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Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)

by Thomas Hardy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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11,520198588 (3.98)660
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Far from the Madding Crowd (1874) is the love story between the good shepherd Gabriel Oak and the proud heiress Bathsheba Everdene. Bathsheba scorns Gabriel's first bald proposal, and many years pass, seeing their positions in society change, as well as their relationship to each other. Bathsheba must see the tragic consequences of her easy use of others before she understands who her truest friend is.

.… (more)
  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. 40
    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. 10
    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.
  5. 22
    Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (Booksloth)
  6. 12
    Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Lapsus_Linguae)
    Lapsus_Linguae: Both main heroines are strong-willed independent women who take up entrepreneurship.
  7. 24
    York Notes on Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd by Barbara Murray (Sylak)
1870s (4)

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English (192)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (197)
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
It’s probably some failing of mine; I don’t understand the connection of the title. I mean, yes, the story takes place in a rural setting, but that doesn’t seem to be a factor any character dwells upon. I also don’t understand concluding with an unlofty Biblical quote which seems to me derisive.
But that’s not to say I didn’t love this story. I did.
The story is a bit rife with men who are overwhelmed by youthful beauty. And, at least for me, begs the question: Why is it that so often people, when they have an overwhelming passion for another, will insist on a union, believing that they have enough love for both, as though it were some shortcoming on the other’s part which they imagine themselves capable of compensating for? They will beg for the union regardless of denouncements of any reciprocal feeling, and presume they, who love so deeply, would have the hardest part of such a union. They seem to presume that to be showered with compliments, attention, gifts, and affection (as these wooers imagine they can do without resentment for its absence toward themselves) is all the joy and value of love that the loved one could require. Where, in reality, the value of love comes far less from being a recipient of its expression, and far more from it simply and naturally bubbling up from within one’s own heart. To expect someone, let alone the person held above all others as the dearest creature living, to live a life in fear of never being able to conjure that natural wellspring of outpouring joy from their own hearts in any form other than gratitude, is to expect the person you believe worthy of your love to be content as a lifelong miser. If that person could do so, how is it they would be worthy? Oughtn’t that passionate soul to think twice about the inspiration of passion? If it is not the beauty of the soul it likely cannot endure with or without reciprocation.
Trying here, not to give too much away, though perhaps I'm the last to read (or rather, listen to) this 1874 classic; It seems the story progresses beyond this, to the telling of something developed toward harmony and equality, but those final lines give me pause for second thoughts. ([Possible spoiler coming?] Which would be most sad if the author thought to tell me that a beautiful woman can only ever be idolized.)
Speaking of "listening to", I've said it before and will say it again, John Lee is an excellent narrator!
( )
  TraSea | Apr 29, 2024 |
I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn't do it for me. Coming from Thomas Hardy, I was looking for much more morbidity and darkness, and this youthful, devil-may-careish style just doesn't suit him very well. I thought Bathsheba far too wavering a character to take her headstrong attitude seriously, and Boldwood was anything but his namesake, sauntering about with a stick up his ass the majority of the time. I sympathized for Gabriel at first, but as time went on, he became too self-righteous and I stopped vying for him. I honestly think a tragic ending for all of them would have been more suitable, and brutally ironic. ( )
  TheBooksofWrath | Apr 18, 2024 |
Reason read: TBR takedown
This book was Hardy's fourth published novel. It is set in Wessex (rural sw England) and the idyllic but hash life of a farming community. The time period is Victorian England. The main female character is Bathsheba Everdene. She is not your typical female in that she is an independent female farmer. She does not want to lose her independence. The three male characters, all suitors of Bathsheba, are William Boldwood (gentleman farmer), Gabriel Oak, (hired hand), and Sergeant Troy (Don Juan in uniform).

The themes are love, honour, and betrayal. I found myself at times disliking Bathsheba and other times liking her. Gabriel is the loyal faithfaul friend, William Boldwood is the obsessive, Troy is a false horse and Bathsheba, usually so smart and careful fails to see the danger.

This book is unlike other Hardy books that I've read. It was the happiest. There are references to characters of this book in Mayor of Castlebridge. It is not as tragic as Tess nor as depressing and nihilistic as Jude the Obscure. It can be called a romance with three suitors. ( )
2 vote Kristelh | Feb 17, 2024 |
At its very soul, Far From the Madding Crowd isn't an emotional rollercoaster, but a see-saw which, slowly but steadily, keeps shifting between normalcy and heightened passions. The story is set in the English Countryside, and Thomas Hardy paints a beautiful picture of its backdrop while artfully placing the lead characters as isolated individuals in a vastly spacious land.

The story focuses on 4 leads and their intertwined lives in the small town of Weatherbury, and their respective arcs represent the strongest aspect of Thomas Hardy's writing. Besides foolproof characterizations, the writing fully succeeds in making the reader aware of the exact states of the characters through dialogues which are profound and completely representative of their emotions.

While the reader might feel redeemed with the closure provided by the character arcs, they might also notice that the set-ups to various interactions in the story become repetitive, which cause the moments between dialogue to become a bit dull. There is also a heavy reliance on metaphors while describing certain scenes, which, on some occasions might make the reader feel detached from the actual scene and focus more on fully grasping the relentless usage of metaphors.

Far From the Madding Crowd can be best described as a romantic dark-comedy, and through the journeys of its characters, provides some fascinating takeaways to the reader, mainly about dealing with adverse situations and handling romantic heartbreaks. It represents a bumpy ride towards maturity, catalyzed by various canon events, and besides being an engaging story, is bound to give the reader a small dosage of inspiration as it ends. ( )
  shadabejaz | Feb 10, 2024 |
Old style writing, takes a bit to get into. May get back to
  jsolar | Jan 22, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (52 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Hardyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Allingham, HelenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dickerson, GeorgeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drabble, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marginter, PeterÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathias, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Toole, TessNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Nicholas GuyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, NormanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
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)
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.
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.
... one who felt himself to occupy morally that vasgt middle space of Laodicean neutrality which lay between the Communion people of the parish and the drunken section... (p. 1)
But a resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible. (p.125)
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Far from the Madding Crowd (1874) is the love story between the good shepherd Gabriel Oak and the proud heiress Bathsheba Everdene. Bathsheba scorns Gabriel's first bald proposal, and many years pass, seeing their positions in society change, as well as their relationship to each other. Bathsheba must see the tragic consequences of her easy use of others before she understands who her truest friend is.


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