Far From the Madding CrowdPaperback - 1993
Introduction and Notes by Norman Vance, Professor of English, University of Sussex.
Far from the Madding Crowd is perhaps the most pastoral of Hardy's Wessex novels. It tells the story of the young farmer Gabriel Oak and his love for and pursuit of the elusive Bathsheba Everdene, whose wayward nature leads her to both tragedy and true love.
It tells of the dashing Sergeant Troy whose rakish philosophy of life was '...the past was yesterday; never, the day after', and lastly, of the introverted and reclusive gentleman farmer, Mr Boldwood, whose love fills him with '...a fearful sense of exposure', when he first sets eyes on Bathsheba.
The background of this tale is the Wessex countryside in all its moods, contriving to make it one of the most English of great English novels.
From the critics
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No, Shepherd Oak, no! Listen to reason, shepherd. All that's the matter with me is the affliction called a multiplying eye, and that's how it is I look double to you-I mean, you look double to me.
When a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away.
[Bathsheba Everdene, our 19th century Bachelorette. Just who will she give the final rose to? Will it be...]
Gabriel Oak: "I shall do one thing in this life--one thing certain--that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die."
William Boldwood: "My life is a burden without you. I want you--I want you to let me say I love you again and again!"
Francis "Frank" Troy: "Upon my heart, women will be the death of me!"
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