The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
(Penguin Classics)

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In Thomas Hardy’s masterpiece of a novel written in the 1880s...the destinies of the two main characters, the tragic Michael Henchard and the triumphant Donald Farfrae, essentially rested on the outcome of their trading in commodities.
-Canadian Business

Synopsis

With an essay by Robert Langbaum.

'Here - I am waiting to know about this offer of mine. The woman is no good to me. Who'll have her?'

In a fit of drunken anger, Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas at a country fair. Over the course of the following years, he manages to establish himself as a respected and prosperous pillar of the community of Casterbridge, but behind his success there always lurk the shameful secret of his past and a personality prone to self-destructive pride and temper.

The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.

 

About Thomas Hardy

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Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840. In his writing, he immortalized the site of his birth-Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester. Delicate as a child, he was taught at home by his mother before he attended grammar school. At sixteen, Hardy was apprenticed to an architect, and for many years, architecture was his profession; in his spare time, he pursued his first and last literary love, poetry. Finally convinced that he could earn his living as an author, he retired from architecture, married, and devoted himself to writing. An extremely productive novelist, Hardy published an important book every year or two. In 1896, disturbed by the public outcry over the unconventional subjects of his two greatest novels-Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure-he announced that he was giving up fiction and afterward produced only poetry. In later years, he received many honors. He died on January 11, 1928, and was buried in Poet's Corner, in Westminster Abbey. It was as a poet that he wished to be remembered, but today critics regard his novels as his most memorable contribution to English literature for their psychological insight, decisive delineation of character, and profound presentation of tragedy.
 
Published August 21, 2016 by Digireads.com. 319 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, History, Romance, Children's Books, Parenting & Relationships, Humor & Entertainment, Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Action & Adventure, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Mayor of Casterbridge
All: 4 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by John Sutherland on Jan 21 2009

Hardy's reworking of Oedipus Rex, set in the author's native Wessex in the 1840s. Michael Henchard, a drunken journeyman labourer...The novel is Hardy's most powerful study of will and character and the irresistibility of fate.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Kevin Holtsberry on May 21 2008

It is a story of unbridled emotions, rivalry, betrayal, and tragedy. It may not be a page turner in the traditional sense but it is a fascinating portrait of human weakness and emotions.

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Canadian Business

Above average
Reviewed by Larry MacDonald on Oct 30 2009

In Thomas Hardy’s masterpiece of a novel written in the 1880s...the destinies of the two main characters, the tragic Michael Henchard and the triumphant Donald Farfrae, essentially rested on the outcome of their trading in commodities.

Read Full Review of The Mayor of Casterbridge (Pe...

Helium

Above average
Reviewed by Raina Lorring on Aug 08 2011

In a period of rose-colored glasses, Thomas Hardy’s work features a realistic depiction of human suffering and torment. His work is also skilfully written in an easy to follow style.

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