Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Classics Challenge - January Prompt 2 & 3

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

January Prompt - Level 2

The Author - What do you think of their writing style? What do you like about it? or what would have made you more inclined to like it? Is there a particular quote that stood out to you? 

I loved Thomas Hardy's writing style. The story of Bathsheba and Gabriel is Victorian Romantic - intense and emotional - it's both a comedy and a tragedy filled with passion and pathos. His descriptions of the rural countryside and the customs of the agricultural workers are what I liked best because it gave me the background I was wanting for my family history research and having been a farmer's wife most of my life were very easy to relate to. I don't have any particular quote that stood out but I've chosen two excerpts from the same page that show how well Thomas Hardy weaves together the practical and the poetic.......Chapter XIX - The Sheepwashing.
" To the north of the mead were trees, the leaves of which were new, soft, moist, not yet having stiffened and darkened under summer sun and drought, their colour being yellow beside a green - green beside a yellow. From the recesses of this knot of foliage the loud notes of three cuckoos were resounding through the still air"
  "Flagons of cider were rolling about upon the green. The meek sheep were pushed into the pool by Coggan and Matthew Moon, who stood by the lower hatch, immersed to their waists; then Gabriel, who stood on the brink, thrust them under as they swam along, with an instrument like a crutch, formed for the purpose, and also for assisting the exhausted animals when the wool became saturated and they began to sink."
 January Prompt - Level 3 

 Why do you think they wrote this novel? 
Thomas Hardy preferred to think of himself as a poet and once remarked of having to write novels because 'one has got to live.' He was a gentle, sensitive man and I think he wrote also them as a way of expressing his feelings. He had suffered himself from having been born into a lower class, he had great concern about social injustices and the effects of rapid industrialization on the countryside and rural communities. 

How did their contemporaries view both the author and their novel?

Far From the Madding Crowd was Hardy's fourth novel and first major literary success. It appeared anonymously in serial form for Cornhill Magazine in 1874 and later the same year as a book, receiving a wide readership and much critical acclaim. 

January Prompt - Level 1
A Classics Challenge is hosted by Katherine @ November's Autumn


  1. Yes, it's definitely one of my favorites, and he does capture farm life at that time. Bathsheba is such a complex heroine, strong yet weak sometimes. And Gabriel Oak! Love that quiet man!

    1. I'm so glad I bought a secondhand copy for myself as I know I'll read it again. Gabriel Oak you can't help but love.......Bathsheba I wanted to spank at times. :-)

  2. I loved the characters in this one, they all had terrible flaws but at the same time you rooted for them.

    1. They certainly did, Jessica and I think it's easier to love them because they feel real - nothing so off-putting as perfect characters.