A meteoric social rise and fall is at the heart of Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge. This stunning new Folio Society edition is part of our Wessex novels collection.
Far from the Madding Crowd
Illustrated by Peter Reddick
Preface by the author
Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy’s tale of three contrary courtships set in his imagined county of Wessex. The new Folio Society edition is illustrated with stunning woodcuts by Peter Reddick.
The tale of spirited farmer Bathsheba Everdene and the three suitors who vie for her attention is the first of Hardy’s Wessex novels. Passion and tragedy abound against the backdrop of a 19th-century rural idyll, as Hardy sets the tone for his subsequent forays into the life and love stories of this fictional county.
Bound in cloth blocked with a decorative motif
Set in Baskerville
31 integrated black & white woodcut illustrations
Printed map endpapers
9˝ × 5¾˝
An affinity with the natural world
As with all of Hardy’s Wessex books, the location is pivotal, the narrative intertwined with evocative descriptions of the landscapes, wildlife and local tradespeople throughout.
The hill was covered on its northern side by an ancient and decaying plantation of beeches, whose upper verge formed a line over the crest, fringing its arched curve against the sky, like a mane.
Even the location of Weatherbury has a suitably nature-related name and this is where Miss Everdene travels to begin work as a farmer on the land she has inherited from her uncle. Independent and feisty, it isn’t long before she attracts the attention of a disparate collection of local suitors – each with his own appealing qualities. She must choose between down-to-earth shepherd Gabriel Oak, dashing military man Sergeant Troy and affluent gentleman farmer Boldwood. However, the course of true love never did run smooth and the presence of multiple suitors aggravates the challenges of domestic harmony.
The plot twists and turns from romance to heartache and ultimately great sorrow, all portrayed with Hardy’s characteristic narrative skill, poetic style and highly descriptive prose. It also sets the style and nature-imbued themes for the following Wessex novels: a lost rural idyll of rolling hills, meandering paths, birds in migration and seasonal farming.
Stunning production values
Far from the Madding Crowd is produced in series with the best of Thomas Hardy’s other Wessex novels – Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude the Obscure. The edition is illustrated with 31 of Peter Reddick’s delightful wood engravings and includes printed map endpapers depicting Wessex in glorious detail. Reddick’s corn-dolly motifs also appear on the cloth binding and are replicated on the slipcase. This is made from Fragrance of Grass paper, which is created using an ancient Chinese paper-making method that results in a unique appearance and texture.
About Thomas Hardy
About Peter Reddick
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