Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
Agrarian Britain at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution
on 28 June 2014
There are number of very good reviews of this `classic' novel. I believe the other reviewers have given a good plot overview. So here goes on my thoughts of this unabridged edition, for what they're worth. For my part I was introduced to this novel in my English Literature class and even then I enjoyed the narrative, I found out early on that Hardy had original produced his narrative as part of monthly serial for a publication called the Cornhill Magazine. I think that this monthly serialization shows in the narrative. As the author had to keep his monthly readership enthralled and eager, so they would get the next `episode'.
As the serial progressed the story gained a broader audience. Eventually it gained mainly positive reviews and was ultimately compiled into a novel. What I didn't know, at the time, and only realised until quite recently is that Thomas Hardy revised/tweaked the narrative on number of occasions. So I guess what we read today has changed from the early manuscripts.
For me this is a story that can be seen on many levels - yes it is a romance, a comment woman in society of the time, the stoical nature people have about their lives - but for me it is the rural background of England and agrarian culture that prevailed - before the impact of industrialization that changed the face of the British countryside. For this had a profound effect on the people who worked and the managed the land - this then gives this tale that extra dimension that I find so interesting and enjoyable.