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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A dance to the music of time"
The painter Poussin's famous title might stand as a rubric for this lovely book. Hardy views his cast of rustics through the prism of music: the old church stringed instruments choir is to be replaced with the spanking new organ. There is the added romantic interest of young musician Dick Dewy and the female organist, Fancy Day, who is controversially going to play the...
Published on 15 Jun 2003 by Anonymous

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Under Hardy's standards?
This is my first Thomas Hardy book, recommended as it eases you into his style of writing, and man alive is it a strange style! Hardy makes sure the conversations of country folk sound genuine so you get a lot of "ye", "o'ny", "squizzling", "stimmilent", "onmistakable", "husbird", all of which takes a lot of getting used to...
Published on 12 Feb 2010 by Sam Quixote


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A dance to the music of time", 15 Jun 2003
This review is from: Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
The painter Poussin's famous title might stand as a rubric for this lovely book. Hardy views his cast of rustics through the prism of music: the old church stringed instruments choir is to be replaced with the spanking new organ. There is the added romantic interest of young musician Dick Dewy and the female organist, Fancy Day, who is controversially going to play the large mechanical new organ.

This is a story of established customs breaking down through the interloper: a new vicar in town. Structurally divided into Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, it follows the natural rhythms of the earth and of society. Hardy revels in his descriptive powers.

Filled with nostalgia and that increasingly fashionable concept - "Englishness", and seasoned with wisdom and wit, this is truly fabulous - a mini-masterpice in a similar bag to, say, Mrs. Gaskell's "Cranford".

"Under the Greenwood Tree" was deservedly Hardy's own favourite among his novels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Classic, 20 Feb 2008
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A. Hope "bookcrossing ali" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
I adore Thomas Hardy's work. I recently re- read this beautiful novel. Under the Greenwood tree is a poignant little novel. It is a tale of a traditional country community, it's choir, which is under threat and a romance. The novel highlights the beginnings of change for such communities, through the travails of the "Melstock Quire", which is being threatened by the introduction of a new organ. Meanwhile Dick Dewey pursues school mistress Fancy Day - although he is not her only admirer. There is a gentleness and warmth to the characters we meet in Melstock, their traditions and concerns become ours, it is an absolute joy, a real timeless clasic. Hardy's England is a place I could happily live I think.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to get into, but worth the effort, 13 Sep 2012
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S. Meadows (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Difficult to get into, but worth the effort

I confess though that the book took me a while to get into. While the very opening was a wonderful description of place, as became typical of Hardy's later writing, he then launches into a very confused scene.

As a reader, my preference is always for characters to be introduced fairly slowly, one at a time, so you can get to distinguish between them and learn to love or hate their various characteristics. What we have here is a whole choir (sometimes spelled colloquially as quire) who are introduced to us all at once. In such an introduction, I found it very difficult to tell them apart. From there, much of the dialogue in the first half of the book was hard to follow. This is compounded by one of Hardy's notable features: his writing in the rural vernacular. Though noticeable in his later books, the speech here is particularly impenetrable at times.

The story really only then picks up in the second half, where two main characters emerge out of the crowd: Dick Dewey and Fancy Day. There is a very gentle romance between these two which is very engaging and shows off Hardy's great talent as a writer of romance. But things in the world of Hardy's Wessex rarely run without a hitch. Some family objections are thrown into the path of the two lovers, seemingly hindering them from their path to matrimony. Also, though they may seem young and innocent, at least one of the two parties, during the course of their engagement, does not exactly rebuff all advances made their way. As for the ending, I shall leave for you to see who it was that wore the wry smile and why.

I could not say that I agree with those who think this one of Hardy's best novels. However, as a work of fiction, it is as good, if not much better, than most other works of the 19th century. Though it is very short, the denseness of the language in the first half of the novel should not be underestimated. But if you can find a tree to sit under for a couple of sunny days, then this would find accompaniment to that idyllic scene.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gentle, happy read, 6 Feb 2010
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This review is from: Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Just the book for bedtime reading i.e. not too stimulating, though that is not a criticism. The characters are delightful and finely drawn and very credible in a nineteenth century, pastoral sort of way. The story is not predictable so plenty to keep interest until the end. The Notes at the back of the book are helpful and interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite authors, 15 Jun 2014
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When reading any Thomas Hardy I become completely immersed, unable to hardly put his books down.
Therefore I will not even start to read one unless I am sure of no interruptions for at least two hours!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics), 12 Jun 2014
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Mr. R. Evans (Dorset UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
I think that this is probably my favourite Hardy story. It is well worth a good read and I recommend it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, great value, 15 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Bought this for my Mum for Xmas along with 11 other classics, all Wordsworth classics. She's thoroughly enjoying reading them all and excited to have some new books to read as the local library doesn't stock a great amount of classics. The books are good quality and great value.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Hardy Under the Greenwood Tree., 29 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
An excellent read. Thomas Hardy is a superb author. For those people that enjoy English Literature this is an excellent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Back to the classics, 27 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Thomas Hardy's first successful story gives an amusing and honest account of a village choir, with the usual rivalries, plus a lot of honest common sense.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hardy's first novel accepted for publication., 13 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
An evocation of 18th century country life which we are reading in our W.E.A.literary class illustrating how our knowledge of events influences how we understand them now as opposed to when they were written.
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Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics)
Under the Greenwood Tree (Wordsworth Classics) by Thomas Hardy (Paperback - 1 Nov 1994)
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