Thomas Hardy’s first literary success
Far from the Madding Crowd was written by Thomas Hardy in 1874. It was his fourth novel and the first one to see major literary success. The story was first published anonymously as a monthly serial in Cornhill Magazine.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) considered himself a poet first and foremost but most remember him as a novelist who not only authored Far from the Madding Crowd but also The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895).
Far from the Madding Crowd was extensively revised by the author for an edition published in 1895. More revisions were made for the 1901 edition. In recent years it was number 48 on the BBC’s survey, The Big Read (2003). It also garnered the number 10 slot on The Guardian‘s list of the greatest love stories of all time in 2007.
Well received on the big screen
Far from the Maddening Crowd been made into a movie several times beginning in 1915. The 1967 remake earned Best Film and Best Actor (Peter Finch) awards from the National Board of Review (1967). It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Music Score (1968) as well as other nominations for cinematography and costumes. (IMDb) Other interpretations of the book appeared on the big screen in 1998 and 2015.
Far from the Madding Crowd is a classic Victorian romance. Some think that as good as the book is, its cinematic interpretations, particularly the 1967 version starring Julie Christie and Peter Finch, may surpass the book.
Fox Searchlight provides a good synopsis. “The story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene, who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy, a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.”
Curious? Read the book online through Project Gutenberg. You can watch the 1967 and the 2015 versions on Amazon Prime: