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Far from the Madding Crowd

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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. ('When Farmer Oak smiled,' the novel begins, 'the corners of his mouth spread till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears. . . .')

The text is based on the authoritative Wessex Edition of 1912, revised and corrected by Hardy himself.

This edition is the companion volume to the Mobil Masterpiece Theatre WGBH television presentation broadcast on PBS. It stars Paloma Baeza as Bathsheba Everdene, Nathaniel Parker as Gabriel Oak, Nigel Terry as Mr. Boldwood, and Jonathan Firth as Frank Troy. Adapted by Philomena McDonagh, Far from the Madding Crowd is directed by Nick Renton.
Portrait
Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840, in a thatched-roof cottage in upper Bockhampton, Dorset, England, a prophetic birthplace that lay in the center of 'Wessex,' the fictional region of southwest England which would serve as the backdrop for his novels. The eldest son of a prosperous builder and stonemason, Hardy was educated at the village school and apprenticed at the age of sixteen to local architect and church restorer John Hicks. In 1862 he went to London to pursue his architectural career; he also began writing at this time. Hardy returned to Dorset in 1867 to become assistant to John Hicks and wrote his first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, of which only fragments remain. Although George Meredith, who was reader for Chapman & Hall publishers, advised against its publication, he encouraged Hardy to keep writing, preferably a story with a more complicated plot. Over the next several years he produced three more novels: Desperate Remedies (1871) and Under the Greenwood Tree (1872) were published anonymously, but A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) bore the author's name.

In November 1872, Leslie Stephen, the distinguished critic and editor, wrote to Hardy inviting him to contribute a novel for serialization in the Cornhill Magazine, a prestigious monthly that had published the work of such established writers as Anthony Trollope. Hardy accepted and in his letter to Stephen added that 'the chief characters would probably be a young woman-farmer, a shepherd, and a sergeant of cavalry.' He wrote Far from the Madding Crowd both in and out of doors at Bockhamptom as if possessed. 'Occasionally without a scrap of paper at the very moment when [I] felt volumes . . . [I] would use large dead leaves, white chips left by the woodcutters, or pieces of stone or slate that came to hand,' Hardy later recalled. Published anonymously in 1874, Far from the Madding Crowd sold out in just over two months and marked the turning point in Hardy's literary career. As Virginia Woolf later noted: 'The subject was right; the method was right; the poet and the countryman, the sensual man, the sombre reflective man, the man of learning, all enlisted to produce a book which, however fashions may chop and change, must hold its place among the great English novels.'

The success of Far from the Madding Crowd in 1874 encouraged Hardy to abandon architecture and devote himself entirely to the craft of fiction. His next novel, The Hand of Ethelberta (1876), also appeared in the Cornhill Magazine but did not repeat the success of its predecessor. In 1874 Hardy married Emma Lavinia Gifford, and the couple soon settled in an idyllic cottage overlooking the Dorset Stour, at Sturminster Newton, where Hardy wrote The Return of the Native (1878). In 1878 he moved to London. Although he became a well-known figure in literary circles and was considered a catch for hostesses, Hardy wrote three disappointing 'minor' novels during his years there: The Trumpet-Major (1880), A Laodicean (1881), and Two on a Tower (1882). This fallow period in his career seemed to lift in 1885 with his return to Dorset to live at Max Gate. Over the next three years he published The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), which many regard as his greatest tragic novel, The Woodlanders (1887), and his first collection of short stories, Wessex Tales (1888). In 1891 Tess of the d'Urbervilles appeared, and in 1895 Hardy's final novel, Jude the Obscure, came out. The book sent shock waves of indignation rolling across Victorian England. It was denounced as pornography and subjected the author to an avalanche of abuse. Hardy's disgust at the public's reaction led him to announce in 1896 that he would never again write fiction.

During the remaining years of his life, Hardy devoted himself to poetry, publishing his first book of verse, Wessex Poems, in 1898. A second collection, Poems of the Past and Present, appeared in 1901. Over the next five years Hardy wrote The Dynasts, an epic drama about the Napoleonic War. In 1912 he made a final revision of his novels for the authoritative Wessex Editions. Hardy's wife died suddenly the same year. In February 1914 he married his longtime secretary, Florence Emily Dugdale. Over the next decade Hardy continued to write poetry and to work on his autobiography, The Early Life of Thomas Hardy, which was supposedly authored by his second wife and published posthumously. Thomas Hardy died in Dorset on January 11, 1928. His heart was buried in the Wessex countryside in the parish churchyard at Stinsford; his ashes were placed next to those of Charles Dickens in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.
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Format ePUB i
Kopierschutz Ja i
Seitenzahl 512 (Printausgabe)
Erscheinungsdatum 31.10.2000
Sprache Englisch
EAN 9780679641506
Verlag Random House Publishing Group
Dateigröße 687 KB
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A Story of Pastoral Life in England
von Mag aus Berlin am 28.02.2013
Bewertet: Einband: Taschenbuch

"Far from the madding crowd" is the story of shepherd Gabriel Oaks and his love to the bewitching Bathsheba Everdene. While visiting relatives, Bathsheba meets their neighbour Gabriel. For him it is almost love at first sight and he offers for her within a week. Gabriel is an amiable young man, really down to earth he knows ex... "Far from the madding crowd" is the story of shepherd Gabriel Oaks and his love to the bewitching Bathsheba Everdene. While visiting relatives, Bathsheba meets their neighbour Gabriel. For him it is almost love at first sight and he offers for her within a week. Gabriel is an amiable young man, really down to earth he knows exactly what to wish for in life: he wants to change from shepherd to farmer, with an estate of his own, a suitable wife to build up a family. Gabriel is a hard working man, with enough confidence in his own strength. He gets his first set back, when Bathsheba, although flattered to have received her first proposal of marriage, rejects him. Shortly after fate turns against Gabriel: He loses all his sheep because of an untrained dog and must bury all hopes of ever becoming a farmer. But Gabriel does not despair - he leaves his home to look for work as a shepherd elsewhere. He finally finds new employment after estinguishing a fire in a farm building. The farm owner is nobody else but Bathsheba, who has recently inherited the estate after her uncle's death. Still secretly in love with Bathsheba, Gabriel must watch how she attracts other men. There is an elderly neighbouring farmer, as well as a dashing sergeant. Has Bathsheba matured enough by now to accept a man in marriage? Can she really make up her mind, who would suit her best? Is her choice a wise one, or may Gabriel still hope? Thomas Hardy gives an impressive description of pastoral life, creates amiable, forceful characters, main as well as minor, and succeeds in keeping the reader interested until the end. (This comment refers to another edition of the book.)