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The Woodlanders

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  11,758 Ratings  ·  390 Reviews
In this classically simple tale of the disastrous impact of outside life on a secluded community in Dorset, now in a new edition, Hardy narrates the rivalry for the hand of Grace Melbury between a simple and loyal woodlander and an exotic and sophisticated outsider. Betrayal, adultery, disillusion, and moral compromise are all worked out in a setting evoked as both beautif ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 420 pages
Published February 5th 1998 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1887)
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Trudy Brasure Hardy only hints at sexual encounters. There is infidelity, but it is never described.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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César Lasso
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit
¡Qué bueno es este difunto escritor de otros tiempos! Su descripción de la naturaleza es minuciosa y desapasionada, acompañando los matices de la putrefacción de las hojas caídas durante el otoño y el invierno, y el despertar de la vida en la primavera. Una primavera con pájaros, pero esencialmente vegetal. Y los hombres y mujeres que viven en ella.

Al acabar este libro, me doy cuenta de todo lo que me falta por saber de literatura británica. Quítame la novela gótica y los poetas románticos, y mi
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Update--May 7, 2011: I took Hardy's The Woodlanders with me on a recent week-long camping trip to Yosemite National Park, and re-read it while there. It was truly wonderful to sit in some of the most idyllic natural locations in all of the world and read this most amazing novel. If anything, I got even more from the novel this second time through, and highly recommend The Woodlanders to fans of the fiction and poetry of Thomas Hardy.


I am continuing on with my summer of reading the written wor
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
“This phenomenal girl will be the light of my life while I am at Hintock; and the special beauty of the situation is that our attitude and relations to each other will be purely spiritual. Socially we can never be intimate. Anything like matrimonial intentions towards her, charming as she is, would be absurd. They would spoil the ethereal character of my regard. And, indeed, I have other aims on the practical side of my life.”

Oh dear, what a cad, and this is a Thomas Hardy novel, so it will sure
Jun 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Christopher
Another magnificent masterpiece by Thomas Hardy.

This is the story of 4 people who lived in Blackmoor Vale.

Grace Melbury falls in love with Giles Winterborne. However, his father George Melbury found that his daughter is more appropriate to be engaged instead to Edred Fitzpiers, a handsome and young doctor in Little Hintock. In the meantime, Edred falls in love with Felice Charmond. And then, their lives become inextricably intertwined.

The movie based on this classic book The Woodlanders (1997) d
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Apparently, this is Thomas Hardy's favorite of all the novels he wrote.

My order of Thomas Hardy favorites is:

MOST FAVORITE: Far From the Madding Crowd
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Return of the Native
The Woodlanders
Under the Greenwood Tree
Two in a Tower
A Pair of Blue Eyes
Mayor of Casterbridge
The Well-Beloved
LEAST FAVORITE: Jude the Obscure (way too tragic for me)

My 18-year-old son also loves Tess of the D'Urbervilles and took it to BYU with him in his suitcase, one of 3 novels he took with him to co
This is a very strong 4, closer to 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed reading this Hardy novel that I'd never even heard of until finding Katie Lumsden's YouTube channel, "Books and Things" (a link to her channel: Katie loves Victorian lit., and is so enthusiastic and passionate about it that I've caught the fever too. And I'm really grateful, because Vic lit is such a comfort read for me.

This was an unpredictable love story that I really enjoyed. Thomas Hardy
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gran-bretagna
Thomas Hardy è uno scrittore che non conoscevo, forse sottovalutato, in Italia soprattutto. Scrisse nell’età vittoriana e i suoi libri contengono aspre critiche alla società del suo tempo. Come questo romanzo, Nel bosco, che, narrando una storia d’amore (infelice) tra Grace Melbury, figlia di un commerciante di legname, e Giles Winterborne, un giovane che vive nel villaggio di Hintock, ai margini di una distesa di boschi cui seguono ampi campi coltivati a meli, inserisce all’interno di splendide ...more
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Primer libro que leo de Thomas Hardy y me ha gustado mucho, la verdad es que he ido posponiendo leerle por todas la referencias al pesimismo que rodean todas sus novelas y es cierto, y aun siendo esta una de sus menos pesimistas, realmente lo es, toda la novela destila pesimismo y aunque en ocasiones parece que haya alguna esperanza, el autor te las quita pronto... Lo que más me ha gustado son las descripciones del bosque, realmente impresionantes. Lo que menos, para mi gusto le falta algo más d ...more
Katie Lumsden
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant Hardy, with wonderful characters and a brilliant engaging plot - full of that poignancy I so love in Hardy. For the majority of the book, I was thinking this might be my new favourite Hardy. I might be, although I'm still undecided as I didn't adore the ending. Nonetheless, a real staple Hardy and a brilliant brilliant book.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Woodlanders is the latest read in my on-going Hardy challenge. Several friends and I have been reading (or re-reading in my case) all of Hardy’s fiction in chronological order. I’m not sure why this is only the second time I’ve read The Woodlanders, as I remember been mesmerised by it when I was eighteen. I can remember clearly where I was when I read it – and despite always meaning to, I never managed to get around to re-reading it in the intervening years. I am so glad I left it until now, ...more
Magrat Ajostiernos
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clásico, 2015

Todavía no tengo claro hasta qué punto me ha gustado este libro...
Por una parte he disfrutado muchísimo de la prosa de Hardy, de ese bosque omnipresente y del transfondo moral/social, pero por otro lado no he llegado a empatizar con ningún personaje ni implicarme verdaderamente en la trama...
Aún así, una lectura deliciosa.
Fernando Hernández
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
La obra que nos ocupa la escribió el autor en el período Victoriano tardío, concretamente en 1887. Aún siendo un libro Realista, también se verá influido por el Naturalismo francés y fundamentalmente por las teorías Darwinistas evolutivas.

El gusto de Hardy por el mundo rural hace que sitúe la obra en el lugar imaginario del condado de Wessex; similar a Dorset, donde nació y el pueblo Little Hintok: paraje rodeado de naturaleza donde la mayor parte de los habitantes vive de la madera.

Hay una deta
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nel bosco” è la prima opera di Thomas Hardy che leggo.
Pensavo di trovarmi di fronte ad un classicone di difficile comprensione, con un linguaggio artificioso ed arcaico e invece si è rivelato l’opposto. La scrittura l’ho trovata estremamente scorrevole e fluida, l’autore utilizza un linguaggio semplice ed immediato. Attraverso le parole, Hardy è riuscito a trasportarmi “nel bosco” grazie alle numerose descrizioni che si trovano all’interno del romanzo. Si è trattato di un romanzo che è riuscito
Aug 15, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: british lit fans
So I read this book because I love Hardy's work--Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, and Far from the Madding Crowd. The Woodlanders isn't as famous as these three.

It's interesting to read Hardy and D.H. Lawrence together. Both focus on themes of marital/sexual alienation, discovery, and rebellion, and have great sympathy for women. Both were also poets, and Hardy went so far as to shun novel-writing for poetry later in his life, believing many of his novels, because they were serializ
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-british
You can’t be lily-livered and read Thomas Hardy. You have to have grit. This is equally true of The Woodlanders, written by Hardy in 1887 as one in the series of his Wessex novels. The Woodlanders is a “Gatsby-esk” look at class distinctions; how the privileged class invariably and uncaringly run rough shod over the lower and middle class – in this case in mid-19th Century England. Fitzgerald’s book followed some 38 years later and dealt with the same issue on American soil.

Giles Winterborne (t
Moonlight Reader
As part of one of my Goodreads groups, I am doing a Hardy project this summer. The Woodlanders isn't the first Hardy I've read - in 2015, I read Far from the Madding Crowd and I read The Mayor of Casterbridge some time prior to 2011. As is my custom, I saved the scholarly introduction for my edition until after I read the book.

The Woodlanders is one of Hardy's later books, published in 1887, and is set in the woodland village of Little Hintock. It explores many of the usual Hardy themes: marriag
Rosaria Battiloro
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Da una parte gli esseri umani, chini sotto il giogo del destino, rinchiusi nelle scatole delle rigide convenzioni sociali dell'epoca, prigionieri delle proprie ambizioni e volubili passioni; dall'altra il bosco, antico e profondo, odoroso e scintillante di rugiada, che tutto vede e tutto nasconde, tutto tace e tutto sa.
Da una parte quelli che nel bosco vivono, e del suo eterno sussurrare conoscono tutti i segreti, dall'altra quelli che la voce del bosco cercano di ignorarla, perdendosi in un mo
May 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Every bit as lovely as I remembered it. My view of this as my favourite Hardy is only confirmed, even if my recent splurge of rapid reading slowed down dramatically as I was reading it. The first two thirds took a couple of days, the remainder has been spun over two weeks simply because of time pressures and because this is a book that demands not to be read superficially in small doses, but needs to wait for time to be allocated to it.

It's less melodramatic than some of Hardy's better-known no
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Le occhiate occasionali che la gente comune rivolgeva a quel meraviglioso mondo di linfa e di foglie chiamato bosco di Hintock, erano state invece per quei due, per Giles e Marty, un nitido e continuo sguardo. I misteri più profondi di quei boschi erano talmente radicati in loro da esser diventati come luoghi comuni; essi leggevano quei geroglifici come se fossero normale scrittura; per loro le immagini e i suoni della notte, dell'inverno, del vento, della tempesta, in mezzo a quei rami fitti ch ...more
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If it's a Thomas Hardy novel, it's a tragedy. *sad face*

I was first exposed to Hardy in high school, being assigned Jude the Obscure for AP English. Entering the Navy, I was determined to continue to read, read, read, both -brow high and low, and eventually made my way through Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Far from the Madding Crowd. The Woodlanders was never on my radar, though, and it wasn't until I went on a "free for Kindle" purchasing binge,
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
He tardado tanto en leer este libro que casi me da vergüenza darlo por terminado cuando he estado a punto de dejarlo on hold más de una vez. Y no precisamente porque no me estuviera gustando, sino porque es uno de esos libros que hay que leer con mucho tiempo libre en las manos y no es mi caso. La moraleja para la próxima vez es que a Thomas Hardy hay que leerle en vacaciones y de relax porque si no, la cosa no funciona.

El libro me ha gustado mucho y también me ha hecho enfadar mucho. Me explico
Marina Cavallo
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stupendo! Il primo romanzo che leggo di questo autore,e non mi ha affatto deluso! La trama non è intricata,ma propone 2 o 3 situazioni davvero "complicate" a livello emotivo. Spesso mi sono messa nei panni dei personaggi,chiedendomi come avrei reagito a certe scene direi quasi "assurdamente realistiche",frutto di coincidenze che in effetti possono sempre avverarsi anche nella vita di tutto i giorni. Il "sentire"dei personaggi è altrettanto realistico,e trova riscontro nella mia sensibilità come ...more
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
General Editor's Preface
Chronology: Hardy's Life and Works
Map: The Wessex of the Novels
Bibliographical Note
Further Reading
A Note on the History of the Text

--The Woodlanders

Appendix I: 1895 Preface; 1912 Postscript
Appendix II: The Location of 'The Woodlanders'
Appendix III: The Law, Marriage and Divorce in 'The Woodlanders'
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is like nothing else I have ever read. Characters, relationships, and landscape twist and turn, "branch" out in a new direction, send out new shoots of life. Much of it, for me, was laugh-out-loud funny. Much was mythical, with many references to Norse and Classical mythology. The prose changes constantly--lyrical and descriptive suddenly becomes stilted and awkward. The title is bang on. A village of people harvesting trees live in a different dimension, and outsiders disrupt the flow ...more
Renee M
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The things I loved about The Woodlanders are the things I love about reading Hardy: the beautiful description, the characters who are believably from country life, the persistent resonance of actions and choices.

But it's just so Hardy that I feel like the characters and storyline will blend, in my memory, into all the others. If it doesn't, I'll come back and add a star.
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a thing for Thomas Hardy. Maybe my husband should be worried.
Normally mothers have to take the blame for everything, but this novel is about a father and his love for his daughter. It compels him to give her a good education at a finishing school: when the girl returns to her hometown there is nowhere for her to show her accomplishments or use her skills. It also makes her grow apart from her childhood sweetheart, the man her dad would like her to marry. This is the paradox at the heart o
La Stamberga dei Lettori
L'ho detto e lo ripeto: Thomas Hardy meriterebbe una fama maggiore nel nostro paese, dove in pochi lo conoscono e, fra questi pochi, un esiguo numero ha letto qualcosa di diverso da Tess. Per questo apprezzo particolarmente la decisione della casa editrice Fazi di riportare in libreria Nel bosco, una delle opere meno conosciute, in una nuova moderna edizione la cui copertina è particolarmente adatta a rappresentare l'atmosfera bucolica che è parte integrante del romanzo.

Pur facendo parte dei ro
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Throughout this novel I was taken by the way Hardy visualises scenes either through subjective viewpoints, showing us what specific characters see, or choose to see, or from the eye of the omniscient observer, the author. Some of my favorite novelists - Graham Greene is another example - excel in the art of sequencing, chosing the most telling scene to establish theme, character and setting and advance plot. Hardy displays a similar knack here, with each episode bearing its own strength and unit ...more
Elena T.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“The Woodlanders” 1887.
La dignitosa vita contadina si contrappone alla superficialmente solida esistenza dell’aristocrazia di campagna, diffidenti l’una dall’altra, un limite inviolabile che osserviamo dal margine del bosco.

Da esso percepiamo gli amori contrastati, i tradimenti, i desideri repressi; un piccolo villaggio rurale e la giovane Grace, protagonista di un ciclo di quotidianità del quale fanno parte anche altri brillanti personaggi, il buon Giles Winterborne, la dolce Marty South, l'in
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jo, que historia tan triste... Se nota que Hardy era un ilustrado, porque su obra rezuma de inteligencia, buen hacer y muchas alusiones a la literatura y la religión.
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Thomas Hardy, OM, was an English author of the naturalist movement, although in several poems he displays elements of the previous romantic and enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain. The bulk of his work, set mainly in the semi-fictional land of Wessex, delineates cha ...more
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“He Looked and smelt like Autumn's very brother, his face being sunburnt to wheat-colour, his eyes blue as corn-flowers, his sleeves and leggings dyed with fruit-stains, his hands clammy with the sweet juice of apples, his hat sprinkled with pips, and everywhere about him the sweet atmosphere of cider which at its first return each season has such an indescribable fascination for those who have been born and bred among the orchards.” 18 likes
“...Nameless, unknown to me as you were, I couldn't forget your voice!'
'For how long?'
'O - ever so long. Days and days.'
'Days and days! Only days and days? O, the heart of a man! Days and days!'
'But, my dear madam, I had not known you more than a day or two. It was not a full-blown love - it was the merest bud - red, fresh, vivid, but small. It was a colossal passion in embryo. It never returned.”
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