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Far from the Madding Crowd

From Academic Kids

Far from the Madding Crowd is a novel by 19th century English novelist Thomas Hardy, published in 1874. The title is meant to be ironic, as the life of the book's heroine, Bathsheba Everdene, living in the quiet rural village of Weatherbury is indeed disrupted by the "madding crowd." After shunning the first man to love her, Gabriel Oak, she is courted by two others; the lonely and repressed Boldwood, and the charming but faithless Sergeant Troy. The book is widely seen as Hardy's first masterpiece.

The title is taken from Thomas Gray's poem Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard:

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Far from the Madding Crowd is probably Hardy's only non-tragic novel. It has a happy end in sharp contrast to the gloom and doom at the end of Jude the Obscure (his last novel), The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. It might also, perhaps, be described as an early piece of feminist literature, since it deals with the life of an independent woman.

In 1967, a film based on the novel was released, starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Terrance Stamp, and Peter Finch.

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