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Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
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Far from the Madding Crowd

by Thomas Hardy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,527150588 (3.97)563
  1. 71
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Booksloth)
  2. 40
    The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy (Porua)
    Porua: I would like to recommend another Thomas Hardy novel, The Return of the Native. When I first read The Return of the Native it kind of surprised me to see how very similar it is to Far from the Madding Crowd. They are very similar in their story lines, characterization and narrative style.… (more)
  3. 30
    Middlemarch by George Eliot (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These 19th-century classics portray complex romantic relationships with vivid descriptions and a strong sense of place. With intricate, twisting plots, both offer their protagonists bleak outlooks that end in satisfying resolutions.
  4. 00
    Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Lapsus_Linguae)
    Lapsus_Linguae: Both main heroines are strong-willed independent women who take up entrepreneurship.
  5. 22
    Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (Booksloth)
  6. 00
    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (Lapsus_Linguae)
    Lapsus_Linguae: Both novels feature a strong female protagonist trapped in an abusive marriage. Endings are also pretty similar.
  7. 23
    York Notes: Far from the Madding Crowd by Barbara Murray (Sylak)
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» See also 563 mentions

English (147)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
Hmmmm...Madding means acting in a frenzied manner. I've spent many decades, and the first half of this book, at least, reading Maddening rather than Madding. Perhaps that explains why I only read at half the speed required for success in college. I miss too much and have to involve myself in endless re-dos.

Anyway, one day, I was reading Time in the bathroom and perused a review of a new movie based on this book. Something about an independent young woman. So, that sounded fun. Then too, the actress looked to be kinda cute. So what's not to like? Additionally, the protagonist was named Bathsheba Everdene. Bathsheba, as in the chick King David raped and whose spouse he had murdered (think about that all you supporters of capital punishment, King David was a rapist and a murderer, but God decided he could be redeemed for better things), and Everdene as in the hot archer chick, Katniss Everdeen of Hunger Games fame. Ok, the Everdenes aren't related, nor do they spell their names the same way, and Thomas Hardy didn't know anything about 21st century diversions. But still, how could I not read the book?

And so, I have. Read the book, that is. I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to rate this book. On the one hand, it's very beautifully written, almost poetic in parts. On the other hand, some bits get a bit overly romantic for my jaundiced sensibilities.

So, we're in the mid 19th century. There's a local Wessex farmer, Gabriel Oak who gets rather besotted by a young woman, Bathsheba Everdene, who has come to live with her aunt. Sometime later, Ms. Everdene has moved on to her uncle's estate and taken over management of it. Farmer Oak falls on bad times, loses his farm, and eventually ends up being the shepherd on Ms. Everdene's farm. Subtly, he also begins advising her, from time to time, on the management of the farm. He manages to keep is romantic interests in check.

But a local esquire takes a fancy to Ms. Everdene. She's not so interested, and he pines. Then along comes a young rake, a soldier, and through much babble and pursuing the leadings of his lust convinces Ms. Everdene to take him up. Eventually, the rogue disappears, and after a while, is presumed dead. So, the esquire begins once more on trying to impose his lustful desires on Ms. Everdene. Then all kinds of other things happen, and Ms. Everdene lurches between "womanish" behavior, i.e. being hard pressed to put the importuning suitors aside, and being a sensible woman of business.

I dunno, the descriptive stuff was awesome, and much of the happenings were fun enough. But when these scoundrels started importuning Ms. Everdene, and she let them get away with it, I got rather mad, but then I'm the creature of a century later, when woman were becoming real people, kinda like us men. The importuning parts reminded me of when those asshole window salesmen who insinuate themselves into your living room and then won't leave. They hold you hostage until you're ready to give them your first born if only they'd f*ng leave. But I also hold women to a higher standard than to submit to such assholery.

But, then again, I finally understand why I should read a book more than once. I'm sure I missed 90% of the atmosphere and would be well rewarded to reacquaint myself to the world of Wessex again.

Interestingly, by the end of the book, Hardy reaches the proper conclusion, that "romantic love" is all B.S. and that for real love to flourish between two people there must first be strongly shared interests and good companionship.

Theirs was that substantial affection which arises (if any arises at all) when the two who are thrown together begin first by knowing the rougher sides of each other’s character, and not the best till further on, the romance growing up in the interstices of a mass of hard prosaic reality. This good fellowship—camaraderie—usually occurring through similarity of pursuits, is unfortunately seldom superadded to love between the sexes, because men and women associate, not in their labours, but in their pleasures merely. Where, however, happy circumstance permits 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.

Oh yeah, I should also mention that this book, and likely other Hardy works as well, abounds in references to old Greek and Roman mythology and to the Bible. The Bible part I can handle pretty well, having read through it several times, off and on, over many years. It's clear, however, that I could well use a refresher in my classical mythology.
( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
My second visit to beautiful Dorset over this glorious Easter holiday has been accompanied by reading my second Thomas Hardy novel. I didn't enjoy this quite as much as The Mayor of Casterbridge, but Far from the Madding Crowd is still a solid and enjoyable novel rooted in the rhythms and ways of life of 19th century Dorset, being the first of Hardy's Wessex novels. Bathsheba Everdene is an independent-minded young woman making her way in the male-dominated rural life of the time, after inheriting her uncle's farm on his death. Yet, as the object of three very different men's differing forms of love, she still shows a headstrong and even reckless side, for example when she sends a joke Valentine's card to middle-aged and confirmed bachelor farmer Boldwood, which ignites an obsession with him as he refuses to accept its light hearted motivation. She marries soldier Frank Troy, but their marriage is not a success and he disappears. It is shepherd Gabriel Oak whose loyal and steadfast devotion to her as his employer wins her love in the end, after a final explosive confrontation between Boldwood and a returned Troy. Other memorable characters include Fanny Robin, Troy's former sweetheart, who dies in the workhouse pregnant with his child. A very good read, though lacking the plot-driven narrative of Mayor of Casterbridge. ( )
  john257hopper | Apr 22, 2019 |
I've only read three of his books now, but I kind of love Thomas Hardy. Because he gets it. He gets how shitty social and moral conventions are to women. Does Hardy have an avid following like Austen or Dickens? Because he totally should! I demand more Hardy adaptations!

Bathsheba Everdene - what an awesome name - is a beautiful, intelligent, confident, and fiercely independent young woman. Upon inheriting her uncle's farm, she moves to Weatherbury, where she attracts the attention of three very different men: loyal shepherd Gabriel Oak, reserved farmer William Boldwood, and dashing soldier Francis Troy.

There are so many vividly drawn scenes - for instance, Bathsheba falls for Troy after he gives her a display of his swordsmanship. (How perfectly Freudian!) And Bathsheba is just such a wonderful character, female or otherwise. She makes her own decisions, some of which are mistakes, but she is strong enough to own to those mistakes and grow from them.

Hardy is truly one of the masters of his craft. Despite his books' gloomy reputations, he has a sense of humor that shines through. And I'm not a fan of descriptive prose, but his is gorgeous without being self-indulgent. I also learned more than I ever wanted to know about raising sheep and what can go wrong. (I admittedly did tune out whenever architecture or farming practices came up, but those passages don't last long.) I highly recommend this book if you're a fan of the marriage plot and/or soapy Masterpiece Theater productions. ( )
1 vote doryfish | Mar 6, 2019 |
Seeing the trailer of the new film in theaters started a ticking clock in my head that would only be satisfied with my finally reading this, or demanding some movie shill to take my money. My better nature succeeded, thanks to a local movie theater with only one screen and the desire to favor the children's and action movies of the summer season instead of period dramas.

I wasn't familiar with this story, only the images and snatches of lines gleaned from the trailer. I read and liked 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' in high school, so I knew to expect wild landscapes, brooding, and fateful consequences.

Turns out that 'Madding' is one of his lighter works, but I couldn't call the ending happy, merely inevitable. Bathsheba Everdene like so many other Victorian heroines goes through hell, all the worse for it being one in part of her own making. Hardy makes a good attempt at making her into an independent spirit, but concedes when he has Bathsheba confess to Boldwood:

“It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.”

She is a fascinating character, but Hardy's own prejudices and the limitations of a serial format and reader expectations make her falter and toe a line that she should be able to ignore. She is a woman who sets out to manage the farm her uncle left her, by herself, at a young age. Oak, Boldwood and Troy each come to love or want her (is there a difference here?) for their own reasons. Love fences her in and inevitably breaks her. Is that the message? Rough stuff, Hardy.

Like many other writers of his generation Hardy revised his work significantly and faced censorship, this edition is the original text as written by Hardy in 1874 before his editor's pen got to it. This means it is rougher around the edges and might be inconsistent in some minor areas with the other Wessex novels, but it also contains the shocking scenes and irreverent realities of Hardy's world. This is the bold and daring novel he first envisioned. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Bathsheba is probably one of the most frustrating females in Classic literature. SPOILER ALERT: I would've picked Oak from the get-go. But I don't think that would've made for much of a story. This is a re-read for me, and I enjoyed reading for pleasure instead of a grade. Hardy does such a great job of establishing time and place. He creates complicated characters, so the plot twists flow easily and believably. This is a solid 4-star read! ( )
  tntbeckyford | Feb 16, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (54 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Hardyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Allingham, Helen PatersonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dickerson, GeorgeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drabble, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Toole, TessNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, NormanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
From wikipedia 19 Dec 2011 - Hardy took the title from Thomas Gray's poem 'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard' (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.
Dedication
First words
When Farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth spread till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his eyes were reduced to chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extending upon his countenance like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun.
On 30 November 1872 a letter arrived at Thomas Hardy's isolated cottage in Dorset that must by any standards be considered astonishing. (Introduction)
Quotations
It appears that ordinary men take wives because possession is not possible without marriage, and that ordinary women accept husbands because marriage is not possible without possession; with totally differing aims the method is the same on both sides.
It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141439653, Paperback)

Set in his fictional Wessex countryside in southwest England, Far from the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy's breakthrough work. Though it was first published anonymously in 1874, the quick and tremendous success of Far from the Madding Crowd persuaded Hardy to give up his first profession, architecture, to concentrate on writing fiction. The story of the ill-fated passions of the beautiful Bathsheba Everdene and her three suitors offers a spectacle of country life brimming with an energy and charm not customarily associated with Hardy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:20 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

This updated authoritative edition of the classic Hardy novel, which was published anonymously and first attributed to George Eliot, is set from Hardy's revised, unedited final draft of 1912 and features a new Introduction and Afterword. There is in England no more real or typical district than Thomas Hardy's imaginary Wessex, the scattered fields and farms of which were first discovered in Far from the Madding Crowd. It is here that Gabriel Oak observes Bathsheba, the young mistress of Weatherbury Farm, fall victim to her amorous caprices. He stands by her through one marriage to a handsome, corruptly sentimental sergeant. Selflessly altruistic, he sees her through another betrothal to her compulsive, puritanical neighbor-as unaware as she of the stroke of Fate that will effect their ultimate union. Published anonymously and first attributed to George Eliot, Far from the Madding Crowd won Hardy immediate success; it combines an architecturally perfect plot with the philosophical overtones that were to set the theme for all his later works. The text of this Signet Classic is set from Hardy's revised final version of Far from the Madding Crowd , published in 1912 in the authoritative Wessex edition.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439653, 0141198931

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An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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