Far from the Madding Crowd
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Far From the Madding Crowd offers in ample measure the details of English rural life that Hardy so relished. The book might also be described as an early piece of feminist literature, since it features an independent woman with the courage to defy convention by running a farm herself. Hardy explores the proper basis for a happy marriage.
This is without doubt my favorite book I have EVER read! It should be right up there with pride and prejudice for standings! This book ties in adventure, love, betrayal, and death into a well written and amazing book!
Excellent Classic Novel
This novel is classic Hardy. His excellent style and extensive vocabulary aids in his fantastic development of his vivid & complex characters, and aids in the reader's visualization of the scenes described in the book. This is a book worth reading multiple times.
Classic British Literature
I decided to read this novel after seeing the Carey Mulligan starrer film adaptation. I saw the Julie Christie and Paloma Baeza versions too. This is a great story of a 19th century rural Victorian lifestyle and a look at the inhabitants of that era.
The author provides rich descriptions of the lifestyles and land, rural Wessex, of the British feudal system. Bathsheba Everdene is a young vain comely and educated woman who inherits a large farm Everdene Farm and its employees at the death of her uncle. Her late uncle provided Bathsheba place to live at this farm and an education after the death of her parents. Being a woman, an education was privilege, but the expectations were for her to marry — something that she was loathe to do.
Enter suitor 1, Gabriel Oak. Oak is eight years her senior, a sheep farmer who has just acquired to his own flock and land. He falls hard. His marriage proposal falls flat as he is dismissed as not being a love candidate to Everdene — she does not want to be any man’s property; she considers herself an independent woman who can take care of herself. Soon after this proposal Bathsheba receives word that she has inherited Everdene Farm and Oak loses his flock. Bathsheba moves to Weatherbury to take control of her inheritence.
Enter Suitor 2, William Boldwood — a gentleman farmer, landowner and supposed lifelong bachelor. He is about the age of her late Father. He comes into Bathsheba’s life due to receiving an anonymous Valentine card asking him to marry. After discovering its source and observing that Bathsheba was a comely young woman, he attempts to win her affection. This is in spite of rebuffs. In the interim, Gabriel Oak ends up an employee of Everdene Farm after having lost his farm and flock. He ends being her top employee and Boldwood’s too.
Enter Suitor 3 — Sgt. Francis Troy, a member of the Dragoons and close to age of Bathsheba. A dashing presence in uniform, but not much else to offer other than the military prowess. Bathsheba, being comely, but emotionally immature tends to make a mess of her personal life. through involvement with Sgt. Troy.
A Valentine joke, involvement with man because of his looks and romantic dismissal of another, but hiring on her farm. All of these men cross paths because of the actions Bathsheba. Unfortunately, Bathsheba’s impulsive actions result in tragic circumstances. Bathsheba lack of sophistication leads down the path of possible self destruction.
In this novel, the best man gets the girl but only because I think the men wore her down.
Stars of film versions: Bathsheba Everdene: Julie Christie, Paloma Baeza, Carey Mulligan
William Boldwood: Peter Finch, Nigel Terry, Michael Sheen
Gabriel Oak: Alan Bates, Nathaniel Parker, Matthias Schoenaerts
Sgt. Francis Troy: Terence Stamp, Jonathan Firth, Tom Sturridge