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21. Thomas Hardy: Imagining Imagination
22. The Well-Beloved
23. Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure
24. Far from the Madding Crowd
25. Classic British Fiction: Thomas
26. Works of Thomas Hardy. (200+ Works)
27. The Return of the Native (Oxford
28. An Imaginative Woman and Other
29. Thomas Hardy After Fifty Years
30. The Return of The Native (Signet
31. The Return of the Native (Dover
32. Jude the Obscure (Oxford World's
33. Far from the Madding Crowd (Modern
34. The life and death of the mayor
35. Thomas Hardy (Bloom's Major Novelists)
36. Late lyrics and earlier: with
37. Manners of Ghosts: A Study of
38. Great Braids!: The New Way to
39. Jude, The Obscure
40. The Best Known Books of Thomas

21. Thomas Hardy: Imagining Imagination in Hardy's Poetry and Fiction
by Barbara Hardy
Paperback: 240 Pages (2001-07-20)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$6.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0485121530
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The author of this text offers close readings of Thomas Hardy's poetry and novels, regarding these as expressive forms for the discovery of everyday and professional acts of imagination. The themes and forms examined here include narrative, conversation, gossip, memory, gender, poetry of place and imaginative threshold. Altogether the study is a contribution to theories of reflexivity, expanding and revising some of the analysis provided by Professor Hardy in "The Appropriate Form" and "Tellers and Listeners". ... Read more

22. The Well-Beloved
by Thomas Hardy
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-10-04)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B002RKRRS4
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

23. Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented (mobi)
by Thomas Hardy
Kindle Edition: 592 Pages (2008-09-26)
list price: US$0.99
Asin: B001GSJTRA
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This is an electronic edition of the complete book complemented by author biography. This book features the table of contents linked to every chapter. The book was designed for optimal navigation on the Kindle, PDA, Smartphone, and other electronic readers. It is formatted to display on all electronic devices including the Kindle, Smartphones and other Mobile Devices with a small display.


Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British illustrated newspaper, The Graphic. It is Hardy's penultimate novel, followed by Jude the Obscure. Though now considered a great classic of English literature, the book received mixed reviews when it first appeared, in part because it challenged the sexual mores of Hardy's day.

- Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Customer Reviews (70)

4-0 out of 5 stars "on the blighted star"
The stories and the characters may seem simple and dramatic, however, of the classic nature of Greek mythology, consistent with other books by the author, such as The Return of the Native, and the Mayor of Casterbridge.The essence of the book seems to me, is about the tragedies humans suffer, caught in the conflicts between nature and culture.The nature is harsh but straightforward as love is, but the culture presents hypocrisies and judgment, separating people between splendid star and blighted one. Whether to worship the sun, or to worship the standards of Judeo Christianity? There are different judgments in wealth vs. poverty, religion vs. spirituality, men's honor vs. women's purity.And there is plenty of ambiguity in all of them but ultimately, the "anachronism of love and chance" leads the characters to classic tragedies in the end.Beautiful writing.

4-0 out of 5 stars The most depressing novel in the English language
The most depressing book in the English language. And yet, I think I was the only person in my high school English class that actually liked it. Does this mean I'm depressed? We'll leave that question for my analyst and just say I think I have a thing for melodramatic novels.

Tess starts out a poor peasant girl with a drunk father and a stupid mother. After their only horse dies, they send her to their rich "relations" the D'Urbervilles, to beg for work. Her supposed cousin, Alec, rapes her and she has his child. The child dies in infancy and Tess leaves home to seek a new life and better work at a sunny dairy farm. At the dairy farm, she falls in love with a clergyman's son, Angel Clare and they get married. On their wedding night, he tells her he is not as virtuous as his name, that he went on a bender in London and slept with a prostitute. She says "That's great, because I'm not a virgin either - now forgive me." And he's like, "Um, no. My hypocritical moral beliefs will not allow me to be with a woman who is 'impure'. Here's some money. I'm going to Brazil to be a farmer."

So he leaves her and she wanders the land again searching for work and a new life. She's doing back-breaking labor for little money on this awful farm when who should show up but...Alec D'Urberville, her rapist cousin. He's found Jesus -- until he sees Tess's face again, and then he goes back to smoking cigars and being a general d-bag. He tries to get her to marry him, so he can possess her legally. She says no multiple times, until her father dies, leaving her family with no home and no money. So her mother sells her into marriage with Alec (This is the point in the novel when you, the reader, start thinking that suicide would be a good option for Tess).

Who should show up next, but Angel Clare! He's back from Brazil, having realized what a hypocrite he is. He finds Tess and begs her to be with him -- she tells him it's too late. After Angel leaves, Tess kills Alec with a bread knife. Then Tess runs after Angel, tells him what she's done and asks him to forgive her -- again. He's like "Whatever, we gotta get outta here. You're on the lam now." So they run away and get as far as Stonehenge before the fuzz catch up with them, arrest Tess, then execute her for her crimes. The End.

A fun, feel-good novel for the whole family.

4-0 out of 5 stars "The trees have inquisitive eyes, haven't they?"
The title character Tess journeys across the rural English countryside amidst a stark voyage of discovering exactly who she is.Her story is one filled with various sorrows, cathartic or otherwise, punctuated by only fleeting amounts of peace and happiness tossed somewhere in-between.It's not an easy read--nor is it meant to be--for a few reasons.Hardy thrives on description, some of which might seem unnecessary to the modern-day reader (particularly the extended glimpses of the dairy farms), though we do need to understand the Victorian world we're in.Consequently, the author wants to garner as much support as he can for his protagonist, who loses her innocence quickly and spends most of the book scraping up the pieces of a wreckage that was never her fault in the first place.And these glimpses into her troubled consciousness ache and resonate with us a century on.So if we understand the atmosphere she has to contend with, we begin to understand Tess--and sympathize with her plight and misfortune along the way.

When the meat is torn off the skeleton, it's a solid (albeit lengthy) read about the meshing and clashing of various characters in nineteenth-century England.The choices of some of the characters throughout, some of which might be construed as twists, are not entirely believable though add definite color to the work, especially the last two "phases."These culminate in a conclusive ending that is both haunting and beautiful.This won't be for everyone, though if you can withstand some archaic language here and there, you might enjoy this tragic tale about love, loss, and a stringent society that tried so desperately to dictate both.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This is a great book. The desriptions are beautiful. I was shocked to see how many people trashed it.
Look, Thomas Hardy was portraying the tragic struggle of a simple country girl living in the 19th century. Women weren't treated well, let alone poor women. In my opinion, he spoke of Tess with tenderness and compassion. He was not trying to say she deserved all that anguish, but the reality is that that's the way it was. If anything I think he was trying to advocate respectful treatment of women.

5-0 out of 5 stars My heart broke for Tess
I first read this book as a teenager. It has been a few years since I was a teenager, to say the least, but it will always stay with me as one of the "best books I have ever read" that is for sure. Among many wonderful attributes Hardy brings alive the English countryside so incredibly well. Tess struggles and loves so deeply and I wanted so much for her to be happy. I understand why and how she came to do what she did. ... Read more

24. Far from the Madding Crowd
by Thomas Hardy
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-10-04)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B002RKSZVW
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Product Description
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

25. Classic British Fiction: Thomas Hardy's complete fiction, all 20 books in a single file, with active table of contents, improved 10/20/2010
by Thomas Hardy
Kindle Edition: Pages (2008-06-24)
list price: US$2.99
Asin: B001BMM7ZC
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This "book" includes the complete text of: Desperate Remedies, 1871; Under the Greenwood Tree, 1872; A Pair of Blue Eyes, 1873; Far From the Madding Crowd, 1874;
The Hand of Ethelberta, 1876; The Return of the Native, 1878; Wessex Tales, 1879;
The Trumpet-Major, 1880; A Laodicean, 1881; Two on a Tower, 1882; The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid, 1883; A Changed Man and Other Tales, 1885; The Mayor of Casterbridge, 1886; The Woodlanders, 1887; Tess of the d'Urbervilles, 1891; A Group of Noble Dames, 1891; Life's Little Ironies, 1891; Jude the Obscure, 1895; The Well-Beloved, 1897; and The Dynasts, 1903.An active (hyperlinked) table of contents makes it easy to navigate through this huge file.Click on a title and go to that book. Push the Back button to return to the Table of Contents. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Formatting fixed
I purchased this item in Oct 2009 and found it unreadable due to the formatting.The line breaks were in the middle of words.I checked this weekend (Feb 2010) and saw that the formatting had been improved.

By writing to Amazon customer service, I was able to trade in my old version for the new.They made me write back to confirm I knew that I would lose notes and bookmarks before executing the exchange. Although I didn't have any notes or bookmarks, I appreciate that they anticipated the problem and warned me. The formatting issue has been rectified.The e-book is very nice and, as before, the TOC is linked to the chapters.Kudos to the publisher for being responsive (although hopefully they will be more careful in the future) and to Amazon for a smooth transition.

(Kindle DX)

1-0 out of 5 stars Classic British Fiction: Thomas Hardy's complete fiction
As noted with the George Eliot Classic British Fiction compilation, this printing leaves much to be desired.Yes, it is only 99 cents, but it needs to be rectified (as was done with George Eliot).Notup to Kindle standards as it is today, 11-1-09. ... Read more

26. Works of Thomas Hardy. (200+ Works) The Return of the Native, Desperate Remedies, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure & more (mobi)
by Thomas Hardy
Kindle Edition: Pages (2008-06-16)
list price: US$5.99
Asin: B001B8NWDW
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

This collection was designed for optimal navigation on Kindle and other electronic devices. It is indexed alphabetically, chronologically and by category, making it easier to access individual books, stories and poems. This collection offers lower price, the convenience of a one-time download, and it reduces the clutter in your digital library. All books included in this collection feature a hyperlinked table of contents and footnotes. The collection is complimented by an author biography. Author's biography and stories in the trial version.

Table of Contents

List of Works in Alphabetical Order
List of Works in Chronological Order
Thomas Hardy Biography

Novels of Character and Environment :: Romances and Fantasies :: Novels of Ingenuity :: Short Stories :: Collected Stories :: Poetry

Novels of Character and Environment
Far from the Madding Crowd
Jude the Obscure
Life's Little Ironies
The Mayor of Casterbridge
The Return of the Native
Romantic Adventures of a Milkman
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Under the Greenwood Tree
Wessex Tales
The Woodlanders

Romances and Fantasies
A Group of Noble Dames
A Pair of Blue Eyes
The Trumpet-Major
Two on a Tower
The Well-Beloved

Novels of Ingenuity
Desperate Remedies
The Hand of Ethelberta
A Laodicean

Short Stories
Alicia's Diary
A Changed Man
A Committee-Man of 'The Terror'
The Distracted Preacher
The Duke's Reappearance
Enter a Dragoon
A Few Crusted Characters
For Conscience' Sake
The Grave by the Handpost
An Imaginative Woman
Interlopers at the Knap
Master John Horseleigh, Knigh
The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion
A Mere Interlude
On the Western Circuit
The Son's Veto
The Three Strangers
To Please His Wife
A Tragedy of Two Ambitions
A Tryst at an Ancient Earth Work
The Waiting Supper
What the Shepherd Saw
The Withered Arm

Collected Stories
A Changed Man and Other Tales
Life's Little Ironies
Wessex Tales

The Dynasts
Late Lyrics and Earlier with Many Other Verses
Moments of Vision
Poems of the Past and Present
Satires of Circumstance
Time's Laughingstocks and Other Verses
Wessex Poems and Other Verses

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars beautiful prose
Works of Thomas Hardy. (200+ Works) FREE Author's biography and stories in the trial version.

This ebook is a pleasure to read as Thomas Hardy masterfully brings his characters to life.

... Read more

27. The Return of the Native (Oxford World's Classics)
by Thomas Hardy, Nancy Barrineau, Margaret R. Higonnet
Paperback: 488 Pages (2009-07-26)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$5.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199537046
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Editorial Review

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'To be loved to madness - such was her great desire'

Eustacia Vye criss-crosses the wild Egdon Heath, eager to experience life to the full in her quest for 'music, poetry, passion, war'.She marries Clym Yeobright, native of the heath, but his idealism frustrates her romantic ambitions and her discontent draws others into a tangled web of deceit and unhappiness.

Early readers responded to Hardy's 'insatiably observant' descriptions of the heath, a setting that for D. H. Lawrence provided the 'real stuff of tragedy'.For modern readers, the tension between the mythic setting of the heath and the modernity of the characters challenges our freedom to shape the world as we wish; like Eustacia, we may not always be able to live our dreams.

This edition has a critically established text based on the manuscript and first edition, and without the later changes that substantially altered Hardy's original intentions. ... Read more

28. An Imaginative Woman and Other Stories (Great Philosophers)
by Thomas Hardy
Hardcover: 247 Pages (1998-01)

Isbn: 075380445X
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A wonderful collection of stories from the beloved novelist and poet. ... Read more

29. Thomas Hardy After Fifty Years
Hardcover: 192 Pages (1977-09-29)
list price: US$32.50 -- used & new: US$358.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0333214870
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30. The Return of The Native (Signet Classics)
by Thomas Hardy
Paperback: 432 Pages (2008-12-02)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$3.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451531124
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Clym Yeobright returns from Paris to the village of his birth, inspired to improve the life of its men and women. But his plans are upset when he falls in love with a beautiful, darkly discontented girl, Eustacia Vye, who longs to escape from her provincial surroundings. ... Read more

31. The Return of the Native (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Thomas Hardy
Paperback: 320 Pages (2003-12-12)
list price: US$3.50 -- used & new: US$3.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486431657
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Passionate Eustacia Vye detests her life amid the dreary environs of Egdon Heath and spies her escape when Clym Yeobright returns from Paris. Hardy's timeless tale of a romantic misalliance embodies his view of character as fate and underscores the tragic nature of ordinary human lives. The Return of the Native ranks among the author's greatest works.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is the best audiobook I have ever heard
I listen to books on tape regularly. This was the best audiobook I have ever heard! I love reading Thomas Hardy myself, but listening to Alan Rickman was much better. He has a mezmerizing voice and his accents add so much to the story. I didn't want it to be over. I highly recommend this audiobook.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect Way to Enjoy Thomas Hardy!
I bought this audio book as a gift for my mother-in-law.Before I gave it to her, I thought I'd check it out first to make sure everything worked all right.When I started listening, I was hooked.You can guess the rest: I haven't yet given it to Mom.She'll have to wait her turn.

This is a great way to enjoy "The Return of the Native." If you're a fan of Thomas Hardy or the narrator, Alan Rickman, don't miss it!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Listening Pleasure
I bought this audiobook because it's narrated by Alan Rickman, my favorite actor.I knew nothing about the Thomas Hardy book before I bought this, but I'm fully engaged in this story of complicated love and longing thanks to Mr. Rickman's reading.His gorgeous voice and subtle performances (even when he voices female characters, he doesn't go over the top in an effort to sound like a feminine caricature) enliven the tale.

3-0 out of 5 stars what's everyone so excited about?
A buddy loaned this to me, claiming I was going to love Alan Rickman's reading.

While I am a huge fan of this book (in my opinion, Hardy's best), Rickman's reading, while far from bad, is nothing special.

His pace is monotonous and he makes scant effort to mimic the voices of various characters.It's a reading, pure and simple.Not a dramatization by any means, or a single sound effect.It is completely unabridged, however.

Alan Rickman, in case you don't know, is the guy who's made a career out of playing fey villains, such as the Sheriff of Nottingham in that 80's version of "Robin Hood," with Kevin Costner.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Audiobook I've Ever Heard
I love Thomas Hardy's writings and his novel "The Return of the Native" is probably my favorite thing he wrote. The descriptive passages are truly lush, vibrant and stunning. This reading by Alan Rickman is more than a reading: it is a master performance. I only wish that Rickman could read ALL of Hardy's novels. Highly recommended! ... Read more

32. Jude the Obscure (Oxford World's Classics)
by Thomas Hardy
Paperback: 464 Pages (2009-01-15)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$4.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 019953702X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Hardy's last and most controversial novel, Jude the Obscure caused much outrage when it was published in 1895. Jude Fawley, poor and working-class, longs to study at the University of Christminster, but his ambitions to go to university are thwarted by class prejudice and his entrapment in a loveless marriage. He falls in love with his unconventional cousin, Sue Bridehead, and their refusal to marry when free to do so confirms their rejection of and by the world around them. The shocking fate that overtakes them is an indictment of a rigid and uncaring society. This is the first truly critical edition, taking account of the changes that Hardy made over twenty-five years. Hardy's last, and most controversial novel, this revised edition has the first truly critical text, a new chronology and bibliography, and substantially revised notes. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars Wow.
The few last people who read this book are most likely in their grave.It had to be a garage sale find.Not a used book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Bold Timepiece and An Immortal Masterwork
Jude the Obscure, the last novel written by England's greatest novelist, is often called Thomas Hardy's masterpiece. I do not quite agree, but it is certainly in his top tier, which puts it with the all-time best novels. It is absolutely essential for fans of Hardy, English literature, or tragedy as well as anyone alive to art that is profoundly moving and deeply thought-provoking.

Jude in many ways culminates Hardy's novelistic career, portraying several key themes and facets more clearly and fully than previously. The marriage institution had rarely fared well in Hardy, but this is his most devastating critique - nay, one of the most devastating of all-time. Hardy questions it on all fronts:historical, social, religious, and moral. He also thoroughly explores a wealth of related issues:sexuality, male/female relations, love, etc. Very few writers have written of love so movingly or honestly; Jude shows nearly every aspect - from euphoric first love to cynical bitterness - so vividly and emotionally that everyone will relate to one or more parts. All told, the love depiction is extremely bleak; Hardy has little hope for successful relations and generally portrays love itself as fundamentally destructive and lust even more so. They distract from what are really more important things and can even wreck dreams, which of course does not make it any more resistible - even if one knows it.

This is the novel's most famous aspect, but it has a wealth of other important themes. Keeping its 1895 publication in mind is important, as it deals with many issues central to late Victorian society - mostly ones that few wanted to discuss or even admit existed. Hardy truly had his finger on the contemporary pulse, and his unorthodox views led to near-unbelievable controversy, which gives Jude great historical value. However, it is also universal in the best and truest sense. Many problems dramatized here are unfortunately still very real; even more sadly, most seem inherent to the human condition. Class problems are one of these - always important in Hardy but perhaps never so clearly. Hardy was an autodidact, as are many of his characters; he routinely shows just how hard it was for the poor to become educated, much less use education for advancement, even if they wanted it desperately. Jude explores this with great depth and subtlety, shedding much-needed light on a perennial social failing and many overlooked personal tragedies. The English education system itself is thus taken to task, as are self-proclaimed intellectuals. The novel also more than hints at what Hardy later called the Imminent Will - a blind force governing human fate. The characters seem to have very little or no control over their destiny, being prey to vast forces beyond their control. Hardy is often said to have an almost malevolent attitude toward characters, arranging chance and circumstances so that they do the most possible harm to essentially undeserving victims. This inevitably leads to very elaborate plots and heavy reliance on melodramatic coincidence, which some have always disliked. This is of course one's right, but those who think he could not plot without such things miss the point; he had a very dark view of life, lacked belief in a benevolent force overseeing humanity, and thought change and chance usually affected life for the worse. All this comes across very powerfully; Jude may have faults but is far more sinned against than sinning. Hardy has drawn him too specifically - and, some have always said, too autobiographically - for him to be an Everyman, but we identify with and have great sympathy for him because of his core frail humanity. What happens to him could happen to almost anyone, making his story all the more believable and thus all the more tragically affecting.

As all this suggests, Jude is very modern; most of Hardy's views were very advanced, and the novel was on the very cutting edge of late Victorian ethics, philosophy, and theology. The marriage issue of course takes on a central church issue directly, but the discerning will see more fundamental religious criticism. Though he almost never gets credit, Hardy was a proto-existentialist, consistently dramatizing the intellectual and moral consequences of living in the modern, post-religion world. Jude shows just how black that world can be and vibrantly conveys the profound changes that were even then transforming every aspect of it. Hardy's work is well-known for showing modernity's ache - how rapid advancement in everything from technology to religion was quickly making obsolete a rural agricultural society that had been virtually unchanged for a thousand years. Like much of Hardy's work, Jude is partly set in Wessex - a part-real, part-dream setting based on his native Southwest England. Perhaps no one equals him at making place so important that it is integral to the story, and setting is never mere background with him. The lush, minutely described rural landscapes are as compelling as ever, but Jude is unique in being substantially set in Christminster - a relatively large town, based on Oxford, outside Wessex proper. Oxfordians have long been fascinated by Hardy's depiction; he did much on the spot research to maintain his usual verisimilitude, and it shows. He truly seems to bring the city alive to an extent rarely even approached, much less achieved, with any location. Those who appreciate this Hardy aspect will thus not be disappointed, and those who stereotype him as using only rural agricultural settings will be pleasantly surprised.

Important as all this is, the characters in many ways make the book. Jude is one of Hardy's great creations, and Arabella is one of literature's most intriguing and nuanced female villains. The most interesting character may be Sue Bridehead, a curious and uneasy mix of the Victorian female ideal and the rapidly emerging New Woman. Hardy's Preface notes that an early feminist told him Sue was literature's first real feminist, and so she is in many ways. Hardy himself was almost a proto-feminist and uses her to explore many issues of importance to women at the time and indeed now. In particular, he shows just how hard it was for even the most staunchly independent and freethinking women to stay true to themselves - or even stay alive - in such a drastically oppressive society. We see how marriage was virtually the only method of subsistence and how women were all but forced to marry grossly unsuitable men. For a man of the era, much less of Hardy's age (fifty-five) to have even been aware of such things, much less to dramatize them with discernment and sympathy, is truly remarkable. The feminist was disappointed by what Hardy does with Sue in the end, saying no woman would have written so, and D. H. Lawrence was later fascinated by her for similar but subtly different reasons. It is easy to criticize Hardy for losing nerve and falling back on prevailing stereotypes, but it is important to remember a few things. First, the event that pushes Sue over the proverbial edge is the most harrowing I have ever read; even the darkest Russian literature - nay, even Greek tragedy itself - does not equal it. I will say no more because all should experience it for themselves - and indeed it cannot be reproduced -, but it must be asked what would drive a woman (or anyone) to extremes if this would not. Second, and probably more importantly, Sue's plight and all it leads to epitomize Hardy's dark philosophy. Showing things as they should be was not his goal; he showed them as they are - which is of course not what most want to see. A wide range of ideologies may find this far from palatable, but he wisely noted that there is an obligation higher than any ideology - Truth. Few have equaled Hardy at showing it, especially the dark side so many refuse to see, and Jude is a seminal instance.

Jude may not be the easiest Hardy novel to start with; a work like Far from the Madding Crowd or The Mayor of Casterbridge is probably better. However, this should be one of the first Hardy novels anyone reads, and those who have not read him should start immediately. He is not only one of the world's greatest writers but seemingly more relevant and influential with each passing year, and this is a masterpiece of the highest order - essential Hardy, which means it is simply essential.

4-0 out of 5 stars Jude is obscure
Jude the Obcure is really a book about life.It involves Jude's search for happiness.Of course, he never quite achieves happiness because something is always in the way-preventing him from being happy.He starts out as a young lad living with his working-class aunt, dreaming that one day he may study at Christminster.The problem is as he grows he falls in love with a devilish girl named Arabella who tricks him into marrying her.Inevitably the marriage goes sour and he goes to Christminster, while she moves to Australia.Jude then meets his cousin Sue.He sets her up with Phillotson and they get married.Sue is then not happy and leaves to live with jude.As you can see this is really just a soap opera, but isn't life really just one big soap opera.Arabella then comes back to Jude with a son in Australia.Basically Jude feels responsibility to go back to Arabella and Sue goes back to Phillotson.Jude then dies soon after.

It's quite interesting how Hardy devises his plot.It's quite a dark novel, filled with every character's problems.Through this book we see that what society thinks is the right thing to do isn't always best for everyone.The climax of the book is a horrifying murder-suicide of Jude's children.This is no doubt a book that makes you think about the psychological aspect of life. It's a good read if you like the fact that none of the problems actually get resolved and trying to solve problems only makes new ones.

4-0 out of 5 stars Women: the scourge of life
As with many of Thomas Hardy's books, Jude the Obscure is a book that satirizes society's views-this one of relationships and commitment.At the beginning of the novel, Jude is a young boy in Marygreen (a part of Wessex) gains an interest for the city of Christminster.At this young age he committed himself to becoming educated enough to one day attend one of the many colleges at Christminster and become a decorated scholar or minister of the church.One day while returning to Marygreen from a job as a stone mason, he meets Arabella.Her entire view of marriage is a social engagement by which a woman attaches herself to a man and allows him to care for her and carry her expenses.She attracts Jude's attention by throwing a piece of raw pig meat at him, and coerces him into marriage by making him believe that she was pregnant.This arrangement, Jude believed, would only postpone his ability to attend a mighty school in Christminster.After their divorce, and a lengthy intermission, Arabella again gets Jude to marry her by keeping him drunk for several days.As made manifest by her use of a false hairpiece and the way she artificially produces a dimple in her cheek, Arabella is a character that portrays the façade of marriage.Her view of relationships was entirely superficial, something for society to see.There was no substance to her or to any relationship she was engaged in.
After their divorce, Jude finally moves up to Christminster where he is rejected by all the colleges.He realized that what he had hoped for as a boy was just a fantasy.Here he meets Sue, a cousin of his, and falls in love.Sue, who really loved Jude, only wanted the security from a relationship without ever having to give a commitment (why she always avoided marriage with Jude).This later led to Jude's downfall.Sue was extremely manipulative and controlled Jude and his emotions as though she were merely pulling and releasing strings.She was often childish and impulsive by drastically doing things and making rash decisions.She knew how Jude felt about her, but seemed to find more enjoyment by avoiding that which she felt was the natural course of nature.Ultimately, she only brought suffering upon herself, and unimaginable anguish upon Jude.
Jude was a boy who wanted nothing more than to "be somebody."He had great goals that were thrashed before his eyes by selfish women who knew his weaknesses.Had Jude been a confirmed bachelor, he would have had little problem in achieving his goals, and Hardy would have been without a book that illustrated the follies of marriage in his day.For example, it is pretty sad by knowing that two people were married by their indifference and mal disposition toward each other.Whenever he recovered from a folly with either of the aforementioned women, he would return to his roots at Marygreen-more going back to the basics-reset his goals (which ultimately led to Christminster) and set out to only be shoved off course by a pretty dame.Hardy's book, being well written and easy to follow and read, if nothing else illustrates what I definitely do not want in a relationship.It is a story like you find in the Bible, one that shows the potholes in life so that you may avoid them.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the great ones.
As are Hardy's other books, Jude the Obscure is not an "easy read." Appreciating Hardy's work requires a little work and theability to pay attention and to think a little along the way. But theeffort pays off.Jude the Obscure is a great book about the humancondition, at least as it exists for many people. Like other Hardycharacters, Jude Fawley makes a mistake early in his life and continues topay the price until the day he dies.He commits an act of folly that sealshis doom, and nothing he can do can make it right. This would be merely sador melodramatic were if not for the fact that Jude is a truly good man withtruly good intentions.It is this that makes his story truly tragic.Notonly is he trapped by the consequences of his early act of foolishness, buthe is also trapped and eventually dragged down by the conventions of asociety that is more concerned with status and class than with characterand ability and more devoted to mindless tradition than to a consideredmorality.Most of what can be said of Jude also be said of his love, SueBridehead, although I found her to be a less believable and sympatheticcharacter.I was surprised by the frankness with which Hardy deals withsexuality in 1895, and I can understand now the furor this book apparentlycaused in Britain and America upon publication. Hardy is a writer of greatpower and insight.He also knows how to build a great story.And he is anovelist of ideas.He has his faults, of course.At his worst, he iswordy, obscure, and pedantic.But at his best, he is one of the mostemotionally moving of writers. At times his books flash briliantly withpassion.At times, he is heartbreaking.Jude the Obscure is a novel thatno lover of fine writing and a great story can afford to miss.The novelhas haunted me for weeks since I read it, and it probably will for a longtime. ... Read more

33. Far from the Madding Crowd (Modern Library Classics)
by Thomas Hardy
Paperback: 512 Pages (2001-12-11)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$3.59
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Asin: 037575797X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Far from the Madding Crowd, Hardy’s passionate tale of the beautiful, headstrong farmer Bathsheba Everdene and her three suitors, firmly established the thirty-four-year-old writer as a popular novelist. According to Virginia Woolf, “The subject was right; the method was right; the poet and the countryman, the sensual man, the sombre reflective man, the man of learning, all enlisted to produce a book which . . . must hold its place among the great English novels.” Introducing the fictional name of “Wessex” to describe Hardy’s legendary countryside, this early masterpiece draws a vivid picture of rural life in southwest England.

This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the 1912 Wessex edition and features Hardy’s map of Wessex. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel
Hardy's novel, I was surprised to find, lacked the sluggishness and wordiness sometimes found in nineteenth-century novels. His story moves just quickly enough to keep the reader hooked (an advantage, given that the novel was originally a serial) while giving a great deal of thought to the characters and their motivations and sentiments.Hardy's characters are generally well-formed and believable.An excellent read.

5-0 out of 5 stars HARDY CLASSIC

5-0 out of 5 stars Forces of Nature
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, the first of Thomas Hardy's 'Wessex' novels, tells the story of a small troupe of farmers and their workers in a sheep-farming community in the fictitious county of 'Wessex'.

Gabriel Oak has been a shepherd since his teenage years, as his father was before him, but he's moved up and purchased, on credit, his own farm. The work is hard, but he is confident that he will succeed, and takes pride in being his own man. Then one day, a new woman arrives in town. Bathsheeba Everdene is beautiful, headstrong, intelligent, but incurably vain; Farmer Oak falls in love with her immediately. A few months later, he proposes, and is utterly rejected. Bathsheeba moves on to care for her dying uncle, and take over his farm. Gabriel continues farming - until tragedy strikes.

He and Bathsheeba will cross paths again, this time not as lovers, but as mistress and servant. Bathsheeba's beauty, vanity and impetuousness leave a trail of carnage in her wake, and Gabriel can only watch on as lives are destroyed, farms are ruined, and his own heart is crushed repeatedly.

Hardy is famous for his fatalism, and this is displayed no more than in the character of Bathsheba Everdene. She is not an evil person, as the above summary would suggest - but her stunning beauty and fierce intelligence combine with her vanity and impulsivity to create something like a force of nature, and though she means only good she seems to be able to do nothing but wrong by those who care for her. She has no more control over her nature than she does over the weather. One of the most interesting aspects of this character is that her vices - vanity, impulsivity, which Hardy attributes to her being young and beautiful - lead to the downfall of others, but she is continuously saved from downfall by her own intelligence and inner personal strength.

REal tragedy finally does strike Bathsheba, but rather than let it destroy her as retribution for her wicked ways, she grows from it. We may not be able to escape the hardship of life, Hardy seems to be saying, but we can grow and prosper by learning from it.

This was a fantastically entertaining book. The only warning that I could give with it is that it is slow-moving. The action comes in fits and spurts, and Hardy has a penchant for elaborate descriptions of the countryside, for farmhouses, churches and festivals. They are beautifully written, but take time to digest fully. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars No need for titles
vivid, lucidly written, conjuring up images of serene hillsides and country life at every opportunity; you never feel less than a central part of the story, being able, thanks to Hardy's joyous descriptions, to picture every scne and character in the greatest of detail and desiring nothing more than to join the number of Wessex's inhabitants. Truly a wonderful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of brilliant fiction
This book has everything - sumptuous and beautiful prose, brilliantly realized characters, a magnificent page-turning plot, superb use of the English language, and a relatively happy ending.If you ever thought Thomas Hardy was not for you, read this book, it will change your mind forever.A classic among classics.Hardy's ability to construct sentences that perfectly convey the message is second to none. His use of vocabulary, his powers of decription, and his uncanny insight into human nature will make you practially weep with envy. ... Read more

34. The life and death of the mayor of Casterbridge; a story of a man of character
by Thomas Hardy
 Paperback: 412 Pages (2010-09-09)
list price: US$34.75 -- used & new: US$24.97
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Asin: 1171818912
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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One of the Wessex tales, this tells the story of the brooding, and sometimes brutal Michael Henchard and the women with whom he searches for happiness in the harsh world of 19th-century rural England. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (81)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mayor of Casterbridge Casette Set
Fast delivery and was able to enjoy with my daughter on a cross country trip. It came just as I thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Hardy's Greatest Novel
The Mayor of Casterbridge is not Thomas Hardy's most famous or acclaimed novel, but in the opinion of this die-hard fan it is his best. The later Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure are generally considered his masterpieces, but while this lacks their epic grandeur and sociopolitical relevance, it is more immediately arresting, has a more conventionally interesting plot, and features one of literature's best tragic heroes. I give it the highest possible recommendation not only for fans but for anyone even remotely alive to literary greatness.

Hardy in his day was nearly unique in mixing high literary elements with what would later be called pulp factors. Hard as it is to imagine, he was like William Faulkner and Stephen King in one - a true artist with mass appeal, both critically acclaimed and bestselling. However, his early nineteenth century rural English settings, heavy dialect use, eccentric vocabulary, and other characteristics make many current readers think his books slow going. The Mayor is the obvious exception, beginning almost immediately with one of the most arresting and unforgettable scenes in all literature - nothing less than a drunken man selling his wife and child to a stranger out of anger and disgust. As often with Hardy, it is based on a real incident, but he dramatizes so vividly that we cannot help being enthralled. The drama indeed reaches such a fever pitch in these first few pages that even those normally averse to classic literature can hardly help being pulled in.

Such a beginning sets a very high standard, and it is a testament to the book's greatness that it never disappoints - and, indeed, hardly lets up. The popular aspects of Hardy's fiction made him more influential on later writers, especially mainstream ones, than nearly any other classic author; it is almost impossible to exaggerate his impact, which is such that even many who have never read him have been greatly influenced without knowing it. These strengths are present even in his earliest fiction, but The Mayor is the preeminent example. Supremely engrossing and intriguing, it is full of plot twists that will keep even the savviest readers guessing and ends in one of the most spectacularly memorable conclusions ever. One could not expect more from even the most entertaining pulp novel - and The Mayor of course has a wealth of great artistry to boot. To be sure, this Hardy aspect has always had critics bemoaning apparent overreliance on complex plots and melodramatic coincidence, the implication being that Hardy was unable to make a story without them. However, anyone even remotely familiar with him knows that he was intensely interested in coincidence, chance, and fate, using them deliberately to dramatize what dominated his thought. Those aware of this can see how well his writings work out the implications of his bleak impressions:that humans are near-laughably insignificant on the cosmic scale, that no force sympathetic to humans or generally benevolent controls the universe, and that human life is essentially miserable with little chance of success at love or other happiness. More specifically, his work illustrates what he called the Imminent Will - an unconscious force controlling human action. What seems luck or chance may thus be very much otherwise, though we can do nothing about it. Many have said that he has an almost malevolent attitude toward his characters, plotting so that things work out in the worst possible way and cause them the greatest possible suffering, but this is simply Hardy's view of the human condition. The Mayor's complicated plot is an essential example - perhaps the preeminent. Hardy was later somewhat unsatisfied, thinking that it suffered more from serialization's effects than any of his other novels. He worried that he included too many improbabilities and twists in an effort to include an exciting event in every installment but noted with satisfaction that the events arise naturally from the story, and so they do. Those who do not like this feature elsewhere will be unconvinced - or even have their view cemented -, but those for whom Hardy's tragic vision speaks powerfully will be in awe of the masterful execution.

There are several keys to its success. Hardy reiterated over and over again that probability of character, not of action, is what matters, and this proves it. The book works mainly because its characters are so believable and often identifiable; we care about them in spite of - or arguably even because of, such is Hardy's skill - the highly-wrought events. It has one of Hardy's largest casts, and the four main characters are some of his most fully realized and memorable. Three are unsurprisingly doomed to near-constant suffering:the admirably strong-willed and hard-working but fatally impulsive Michael Henchard; Elizabeth-Jane, who has great empathy and love potential but is so passive that others constantly step on her with impunity; and the dignified but overly passionate Lucetta. The fourth, Donald Farfrae, is one of Hardy's most original and interesting. He was not one to champion a creation, but Farfrae is probably his most thoroughly positive and genuinely likable. Other characters are drawn to him almost irresistibly, and so are we; intelligent, industrious, and positively infectious, he is drawn with a good humor almost never seen in Hardy and gives much of the book's appeal. He is also notable as a sympathetic and nuanced Scotch character from an English writer.

But this is of course mainly Henchard's story, and what a story! Hardy based his tragic fiction on ancient Greek models, but Henchard is his only true example of the tragic hero central to those works - a character who is in many ways admirable but imbued with a flaw that proves his downfall. "Impulsiveness" perhaps sums up his and is manifested in various ways; many know such a person, but the far more important thing is that we can see ourselves in him. He is in some ways an Everyman despite obvious flaws and has several admirable qualities, not least how he raised himself from extreme poverty to relative wealth and prominence by sheer force of will. However, his fall is even greater than his rise - in fact, one of the greatest and most affecting ever imagined. It is a true testament to Hardy's artistry that he makes us care for Henchard despite him being in many ways despicable; for him to win our hearts after the opening scene seems not only impossible but perverse to even conceive, yet Hardy pulls it off. There is much to dislike, but he is fully and thus frailly and tragically human. Whether or not we think him redeemed, he is more sinned against than sinning, as even those he has wronged eventually see. Yet he also undeniably caused his own demise; what seems like bad luck or wretched fate is really his bad decisions' delayed consequences. His end is one of the most highly tragic and sympathetic ever written; he dies miserably alone and fully broken, denied even the last ray of light that a guilty conscience and sincere repentance could have potentially given. The scene with his final note - complete with misspellings belying the lack of education and humble background that made his rise more remarkable but that he was in many ways unable to overcome - is one of the most moving I have ever read. It is the culmination of what is a highly emotional work throughout; Hardy runs us through a gamut of feelings as only he can. The pathos is at times almost unbearable, and few readers will not cry at least once. Indeed, aside from Les Misérables, which I believe is unquestionably the greatest creation of all-time, no other book out of the hundreds or thousands I have read has moved me so often or deeply. Other than Victor Hugo, Hardy has no equal at conveying emotion, and this is his supreme example. Later works, particularly Tess, show the tragedy of the human condition on a grander scale, but only Oedipus Rex itself even rivals this as a supremely moving depiction of individual tragedy. Indeed, I can say without hyperbole that nothing else I have ever experienced - artistic or otherwise - has driven home life's profound tragedy with such conviction or force.

This alone is of course more than enough reason to read the book, but the work is also notable for other reasons. Chief among these is another perennial Hardy strength - great sense of place. Perhaps no one equals him in making place so vivid that it is essential to the story; setting is never mere background with him. He is of course best-known in this regard for Wessex - the part-real, part-dream country based on his native Southwest England that he made world famous. Setting is not as important here as in some other works, but the Casterbridge focus is particularly noteworthy. Based on the real-life Dorchester, Casterbridge is Wessex's largest town; nearly all Wessex stories and a considerable number of the poems mention it, and many take place there in part. However, this is unique in being almost entirely set there, giving both a fascinating glimpse into Southwest England's early nineteenth-century hub and filling in much of the background to other works. This is invaluable to fans and of considerable interest to historians and others.

Relatedly, Hardy's work is well-known for showing modernity's ache, i.e., how technology and other advances were rapidly and drastically changing a society that had been essentially the same for a thousand years. The Mayor in particular portrays its effect on agriculture and other business aspects, depicting all with realism and human interest. Some current readers may think this makes the book drag somewhat, but it will be a big attraction for others, especially those keen on the background to the book and its importance to Hardy's life and thought.

I simply cannot praise the novel highly enough; it is one of the all-time greatest artistic achievements, a supreme creation of artistry and, more fundamentally, the human heart. Suffice it to say that anyone sensitive to the unforgettable final two paragraphs, which sum up Hardy's grim but eminently practical view of existence in his fine inimitable style and conclude by calling happiness "the occasional episode in a general drama of pain," will not find the sentiments more vividly dramatized anywhere. This is enough - perhaps even all anyone could ask for.

As for this edition, it is essentially bare bones, lacking even Hardy's Preface, though it has a bibliography. The dedicated will want something more extensive, but the work more than stands on its own.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Successful Novel About A Failed Life
"The Mayor Of Casterbridge" captures a lot of what makes Thomas Hardy resonate with people today: hard existential truths playing out amid pastoral splendor; naturalistic descriptions of fantastic events; an agnostic worldview that centers around a sense of Christian guilt and loss. The countercurrents create a lot of creative tension.

But what makes "The Mayor Of Casterbridge" so powerful more than a century after its 1886 publication is its multifaceted, emotionally conflicted depiction of the central character. Like King Lear and Ibsen's Solness the Master Builder, Hardy's Michael Henchard has no one but himself to blame for most of the misery that befalls him. Still he compels sympathy and a growing sense of investment from the reader.

We meet him, in one of the all-time great openings of noveldom, selling off his timid wife and child in a fit of rum-tinged pique. He regrets this almost immediately, but fails to relocate them. Instead, he swears off liquor and remakes himself years later as a prosperous leader in a town he chances upon in his travels, Casterbridge.

Alas the dark spikes of his id are never far from the surface, especially after his wife and her daughter come to Casterbridge. "Though under a long reign of self-control he had become Mayor and churchwarden and whatnot, there was still the same unruly volcanic stuff beneath the rind of Michael Henchard as when he had sold his wife at Weydon Fair," Hardy writes.

Henchard is a portrait in grayscale, nothing too black or white. In one scene, Hardy shows him mercilessly humiliating a lazy farmhand, then tells us Henchard keeps the farmhand's mother stocked with coal in winter. When the wife returns, Henchard has a romance brewing but puts it aside to do right by the woman he wronged. He's definitely not happy about it, and prone to self-pity and lashing out, but Hardy's intuitive narration keeps you identifying with Henchard, never leading you too far from his point of view.

For a character study the story moves fast, even if the prose style is ornate. Hardy's descriptive abilities are on constant display, with scenic rides through the country. There's much local Wessex color (Hardy's own quasi-mythical kingdom, where most of his novels are set) and a chorus of memorable townspeople, like a fellow whose theft of coins from the eyes of a corpse is excused thus: "Money is scarce, and throats get dry. Why should death rob life o' four pence?"

Death is omnipresent in "Mayor Of Casterbridge", but Hardy justifies the novel's gloomy tone with a memorably powerful, courageously bleak conclusion. "Casterbridge's" greatness lies at its two ends. In between, the story keeps your interest but keeps hitting the same notes, with some sketchy melodrama and improbable coincidences amid brighter moments. Hardy even gets maudlin with a dead goldfinch metaphor.

Most problematic of all is the absence of interest in the main characters beyond Henchard. Except for a jilted lover who forces her way back into Henchard's life with minxish self-possession, they are an entirely boring crew, existing only to be contrasted with Henchard's more forceful personality.

"Casterbridge" may leave you wishing you chose something else to read in a lighter vein, say "The Painted Bird" or "The Bell Jar". But it's worth reading for that same emotional toll, a reminder of life's harder truths that may leave you sad but perhaps a bit more conscious of the truth behind the line: "There but for the Grace of God go I."

5-0 out of 5 stars Hardy's Classic Tragedy
In Michael Henchard, Thomas Hardy created a tragic figure of Shakespearean dimension. The opening scene of a drunken Henchard selling off his wife and infant child at a country fair immediately establishes him as a rash and impetuous character. These qualities will return to haunt him and those nearest to him again and again as his fortune rises and falls.
Henchard is contrasted with the genial and almost too innocent Scotsman Donald Farfrae who starts as his friend but becomes his rival in almost all things. Farfrae has an easy charm about him that makes him an unwitting competitor that stirs additional dark forces in Henchard as his rashness mixes with a growing envy.

The Mayor Of Casterbridge is one of Hardy's great works alongside Tess and Jude The Obscure. Hardy's vision is dark and the relentless sadness in his work may put off some but in the end these characters he created are as strong as tragic figures as those of any writer in the English language.

Finally Hardy's descriptions of rural England and the people who inhabit including their dialects of the time are priceless.

4-0 out of 5 stars Despite the melodrama, a worthy read
In some ways this is a hard book to get into since it is set in a totally different culture from ours -rural England of the mid-nineteenth century.You would think that that is close enough in time to not be a problem.But to me the things like their courtship customs, or what is considered scandalous/honorable behavior, are really at a variance with the way we act today that I found it hard to relate to.Add to this some of the implausible melodrama and coincidences that make up the plot and I almost ended up putting down the book.

However I kept reading and in the end I thought it was an excellent story.This is because it illustrated a truth about life that I could empathize with.How a man through pride, anger, stubbornness and alcoholism could end up destroying his relationships with all of the people he is close to and in middle age end up being alienated from everyone who was important to him in his life. Since this story was written there have been millions of guys like Michael Henchard.The details of their lives are different, their endings may have been different.But there is an underlying truth that is the same.That aspect of the story is timeless. ... Read more

35. Thomas Hardy (Bloom's Major Novelists)
Hardcover: 160 Pages (2002-12)
list price: US$31.95 -- used & new: US$27.16
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Asin: 0791063488
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Despite thinking of himself as a poet and abandoning prose fiction later in his career, Thomas Hardy is considered one of the crucial novelists of the last three decades of the 19th century. This volume concerns several of his best novels, including Far from the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and Jude the Obscure. Critical analysis is offered by numerous authorities on the subject.

This series is edited by Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities, Yale University; Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Professor of English, New York University Graduate School; preeminent literary critic of our time. Titles include detailed plot summaries of the novel, extracts from scholarly critical essays on the novels, a complete bibliography of the writer's novels, and more. ... Read more

36. Late lyrics and earlier: with many other verses
by Thomas Hardy
Paperback: 320 Pages (1922-01-01)
list price: US$22.99 -- used & new: US$22.99
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Asin: B003YOS65K
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This volume is produced from digital images created through the University of Michigan University Library's large-scale digitization efforts. The Library seeks to preserve the intellectual content of items in a manner that facilitates and promotes a variety of uses. The digital reformatting process results in an electronic version of the original text that can be both accessed online and used to create new print copies. The Library also understands and values the usefulness of print and makes reprints available to the public whenever possible. This book and hundreds of thousands of others can be found in the HathiTrust, an archive of the digitized collections of many great research libraries. For access to the University of Michigan Library's digital collections, please see http://www.lib.umich.edu and for information about the HathiTrust, please visit http://www.hathitrust.org ... Read more

37. Manners of Ghosts: A Study of the Supernatural in Thomas Hardy's Short Poems (Gothenburg Studies in English, 82)
by Sven Backman
Paperback: 274 Pages (2001-10)
list price: US$63.50 -- used & new: US$63.50
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Asin: 9173464139
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38. Great Braids!: The New Way to Exciting Hairstyles
by Thomas Hardy
Paperback: 96 Pages (1997-12-31)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$14.99
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Asin: 0806986174
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Featured are over 25 great braid designs to do yourself. The techniques are easily mastered and responsible for an array of new and exciting looks.*For a quick change of style, turn your traditional ponytail into something completely original in just a matter of minutes. Interested in appearing cosmopolitan? The French braid provides elegance and is sure to never go out of fashion. Want to show off your funky side? If so, see how the four-strand and wrapped crown 'do's grab you. These are but a few of the many wonderful styles. Maintenance tips and some gadgets and accessories you might want to check out will be extremely helpful in guaranteeing you the best-looking hair possible.96 pages (all in color), 7 x 10.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Hardy loses the plait
Definitely not what I was expecting from a Thomas Hardy book. I found 'Jude the Obscure' challenging, but this is a new departure altogether. For dedicated fans only.

5-0 out of 5 stars accurate
The book is as it is described. Very helpful and illustrative with both the drawings and the photos.

3-0 out of 5 stars Just got it....not to sure
I just got the book last night Great Braids!!!So far just by flipping though it and reading a little bit of it I am not sure about it.I bought the book because my daughter has long hair that is hard to keep fixed for a full day of school.The pictures and diagrams are kind of confusing.I already know how to to the regular french braid but I wanted a little varation.This book does have that.I am just not sure she will be still long enough for me to do these styles for her.One thing I really like about this book though is that the front of the book teaches you to make a few hairbows.Overall the book seems to be what I was looking for.

3-0 out of 5 stars not the best book ever
if you're a beginner and you've never seen a french braid before, you MIGHT want to invest in this book. I didn't. I got it from the library. Had I bought it it would have been a total waste of money. The "open file system" is annoying, not useful, and you definately can't use it to do your own hair. Because of the open file system, I still don't understand how to do a "four strand braid", which was the ONLY braid I didn't already know how to do. ...

5-0 out of 5 stars Braids and more
I bought two braiding books at the same time (the other was Beautiful Braids, by Coen and Maxwell) and this is by far the better of the two. There are upside down and inside out braids, as well as herringbones, twists, and some updos.

The book seems to be written to beauty professionals though, since several of the styles are explained in terms of how to do it on someone else's hair, not your own. I'm having a hard time convincing my husband that braiding my hair is a good use of his time. I'm still glad I bought this book, since there are several ideas I hadn't thought of. ... Read more

39. Jude, The Obscure
by Thomas Hardy
Paperback: 250 Pages (2008-08-10)
list price: US$7.75 -- used & new: US$7.75
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Asin: 1438269927
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Jude the Obscure is the last of Thomas Hardy's novels. Controversial, the book was burnt publicly by the Bishop of Exeter. Its hero Jude Fawley is a lower-class young man who dreams of becoming a scholar. The two other main characters are his earthy wife, Arabella, and his cousin, Sue. Themes include class, scholarship, religion, marriage, and the modernisation of thought and society. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (109)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good job
What I ordered on time.However, books on Amazon should option cheaper USPS book rate shipping.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very depressing, yet very well written tragedy
This is the second Hardy novel that I have read.The first was Tess of the d'Urbervilles, which I enjoyed despite that fact that it was a tragedy.I found Jude the Obscure to be much darker and to the point that I didn't particularly enjoy it.I did relate to the character of Jude, and could understand his reaction to his situations.The reactions of Sue later in her life highlighted the danger of an incorrect understanding of the mercy of God, repentance and forgiveness of oneself.

Recommended for lovers of tragedy.If you want to be uplifted, don't read this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hey Jude
This is classic Thomas Hardy--a likeable hero allows himself to be ruined by the opposite sex and the hard realities of life written in very descriptive, poetic language of bygone years.Jude, the hero, is a very humane, decent sort of man who although poor, aspires to become educated and enter the priesthood.He is self-taught and disciplined and seems to be well on the way to achieving his goals at the college when he meets a crude pig farmer girl and becomes intimate with her.She tricks him into marriage and immediately they have major problems and part.Jude then sets out for college only to meet his cousin and erstwhile soul mate, Sue.Sue is quite a character, a bizarre mixture of feminist, scholar, teacher, flirt, rebel, and self-absorbed fool.She is on an emotional roller coaster and takes Jude with her.She toys with Jude's affection and that of an older school master, leading them both on although she is repulsed by physical contact.She marries the schoolmaster only to suddenly want Jude back and leaves her husband.She and Jude then begin an unmarried life together and produce children, as well as taking in Jude's son by his wife.Their life is full of problems and ends with a tragedy involving the children.Through it all Jude remains a likeable, moral character of sorts who tries to accept his lot in life and shoulder responsibility, only to be dashed down again and again.

I could not help to like Jude, as I also liked Tess in Hardy's other similar novel.Jude is hurt by his propensity for the wrong women as Tess was hurt by men of low morals.I found myself getting annoyed by his love for selfish Sue and hoping he would get away from her before it was too late.

This is a dark, despairing kind of novel, stark in its realism about human nature and the consequences of wrong choices and going against the norms of society.Yet, it is a good read and is highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hardy's Last Novel
Ah, the novel that made Thomas Hardy stop writing.When this novel was first published, it was so controversial it is said that the Bishop of Wakefield publicly burned it. I can definitely see why.This novel questions not only marriage and the laws of the time, but also religion, the class system, and society in general.Add suicide to that and you have yourself quite a book for 1895.Although shocking at times and still relevant today, it doesn't quite have the impact now that it did then.It would be too hard to give a brief summary without giving away some major plot points, so I won't even try.I will say that I'm not always fond of the classics that I've read, but I think this one is a really good book.The old writing style gets a little annoying at times, but the storyline makes up for it.This is a not a book for the faint of heart.It's sad, depressing, and tragic.If you're looking for something light and happy, don't choose this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars Obscure is an understatement
I very much enjoyed the beginning of the novel. However, toward the end, things became a little too dark. I'd been warned that it was Hardy's darkest, but was still unprepared for the plot twists.
Hardy's word choice, foreshadowing, and imagery were very entertaining, but the plot was unenjoyable towards the end. Character motivation also was rather abstract. I had to read this book for my Eng102H class, and if I had picked it out for pleasure reading, I would not have finished it. It was obscure to say the very least. ... Read more

40. The Best Known Books of Thomas Hardy (Four Books)
by Thomas Hardy
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-06-30)
list price: US$1.00
Asin: B002FL3TZU
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Four of Thomas Hardy's most well known works in one collection with an active table of contents.

Works include:
Far From the Madding Crowd
Jude the Obscure
The Return of the Native
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
... Read more

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