). To say more on the story would reveal a spoiler. Hardy deftly focuses on themes of honor, love and betrayal. He took the title from a poem called "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray (1751). "Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their way." I was quite frustrated by Bathsheba's total infatuation with Sergeant Troy. Have young women always worn blinders to the duplicity of the attractive snakes, going back to the Original Sin? Can nothing be done to save such heartaches, that everyone except the lady can see coming? Probably so and likely not. In any case, I found this a good, but not great, novel.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sawsan

    "we are only as blind as we want to be" sometimes the right way is clearly in front of us and however we chose to walk at wrong ways 19th Century novel at rural England of a young independent woman with three men in her life a story of love, impulsive mistakes, and the courage to start over

  29. 4 out of 5

    kian

    Bathsheba seeming to think of the storm, Gabriel thinking only of her...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    A brilliant novel, with such brilliant characters and story and wonderful writing.

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