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Far from the Madding Crowd (Penguin Popular Classics) [Paperback]

Thomas Hardy
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

26 July 2007 Penguin Popular Classics
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 swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (26 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140620478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140620474
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.4 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 459,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Vital, passionate, spirited - from the moment Bathsheba appears she is beguiling. You can denounce her faults - she's selfish and capricious - but it's hard not to admire her determined independence" (Di Speirs (executive producer of readings at the BBC) Independent)

"Hardy's warmest and most enchanting novel" (Daily Express)

"Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd is the most romantic book I have ever read. I love the line where he says: "Whenever you look up, there I shall be - and whenever I look up there will be you." It is very simple and understated, but also incredibly romantic" (Liz Jensen Independent)

"Hardy expounds on his favourite themes: misunderstandings, missed opportunities, unrequited love and fatal omissions" (Sunday Times)

"The age-old dilemma - mind-blowing passion versus a man who knows how to put up shelves" (Independent) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Hardy's most enchanting novel is about unrequited love, missed opportunities and romance --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book! 5 Jun 2012
By Becci
This is my ultimate favourite book of all time. It was the first Hardy book I read and I absolutely loved his style of writing and his presentation of all the main characters. It is so finely written, and you can picture everything with Hardy's in-depth descriptions. The book was written in the latter half of the 19th century, but is still incredibly accessible. The emotions Hardy deals with and the way the characters interact is fantastic. All in all, the author's writing skills coupled with a very busy yet easy to follow story line make this novel truly brilliant and timeless.
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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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Far from the Madding Crowd (Penguin Popular Classics)
Anyone who has seen the film really needs to read the book. It is one of my favourites
Published 20 days ago by Mr. R. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book. good value
Published 25 days ago by caatlady
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 2 months 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 4 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 7 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 8 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 9 months ago by Glyn Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Dorset filiming
I sent this book to my daughter who lives in Mapperton where parts of the new film were being screened - she loved the story and understood what was going on in her village... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dorothy Sneesby
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic at an affordable price
Maybe not the highest production values in terms of paper/print quality but absolutely more than good enough unless you plan on saving it and re-reading it 100 times over in as... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Busysinglemum
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 13 months ago by Gwendoline Burman
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