• Reading Levels 3 - 5

Far From the Madding Crowd

Far From the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy’s fourth novel, but the first to make his name as one of the 19th Century’s most towering writers. Published in 1874, the book was first serialised anonymously, and its dedicated readership would await its newest chapters every month. Readers connected with the obstinateStubborn and headstrong. , headstrong Bathsheba and the stoicalCalm or accepting of suffering. Stoicism was a Greek school of philosophy which argued that everything that happened in life was for the best. Gabriel Oak, whose tale of love plays out in a Victorian farming community where characters grapple with major existential themes against the backdrop of an environment both idyllic and volatile. It has been described as one of the greatest love stories of all time, but for the characters themselves it is not so straightforward. When the young but determined Bathsheba inherits her uncle’s estate and resolves on running the business of his farm herself, the prospective suitors seem endless: older but prosperous William Boldwood, who becomes enamoured with her, profligateRecklessly extravagant or wasteful. dandyA man concerned with looking stylish and fashionable. Sergeant Troy, and her formerly spurned shepherd Oak. After the small hurdles of one impolitic marriage, one sham suicide, one murder and one lifetime imprisonment, the two protagonists find themselves reunited in love and law — an uncharacteristically happy ending for one of Hardy’s books.

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