Far From the Madding Crowd

Far From the Madding Crowd

3.7 125
by Thomas Hardy
     
 

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Gabriel Oak is a young shepherd. With the savings of a frugal life, and a loan, he has leased and stocked a sheep-farm. He falls in love with a newcomer eight years his junior, Bathsheba Everdene, a proud beauty who arrives to live with her aunt, Mrs. Hurst. She comes to like him well enough, and even saves his life once, but when he makes her an unadorned offer of…  See more details below

Overview

Gabriel Oak is a young shepherd. With the savings of a frugal life, and a loan, he has leased and stocked a sheep-farm. He falls in love with a newcomer eight years his junior, Bathsheba Everdene, a proud beauty who arrives to live with her aunt, Mrs. Hurst. She comes to like him well enough, and even saves his life once, but when he makes her an unadorned offer of marriage, she refuses; she values her independence too much and him too little. Gabriel's blunt protestations only serve to drive her to haughtiness. After a few months, she moves to Weatherbury, a village some miles off.

When next they meet, their circumstances have changed drastically. An inexperienced new sheep dog drives Gabriel's flock over a cliff, ruining him. After selling off everything of value, he manages to settle all his debts, but emerges penniless. He seeks employment at a work fair in the town of Casterbridge (a fictionalized version of Dorchester). When he finds none, he heads to another fair in Shottsford, a town about ten miles from Weatherbury.

On the way, he happens upon a dangerous fire on a farm and leads the bystanders in putting it out. When the veiled owner comes to thank him, he asks if she needs a shepherd. She uncovers her face and reveals herself to be none other than Bathsheba. She has recently inherited the estate of her uncle and is now a wealthy woman. Though somewhat uncomfortable, she hires him.

Meanwhile, Bathsheba has a new admirer: the lonely and repressed William Boldwood. Boldwood is a prosperous farmer of about forty whose ardor Bathsheba unwittingly awakens when – her curiosity piqued because he has never bestowed on her the customary admiring glance – she playfully sends him a valentine sealed with red wax on which she has embossed the words "Marry me". Boldwood, not realizing the valentine was a jest, becomes obsessed with Bathsheba, and soon proposes marriage. Although she does not love him, she toys with the idea of accepting his offer; he is, after all, the most eligible bachelor in the district. However, she postpones giving him a definite answer. When Gabriel rebukes her for her thoughtlessness, she fires him.

When her sheep begin dying from bloat, she discovers to her chagrin that Gabriel is the only man who knows how to cure them. Her pride delays the inevitable, but finally she is forced to beg him for help. Afterwards, she offers him back his job and their friendship is restored.

Includes a biography of the Author

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013913158
Publisher:
DB Publishing House
Publication date:
03/07/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
474
File size:
1 MB

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Far From the Madding Crowd (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 3.7 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 125 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Far From the Madding crowd is an excellent novel by Thomas Hardy, and is yet quite different from much of the author's later works. Hardy seems to possess less of a sadistic god-complex, and there are fewer ironic coincidences in Madding Crowd than later books. The action is propelled forth more by the characters than by Hardy himself, but despite these differences, it is very much a Hardy work - full of bleak humor, deft wit, and engrossing characterizations. It's also one of the few Hardy works that could be said to have a 'happy ending' though, to be sure, there is still a great deal of misery and difficulty that besets the protagonists. A great work that truly helps to broaden one's perceptions of Hardy, and excellent book in its own right.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of all the books in my library, this one gets read over and over. The book is stimulating and intriguing from the opening page to the end and the characters are unforgettable. And the story has an underlying message that is true even today.
ismene7 More than 1 year ago
Bathsheba does not start out as a heroine in this lovely rendering of Hardy's fictional world of Dorset. She becomes one through the book and the three men she is involved with. As is often the case in a Hardy novel the landscape is part of the story and the shaping of the people. I read this book years ago in highschool. Life has taught me too which qualities to value. Her beauty misleads herself and the people around her, but she finds her true worth later on. Hardy is nothing if not a steady student of life.
iRebecca27 More than 1 year ago
I read this my sophomore year, and it is a great story. Love is explored as the main theme.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was truly an enjoyable read! the characters had such distint personality, and Hardy's writing always has a dry wit to it that makes each chapter entertaining and thoughtful!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a flawless novel by Hardy and is to be counted among his best ones. It clearly expresses how people behave according to their environment. The story of full of different men falling in love with Bathseba, the main character. It also consists of the real devotion of a lover to his loved one. Its a smooth, flawless story.
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Well wtitten, interesting, unusual happy ending for an English style novel.
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