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Far from the Madding Crowd (Penguin Classics) [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Thomas Hardy , Christopher Venning , Julie Christie
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Oct 1999 0140860886 978-0140860887 abridged edition
Capricious and handsome Bathsheba Everdene, the new young mistress of the Upper Farm, is a disquieting presence in the village of Weatherbury. Through her relationships with three suitors--the shepherd Gabriel Oak, the yeoman farmer Boldwood, and dashing Sergeant Troy--she discovers the difference between seduction and courtship; between infatuation and romance carved from "hard prosaic reality".

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks; abridged edition edition (15 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140860886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140860887
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 14.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,817,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Hardy was born in a cottage in Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester, on 2 June 1840. He was educated locally and at sixteen was articled to a Dorchester architect, John Hicks. In 1862 he moved to London and found employment with another architect, Arthur Blomfield. He now began to write poetry and published an essay. By 1867 he had returned to Dorset to work as Hicks's assistant and began his first (unpublished) novel, The Poor Man and the Lady.

On an architectural visit to St Juliot in Cornwall in 1870 he met his first wife, Emma Gifford. Before their marriage in 1874 he had published four novels and was earning his living as a writer. More novels followed and in 1878 the Hardys moved from Dorset to the London literary scene. But in 1885, after building his house at Max Gate near Dorchester, Hardy again returned to Dorset. He then produced most of his major novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891), The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (1892) and Jude the Obscure (1895). Amidst the controversy caused by Jude the Obscure, he turned to the poetry he had been writing all his life. In the next thirty years he published over nine hundred poems and his epic drama in verse, The Dynasts.

After a long and bitter estrangement, Emma Hardy died at Max Gate in 1912. Paradoxically, the event triggered some of Hardy's finest love poetry. In 1914, however, he married Florence Dugdale, a close friend for several years. In 1910 he had been awarded the Order of Merit and was recognized, even revered, as the major literary figure of the time. He died on 11 January 1928. His ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey and his heart at Stinsford in Dorset.

Product Description

About the Author

Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 and wrote both poetry and novels, including The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. He died in 1928.

Rosemarie Morgan teaches in the English department at Yale University.

Shannon Russell holds a post doctoral Fellowship specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature at Oxford.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good. 19 Nov 2005
By Mandy
I liked this book. I read Tess of the D'Urbervilles and found it quite hard-going and long-winded, but I really enjoyed reading this. It takes a while for the story to get going, but I kept wanting to go back to it to find out what was going to happen next.
I'd recommend this to anyone, even if you haven't liked some of Hardy's other books.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rich description and simmering action 7 Aug 2004
Hardy's first major success starts out with a plethora of rich, evocative description of the landscape the shepherd, Gabriel Oak, inhabits, such as "the dry leaves simmered and boiled in the desolate winds, a tongue of air sending them spinning across the grass", the trees "wailing and chaunting to each other in the regular antiphonies of a cathedral choir". Hardy is an excellent (and in my opinion unsurpassed) creator of atmosphere.
Hardy evokes sympathy for Oak in his initial rejection by Bathsheba, giving the reader a sense of his vulnerability, with his initial description also describing how his face "had some relics of the boy", further suggesting vulnerability. However, Oak seems after this rejection to transform into a hero, becoming a character one does not so much relate to as idolize and respect. Hardy writes at the beginning that Oak's "hues and curves of youth" were "tarrying on to manhood", and we get a sense through his patience and humility, his helping Bathsheba with her dying sheep even after she had ousted him in a paroxysm of fury just before, he has achieved manhood, and that the abovementioned qualities are those of ideal masculinity, not the flashy extravagance of Troy or the wealth of Boldwood.
Due to the construction of the plot, however, with Oak at the beginning thus being portrayed as the principal character, the end is rather predictable to the cynical reader. Towards the end, the beautiful description is completely dropped to allow pure action to ensue, with the idea that the pace is quickened thus exciting the reader, yet the ending, though dramatic, feels overly rushed nevertheless.
But all in all, it was a very enjoyable read, with the atmospheric description of the landscape demonstrative of Hardy's poetic ability (which he was later to excercize fully, abandoning the novel form and progressing with verse in his last years) being the strong point of 'Far from the Madding Crowd'.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Reading this novel again in 36 degrees of heat in Tunisia was a delightful and slightly unusual experience! As I sat moderately baking in occasional shade, Bathsheba and Oak wrestled out their very pragmatic romance amidst the debris and lives of other characters whose impracticality and passion proves their undoing. The novel recommends survival through work and co-operation and this core value in the narrative far from being dull and tame compared to the heated, reckless drives of others,provides humour and finally healing. The scenes where Oak saves the gas ridden sheep and the stacks communicate Oak's consummate competence and care and Hardy 's sensory skills are marvellously suggestive and psychologically apt:

'He felt a zephyr curling about his cheek and turned.It was Bathsheba's breath - she had followed him, and was looking into the same chink.'

Far From The Madding Crowd is full of 'peeping tom' moments where characters watch each other through hedges,chinks and doors! This moment is beautifully laid out, the metaphor 'zephyr' registers the magic of Bathsheba's physicality...even more, her very breath, her life force enchants Oak. She is as special and magical to Oak as any legend from the Greeks. The simplicity of this shared watching explores their natural equality and the unconscious attraction of Bathsheba for Oak. How beautifully erotic is this scene and yet how it reveals their hesitancy and delay.

Hardy allows Bathsheba her eventual happiness which is rare indeed in the so-called 'great' novels, and he is also astute in granting Bathsheba autonomy in characterisation. She remains true to her perverse, challenging self and we do not see a shadowy, chastened figure at the end, though this Bathsheba has learnt about consequences!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly brilliant experience. 4 Dec 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is the best audio book I have ever listened to. I got completely lost in Hardy's world of 19th century Dorset.
Hardy's story is wonderful in several different respects. He takes you into a long lost rural world with fascinating descriptions of farm life and technology. Sometimes he drifts off into evocative asides. My favourite being when he describes the sensation of watching the Earth move through the stars and space from a pitch black hilltop. The fact that this book is unabridged helps greatly in this respect as these asides are usually chopped from audio books.
It is with his descriptions of people and sympathy with their thoughts and motivations that he is truly a genius. Although these characters are from a different age their various personalities are all readily recognizable to a modern reader and make the story utterly convincing.
Nathaniel Parker reads it well and helps brings the characters further to life.
I was very sorry to reach the end and leave behind Weatherbury, Gabriel,Bathsheba and their world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wrong description 30 Nov 2012
By monkey6
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I ordered this I assumed the problem reported by the previous reviewer was a one off. Unfortunately this was not the case. Instead of the special Folio Society hardback edition in German, I received a battered Penguin paperback in English. This was a "fulfilled by Amazon" order so Amazon really need to get in touch with their seller to sort this out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Agrarian Britain at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution
There are number of very good reviews of this `classic' novel. I believe the other reviewers have given a good plot overview. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Sussman
3.0 out of 5 stars Purchsed for Interest
I purchased this when I was studying GCSE English Literature. As stated it was ok but it's not a book I would personally go back to.
Published 3 months ago by scattyel
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful!
I can't say anything that hasn't already been said about this classic story, other than this particular publication includes very charming illustrations of some key moments, and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bryan
5.0 out of 5 stars .
Great item. Very fast delivery. Item no problem no use. Does what it says on the box. Seller very helpful. Communications brilliant.
Published 7 months ago by Trevor Ashton
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
A much less depressing offering from Hardy. Good realist text to start with if you enjoy that genre, also very interesting in relation to the pastoral.
Published 8 months ago by Glyn Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars CD Thomas Hardy
A friend wanted Thomas Hardy novels to be played in her car. I searched and found all to often downloads were the only thing available - useless for cars! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Gwendoline Burman
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this especially because it is read by Robert Powell
Love this especially because it is read by Robert Powell, however the film music by Richard Rodney Bennet is not used on this recording and this is a shame.
Published 14 months ago by Miss Maggie Kear
1.0 out of 5 stars Oooops
Looks like I've been the third victim. As with the others, I've paid for a folio edition and received the paperback. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Martin Lloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Published 16 months ago by FRANCISCO CARDENAL
1.0 out of 5 stars description review
I ordered a folio society copy especially and received a penguin classic , cheeky b$%^&ds

book is great but the description should be real , as i was getting it for a... Read more
Published 20 months ago by gabriel
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