Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Classics Challenge - January Prompt

Katherine @ November's Autumn has posted the January prompts for A Classics Challenge. There are three levels and I plan to do each one separately through the month. I'm reading Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.

Level 1 - The Author......Who is the author? What do they like? When where they born? Where did they live? What does their handwriting look like? What are some of the other novels they've written? What is an interesting and random fact about their life?

Thomas Hardy (1840 - 1928)

Portait by William Strang 1893

Thomas Hardy was born on the 2 June,1840 at Higher Bockhampton, a small hamlet east of Dorchester in the parish of Stinsford, Dorset.The cottage that was his birthplace had been built by his grandfather and it was where, in 1874, he would write Far From the Madding Crowd.

At 16 he was apprenticed to a local architect and six years later moved to London where he continued as an assistant architect until the success of Far From the Madding Crowd enabled him to leave his career and focus on his writing.
After a succession of moves, in 1885 Hardy and his wife settled at Max Gate, the home he designed and had built by his brother, and where he would spend the rest of his life.

Max Gate

Other novels by Thomas Hardy include
  • The Return of the Native (1878)
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)
  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891)
  • Jude the Obscure (1895)
Thomas Hardy's handwriting

Following his death in 1928 there was controversy about where he would be laid to rest. His family wanted to follow his wish to be buried at Stinsford while his executor insisted he be interred in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey. A compromise was reached and his ashes placed in the Abbey while his heart was buried with his first wife, Emma, at Stinsford.

January Prompt - Level 2 & 3


  1. OOOOH, I love Hardy. And Far from the Madding Crowd was my favorite book by him!

  2. Thomas Hardy is one of my favourite Victorian authors but I haven't read Far From the Madding Crowd yet. I hope you're enjoying it!

  3. It's been so long since I read Far From the Madding Crowd--really need to get it on the reread list. As I recall, I liked the adaptation with Julie Christie pretty well, though it's been a really long time since I saw that also.

    I love the cottage where Hardy was born--picture postcard quaint.

  4. I love Hardy too. Not read this particular book, but I will be revisiting Tess of the d'Urbervilles in my reading challenge.

    The portrait is great.

  5. Hi all, thanks for dropping by. I have almost finished (regretfully) and have absolutely loved FFtMC. I'd only read Tess before and that was long ago. Looking forward to more.

  6. Far From the Madding Crowd is the only Hardy book I have read and I really enjoyed it. I loved the character Gabriel Oak.

  7. I never knew about Hardy's career in architecture! And how interesting that he designed his own home. :)

    Haven't read his works yet though I've seen many adaptations and FFMC is definitely the one I want to start with.

    Thak you for your post, Cat! :)

  8. Anne - Gabriel Oak is a wonderful character and from the opening lines of the book you have to love him.

    Katherine - you must try Thomas Hardy and I'm sure you'll love his work.

  9. I need to re-read Far from the Madding Crowd. My favorite though is Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

  10. Like many here I've read and loved Tess of D'Urbervilles. Far From the Madding Crowd has been on my to be read pile for a few years now. He seems to have been very creative - all the books, plus designing his own house.

  11. I've read Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of D'Urbervilles but sadly not Far form the Maddening Crowd. I hope you will be doing a review. I'll be glad to know what you thought of it.

  12. Tess does seem to be most people's first Hardy - it was mine too and the only other of Hardy's I've read.

    Che - I don't plan a review but I think when I've completed the three levels of the prompt that will be as good as a review.

  13. I think that Far from the Madding Crowd was one of his only books that ended on a HAPPY note...he was rather bleak. I like Julie Christie but for Bathsheba I pictured someone gypsy-like, but innocent in some ways...

  14. I enjoyed Far From the Madding Crowd and plan to read his other novels. :)
    Here's myClassics Challenge post on Anne Brontë

  15. Far From the Madding Crowd is my favorite by him, although I love his bleaker novels as well. I've had a totally different vision of what he would look like than that!

    1. Shelley - I've been reading his biography and it seems he was a quiet and gentle man - and barely 5'2" in height which is a little different to what I too.

  16. Far from the Madding Crowd is one of my favourites - I like the way you did your post. I read Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth, and got a bit bogged down in the book and the post, and ended up being very late.