Hardy began writing the book in 1884 and wrote the last page on 17 April 1885. Within the book, he writes that the events took place "before the nineteenth century had reached one-third of its span". Literary critic Dale Kramer sees it as being set somewhat later-in the late 1840s, corresponding to Hardy's youth in Dorcheste
At a country fair near Casterbridge, Wessex, a young hay-trusser named Michael Henchard gets drunk on rum-laced furmity and argues with his wife, Susan. He decides to auction off his wife and baby daughter, Elizabeth-Jane, to a sailor, Mr. Newson, for five guineas. Sober the next day, he is too late to recover his family. When he realises that his wife and daughter are gone, he swears not to touch liquor again for as many years as he has lived so far (21)Eighteen years later, Henchard is now a successful grain merchant and Mayor of Casterbridge, known for his staunch sobriety. Henchard has avoided explaining the circumstances of the "loss" of his wife, allowing people to assume he is a widower.
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About the Author
An English Victorian author of novels, poems, and short stories, Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) is best known for the classic books Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and Jude the Obscure. Set mostly in the semi-imagined region of Wessex, Hardy’s fictional works retain their popularity thanks to an accessible style, Romantic plots, and richly drawn characters.
Date of Birth:June 2, 1840
Date of Death:January 11, 1928
Place of Birth:Higher Brockhampon, Dorset, England
Place of Death:Max Gate, Dorchester, England
Education:Served as apprentice to architect James Hicks