Far from the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy s first major literary success, and it edited with an introduction and notes by Rosemarie Morgan and Shannon Russell in Penguin ClassicsIndependent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area Her bold presence draws three very different suitors the gentleman farmer Boldwood, soldier seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community The first of his works set in the fictional county of Wessex, Hardy s novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships 4.75ish stars With a name like Bathsheba how much could we honestly expect from her Imagine playing with her as a child, Come here little Bathy Bathy She was doomed from the start And she was obviously one of those children who was told entirely too often how special she was and how pretty and how she could do anything she set her mind to Poor Bathsheba Not that it should need to be said for a novel that s almost 150 years old, but in case you still haven t read this and plan on doing so 4.75ish stars With a name like Bathsheba how much could we honestly expect from her Imagine playing with her as a child, Come here little Bathy Bathy She was doomed from the start And she was obviously one of those children who was told entirely too often how special she was and how pretty and how she could do anything she set her mind to Poor Bathsheba Not that it should need to be said for a novel that s almost 150 years old, but in case you still haven t read this and plan on doing so spoilers ahead I love characters who are awful people, idiots, fools, douchebags and the like But woof, there are some doozies here How about that dog, Young George, eh The nerve One should never be too efficient at one s work Naturally, he had to be put down Okay, sorry, I just had to say something about him, the poor guy There are some very memorable key characters in this book, and not all of them are worthy of a punch in the face There is, of course, one of my greatest literary man crushes of all time, Gabriel Oak But it s the small, supporting crowd that really elevates the book to favorite status There s self righteous but well meaning Joseph Poorgrass, full of bible verses and pseudo wisdom sweet, simple Liddy Smallbury, Bathsheba s friend, confidant, doormat and indentured servant the ol maltster, coming up on 184 years of age give or take and the true heroes of the story, namely the sheep.The writing is beautiful, if not a little long winded and flowery when giving descriptions of the Wessex countryside I get it, you ve convinced me, it s great to be far from the madding crowd It s also chock full of quotable quotes on a variety of subjects MarriageAll romances end at marriage It may have been observed that there is no regular path for getting out of love as there is for getting in Some people look upon marriage as a short cut that way, but it has been known to failon the day of Gabriel s and Bathsheba s weddingFaith, said Coggan, in a critical tone, turning to his companions, the man hev learnt to say my wife in a wonderful naterel way, considering how very youthful he is in wedlock as yet hey, neighbours all I never heerd a skilful old married feller of twenty years standing pipe my wife in aused note than a did, said Jacob Smallbury It might have been a littletrue to nater if t had been spoke a little chillier, but that wasn t to be expected just now That improvement will come wi time, said Jan, twirling his eye WomanhoodI am not a fool, you know, although I am a woman, and have my woman s moments Women are never tired of bewailing man s fickleness in love, but they only seem to snub his constancy I shall never forgive God for making me a woman, and dearly am I beginning to pay for the honour of owning a pretty faceWay to humblebrag, right And my personal favorite This supreme instance of Troy s goodness fell upon Gabriel s ears like the thirteenth stroke of a crazy clock I m gonna start using that expression day to day I m gonna make it a thing.Sarcasm and sketchy 19th century sexism aside, Hardy really is a brilliant wordsmith and there are so many gems throughout the novel wise commentary, clever dialogue, wry observations on human relationships Speaking of sketchy 19th century sexism, let s talk about the Boldwood rape gagement If we didn t know that he was only forcing Bathsheba into a marriage blood oath, several statements could be taken way out of context when just a few filler words are omitted What does it seem like they re talking about Boldwood But do give me yourYou owe it to me Bathsheba Don t press me too hard Pray let me go I am afraid Boldwood He begged in a husky voice unable to sustain the forms of mere friendship any longer Promise yourself to me I deserve it, indeed I do Be gracious and give up a little to me Bathsheba The trimmings of her dress, as they quivered against the light showed how agitated she was, and at last she burst out crying And you ll not press me about anythingshe sobbed, when she had the power to frame her words.Boldwood Yes, then I ll leave it Boldwood came close to her side, and now he clasped one of her hands in both his own, and lifted it to his.Bathsheba What is it Oh I cannot she exclaimed on seeing what he held Don t insist Boldwood don t In her trouble at not being able to get her hand away from him at once, she stamped passionately on the floor with one foot, and tears crowded to her eyes again.Boldwood No sentiment the seal of a practical compact, he saidquietly, but still retaining her hand in his firm grasp Come, now And Boldwood slipped the on her Bathsheba She said, weeping as if her heart would break You frighten me Please let me go Boldwood Only to night just to night, to please me Bathsheba At length she said, in a sort of hopeless whisper Very well, then I will to night, if you wish it so earnestly Boldwood And it shall be the beginning of a pleasant Bathsheba It must be, I suppose, since you will have it so she said, fairly beaten into non resistance.Boldwood Boldwood pressed his and allowed it to drop in her lap I am happy now, he said God Afterward He left the room, and when he thought she might be sufficiently composed sent one of the maids to her Bathsheba cloaked the effects of the late scene as she best could Heavy stuff.But finally in all seriousness, this book, when it comes down to it, is not a flippant romance It isn t the Bachelorette It isn t love at first sight Bathsheba and Gabriel end up with something deeper andmeaningful and trueThis good fellowship camaraderie usually occurring through the similarity of pursuits is unfortunately seldom super added to love between the sexes, because men and women associate, not in their labors but in their pleasures merely Where, however, happy circumstances permit its development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which is strong as death that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, besides which the passion usually called by the name is as evanescent as steamHonestly, the kind of relationship I respect and strive for Two people have complained that there are spoilers in this review Read at your own peril Hi I m Bathsheba Everdene And I m Poor Decision Making Bathsheba Everdene I sent a random Valentine to a guy on a neighboring farm asking him to marry me, even though I don t even like him This turned him into an annoying semi stalker who spent the next several years begging me to marry him for reals And then, in a further display of my terrible judgment, I married a philandering asshole who on Two people have complained that there are spoilers in this review Read at your own peril Hi I m Bathsheba Everdene And I m Poor Decision Making Bathsheba Everdene I sent a random Valentine to a guy on a neighboring farm asking him to marry me, even though I don t even like him This turned him into an annoying semi stalker who spent the next several years begging me to marry him for reals And then, in a further display of my terrible judgment, I married a philandering asshole who only wanted my money and my luminescent beauty The girl he really loved starved to death with his unwanted child, so he spent a bunch of my money to buy her a really great headstone, and then ran away to join the circus And then, when he came back from the circus for no reason whatsoever, the semi stalker shot him AT CHRISTMAS In front of the whole county Don t be like this me Marry Gabriel Oak on page 25, like you should have, you silly cow This was just so goodSheep are such unfortunate animals there s always something happening to them I never knew a flock pass a year without getting into some scrape or otherSheep Sheeeeeep More sheep I love sheep They are so cute But sheep are actually not the reason why I love this book so much That would be silly But I do love the fact that Gabriel Oak was a shepherd, and not say, a pig farmer Anyways Even though this story takes place in rural Wessex and is filled with she This was just so goodSheep are such unfortunate animals there s always something happening to them I never knew a flock pass a year without getting into some scrape or otherSheep Sheeeeeep More sheep I love sheep They are so cute But sheep are actually not the reason why I love this book so much That would be silly But I do love the fact that Gabriel Oak was a shepherd, and not say, a pig farmer Anyways Even though this story takes place in rural Wessex and is filled with sheep and fields and moonlit nights and beautiful descriptions, there is a lotto it than just animals and landscapes Far From the Madding Crowd is the poignant, moving and brilliant story of Bathsheba Everdene and her three suitorsLove is a possible strength in an actual weakness Bathsheba Everdene strong, wilful, independent and, above all, beautiful, Bathsheba is a woman ahead of her time She doesn t shy away from work, she is courageous, intrepid and cannot be tamed I read a lot of romances in which the heroines do nothingthan sip afternoon tea while entertaining callers, and attend balls and soirees and drink the waters in Bath But here, we have a heroine who can do it, who is a farmer and takes on a lot of duties She starts out as her own bailiff, superintends and manages everything, and boldly enters the world of market, a world of men Bathsheba is unique and attractive, and she turned every man s headShe was of the stuff of which great men s mothers are made She was indispensable to high generation, hated at tea parties, feared in shops, and loved at crises Enter Suitor 1 Gabriel Oak What a man I m completely head over heels in love with himI shall do one thing in this life one thing certain that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die Gabriel is the kind of man you feel completely safe and secure around He s the type who cherishes and protects those he loves sheep or otherwise P and he s always there to save the day I lost count of how many times he did it during the course of the novel , counsel, or simply to lend a should to cry on He is so reliable, honest and trustful that one can tell him anything, and confide any secret to him he s sure to keep it and give you good advice Oak has over incredible self control He s not a man you need to fear If you tell him you don t want to marry him, he sucks it up and humbly accepts it even though he may be hopelessly in love with you, and will never bother you with advances and declarations again, unless you hint that you are ready to welcome them Gabriel is also the kind of employee that every employer wants He is serious, hard working, always alert, and extremely helpful He s constantly going the extra length to make sure that everything is running smoothly on the farm, and that all is well and working He falls in love with Bathsheba early on, so early in fact that it is difficult to figure out what he sees in her to make him love her so Being poor, he has nothing to offer her save his love and all his wonderful qualities, but unfortunately that is not enough for Miss Stubborn Bathsheba Everdene So, enter Suitor 2 William Boldwood Possesses most of the qualities listed above, plus money and property Should be good enough for you this time, Bathsheba, ehMy life is a burden without you , he exclaimed, in a low voice I want you I want you to let me say I love you again and again Mr Boldwood starts out as the epitome of thriving bachelorhood He presents the picture of a hard working, serious and brooding man who is quite happy living and working alone, and who hasn t wasted a thought on women and marriage in years No woman, no troubles, no drama Everything is going really well for him, and he did sound like a very good man poised, composed, upright principles, good ways of living, etcIn short, he s quite a catch, and any woman who married him would be assured protection, security, and a good positionand undying passion With Boldwood, it s all or nothing Either he doesn t give any woman a thought, or he will give one woman all his thoughts And the lucky girl isBathsheba Everdene Wee Brace yourselves, because Boldwood is as stubborn as Bathsheba and about to make a complete cake of himself by not being able to take no for an answer He probably proposes over fifty times during the course of the novel Not a good signIt was a fatal omission of Boldwood s that he had never once told her she was beautiful Cue Suitor 3 Sergeant Francis Troy No good qualities okay, maybe a few , no money, no position, no house, BUTGOOD LOOKS AND SENSUALITY HELL YESI ve seen a good many women in my time, but I ve never seen a woman so beautiful as you Sergeant Troy is the handsome, seductive rake who has no morals and no apparent life purpose The past and the future mean nothing to him He is careless, impulsive, rash and a complete asshole But he is charming and tantalizing to a fault, and knows only too well how to infiltrate himself into women s lives When the lovely Bathsheba catches his eye, he becomes caught in the moment and would give anything to win herbut does he love her And,importantly, does she love him Alas, her vanity has at last been flatteredWhen a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away Who doesn t love a good Victorian love triangle Caught in the web of their own self inflicted actions and the resulting consequences, these characters will have to go through a series of trials and events, happy and sad, trying and uplifting, before we come to a satisfactory conclusion The story is written in an incredibly beautiful, flowing and passionate way, full of quotable parts as we can observe since I can t seem to stop quoting and extraordinary descriptions I enjoyed every single minute I spent reading this novel And I also learned a lot of things, too Lessons to Remember From Far From the Madding Crowd When you live in a hut and make a fire, always keep one window open unless you want to suffocate to death Sheep, although very cute, are pretty dumb animals Cover your ricks when it rains Sending a random Valentine to your elder bachelor neighbour is not exactly a good idea Especially if said Valentine says Marry Me on the seal why the heck did she have a seal that said marry me in the first place anyways , and you have absolutely no intention of ever marrying that man for real Sheep can die from eating clover and only a certain capable, skillful, heart melting shepherd can save them Watch out when planting flowers around graves Don t keep anything in your hands or close by when you go to a fair and are sitting next to the canvas stealers, ya know Don t freaking trust bailiffs Those guys are overrated Be your own bailiff Unless you can have Gabriel Oak Always choose Gabriel if you can DON T LEAD MEN ON WHEN YOU HAVE NO INTENTION OF GETTING INTIMATE WITH THEM Don t make promises proposals or any other kind of rash demands on Christmas Eve Christmas day, so as to not ruin your enjoyment of the holiday if it goes awry Don t buy things for your future significant other in preparation for your hypothetical wedding effin weird, seriously Don t creep up during the night to ride your own horse if you weren t expected at home stealers , ya know, again When you feel overwhelmed and completely distressed, spend the night in a marsh The dense, stifling air will help clear your head Don t keep your husband s ex girlfriend s coffin inside your house May cause serious breakdowns And, last but not least, ALWAYS ASK ABOUT THEIR EXES Honestly though, on a scale of 1 to Mr Boldwood, I have definitely reached his level of obsession with this book, and have spent the whole day repeatedly stating that I finished it, and it was so good, and I can t wait to see the movie, and ahhh I loved this Every bit is delicious, from Gabriel s tender devotion to Boldwood s mad obsession and Troy s promising passion, along with Bathsheba s evolutions and strengths and weaknesses Hardy was certainly one love expert Wow.And Wessex I want to go there So beautifulWhat a way Oak had, she thought, of enduring things Boldwood, who seemed so much deeper and higher and stronger in feeling than Gabriel, had not yet learnt, anythan she herself, the simple lesson which Oak showed a mastery of by every turn and look he gave that among the multitude of interests by which he was surrounded, those which affected his personal well being were not the most absorbing and important in his eyesSigh That too, is beautiful And it perfectly sums up the whole book minus Troy s shenanigans And it is why I love Gabriel so much Buddy read with Becca D The heart wants what the heart wants No, that is not from this book I just thought it would have been a good tagline for the 2015 movie adaptation of this classic they went withBased on the classic love story by Thomas HardyinsteadServe you right you silly cow That is also not from the book, but it s a sentence that popped into my mind while reading some later parts of the bookFuck off Boldwood Still not from the book but I wish it wasIt is difficult for a woman to define her feelThe heart wants what the heart wants No, that is not from this book I just thought it would have been a good tagline for the 2015 movie adaptation of this classic they went withBased on the classic love story by Thomas HardyinsteadServe you right you silly cow That is also not from the book, but it s a sentence that popped into my mind while reading some later parts of the bookFuck off Boldwood Still not from the book but I wish it wasIt is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs Now that is from the book, which is brimming with quotable lines Not being a woman I don t know how true it is but I find this one very interesting Thomas Hardy was not a woman either unlike George Eliot but I am sure he had much better insight than I do For some clarification of this quote please refer to the comments section after the review.This is the latest of my ongoing project to read classic books in audiobook format I find that printed books requirepatience and commitment Far from the Madding Crowd is basically the story of Bathsheba Everdene and how her three suitors affect her life This is my second Thomas Hardy book, Jude the Obscure was the first, I found Jude the Obscure very depressing though quite a gripping read I am glad to report this book is somewhatupbeat, somewhat being the operative word What a gloom merchant Hardy seems to be, was he a buzz killer at parties I can not fault his talent as a writer though, his prose is consistently beautiful and elegant, his characters are well developed and vivid His plot twists and turns are often unpredictable.Looking at the protagonist Bathsheba Everdene, considering her wit and intelligence how she ends up choosing to marry the worst of the three suitors is hard to imagine Obviously in the context of the book she is dazzled by Troy s oily charms, but I find it a little out of character and feel like she chooses him to drive the plot forward If she had chosen the best man out of the three we would have ended up with a short story of nonevent.May 1, 2015 that is.Of the other two, that Boldwood seems to have a very appropriate name His wood makes him bold sorry His bullying Bathsheba into submission is hard to take, apparently he his a man driven by passion or his little fireman Gabriel Oak is the perfect gentleman throughout, I am not surprised Bathsheba does not choose him to begin with, he seems like a safe and dull choice.If the overall plot of the book seems like a soap opera I may have misrepresented it, There is a lot of psychological insight here about human nature and how we often make the wrong choices based on superficiality As mentioned earlier this novel is not as grim as Jude the Obscure, the first half of the book is in generally good spirit, the story becomes very dark towards the end of the book but ended on a moderately cheerful note I find the ending a little predictable but very satisfying, I imagine most readers would want the book to end just like this and perhaps Hardy did not want to alienate his readers too much and indulge in a gloomy ending as seems to be his wont.An enjoyable book to read when you are in the mood for a classic or some pastoral mayhem.I have not read Hardy s Tess of the d Urbervilles yet but it sounds really depressing Can t wait Notes I do love to read Hardy s unique brand of depressing fun, if you like this review I hope you will check out my other Hardy reviews Tess of the D Urbervilles Jude the Obscure The Mayor of Casterbridge The Return of the Native The Woodlanders I have not seen any of the film adaptations if you have please let me know what you think in the comments, thanks