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Thread: Thomas Hardy - What To Read?

  1. #16
    Bohemian Marbles's Avatar
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    Wonderful. Thank you everyone. Much appreciated.

    In the light of the suggestions I have narrowed it down to Casterbridge, Tess and Madding Crowd. It appears that any of these is a good starting point. Fortuitously, I chanced upon an old 1950s copy of Tess in my father's library and I think I will go with that. There is another book which is a collection of Hardy's stories. It's titled The Distracted Preacher and other Tales. I will also go through it to get a taste of his short fiction.
    But you, cloudless girl, question of smoke, corn tassel
    You were what the wind was making with illuminated leaves.
    ah, I can say nothing! You were made of everything.

    _Pablo Neruda

  2. #17
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    Haha ha! Hardy should always be made by people like Cary Fukunaga,who made that really wonderful version of Jane Eyre with Mia Wasikowska. Bad casting can really spoil the whole enterprise. Even if the story didn't have such a sad end.

  3. #18
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    Jude the Obscure is generally considered his best work (though I warn you, it is pretty bleak- but then isn't life?!). The general critical view of Hardy, so far as I can make out, is "extraordinary imagination, great novelist, but no prose stylist- a better poet than novelist". His poetry is wonderful and very underrated (many don't even know he wrote poetry). Larkin considered him his single biggest influence.

  4. #19
    Registered User wordeater's Avatar
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    His best novel is "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", followed by "Far from the Madding Crow" and "Jude the Obscure".

    A good introduction would be to read some of his short stories: "Barbara of the House of Grebe", "A Mere Interlude" and "The Three Strangers" are brilliant.

    I consider him one of the three greatest English prose writers of the nineteenth century, next to Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. Not everybody likes him though. James Joyce called him sentimental.

  5. #20
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Hardy is excellent; probably my favourite writer. Along with Charlotte and Emily Bronte, and later Lawrence, he shook off the stuffy Victorian-style narratives and wrote novels with vivid characters that had some psychological depth.


    The big Hardy Five are Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Far From The Madding Crowd, Jude The Obscure, Mayor of Casterbridge and Return of The Native.

    I would start with FFTMC because it's very accessible and not as depressing as his other novels. It also has a great female central character, as do many of Hardy's novel. JTO is brilliant but dark and cruel so best left to near the end.

    I will speak up for Native as well because I really enjoyed it. It's quite Gothic in some senses and the landscape is harsher than Hardy's other novels.

    Also, I loved Two on A Tower; a great bit of romantic melodrama. The description of the astronomy is lovely and really interesting how the shared interest binds them.
    Last edited by kelby_lake; 09-16-2014 at 07:28 AM.

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