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The Mayor of Casterbridge
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The Mayor of Casterbridge

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  45,967 Ratings  ·  1,731 Reviews
"Backgrounds and Contexts" provides new and invaluable source material on Victorian Dorset and, in particular, Dorchester, Hardy's native home and the town upon whichCasterbridge is based. Included are six of Hardy's nonfiction writings, notably excerpts from his essay "The Dorsetshire Laboure" (1883), in which he frankly comments on the social changes he has witnessed in ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 12th 2000 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1886)
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Stephie Rogers I personally think that it lingers. It's well done and there are parts that will leave your jaw dropped - but it's taking me a long time to get…moreI personally think that it lingers. It's well done and there are parts that will leave your jaw dropped - but it's taking me a long time to get through. (less)

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karen
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is hardy's most perfectly-constructed novel. there are others that are more appealing, to me, (am i allowed to say that?), but this one is such a perfect cause-and-effect, every-action-has-a-reaction kind of book, that it should really be his most popular and successful, instead of tess, which by comparison, is pure melodrama.

mayor is full of the trappings of melodrama - convenient and inexplicable deaths, characters long out of the picture returning at the least opportune times, overheard
...more
Henry Avila
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Henchard an itinerant, young, annoyed farm worker, walking with quiet wife Susan, infant daughter Elizabeth -Jane, looking for employment, the time, the early 1830's, in southern England, after an exhausting journey they reach a country fair, in a small village, enter a crowded tent, with dubious humans, serving alcohol, he imbibes vigorously, (a weakness that will cause much trouble, and haunt him the rest of his life) soon inebriated, the highly distressed man, in a stupor, sells Susan ...more
Paul Bryant
Oct 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Ooof, finally finished this trudge trudge trudge of a book, and it isn’t even that long. Maybe I’m getting feeble but Thomas Hardy’s manytentacled sentences and trillion 19th century rural slang words presented a north-face-of-the-Eiger challenge for my little brain – strange words like clane, felloe, furmety, gaberlunzie, twanking, diment, rantipole and comminatory and many many more, and sentences like this (deep breath) :

As the lively and sparkling emotions of her early married life cohered i
...more
Elizabeth
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I give it five stars because it seems nearly a perfect example of its type of craft. This book has an intertwined and flawless plot that is never overcomplicated; it is full of wonderful language, rich with regional variation, for instance the tenor of Donald Farfrae's Scottish is exceptionally musical and not like the speech of his peers. There were moments reading this book I felt so much under the sway of the author's power that I could observe him wirte himself into one tight plot corner and ...more
Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'd heard Hardy was a bit of a chore, so instead of his chunky novels I went slender with The Mayor of Casterbridge as my first. I'm not sure it was a wise choice.

Not because I thought it was bad by any means. The writing's quite good, the story held my interest, but jeez louise, this is bleak stuff! It's bleaker than Bleak House! Are all this books like this? I'm not normally depressed, but I may have to put myself on suicide watch just to get through another one of his novels!

Seriously though
...more
Sue
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sue by: Read with Constant Reader Classic
It seems The Mayor of Casterbridge can end only in one direction as this Mayor is continually victimized by his own shortcomings. As the novel begins, we witness the famous selling of his wife while he is in a drunken stupor, not caring about anything or anyone else in the world. Years later, he has his chance to make changes, amends but his essential character prevents this. He sees evil and devils where there are none and increases small faults to large. He turns friends to enemies and enemies ...more
Helene Jeppesen
What a silly novel! Much of these unfortunate destinies could have been prevented if only the characters weren't so stupid and didn't make so many irrational and unbelievable decisions.
But what an entertaining story this is! It's got a shocking beginning and a lot of plot twists that I didn't see coming, I just wish that it didn't feel like Thomas Hardy was pushing the plot forward in an unnatural and quite unbelievable way.
I won't go too much into the plot and the characters' decisions which
...more
MJ Nicholls
When Thomas stopped writing novels in the early 1900s, he concentrated his bitterness on spectacularly peevish poetry, dripping with more melancholy self-loathing than mid-90s Morrissey albums (has anyone actually heard Maladjusted or Southpaw Grammar the whole way through?) These poems captivated my downbeat imagination as a teenager but the novels remained out of reach—I wanted heartbreak-to-go, I wasn’t looking to eat in the restaurant of shattered dreams. Now, I find myself pulled towards th ...more
Perry
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Happiness was but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain."

"Life is an oasis which is submerged in the swirling waves of sorrows and agonies."


Never have I found a couple of lines in a novel that so perfectly sum up the writer's oeuvre for me. To those, I'd add, "Gloom, despair and agony on me" from an old TV song.

This was my first Hardy novel, reading it last July. In the six-plus months since, I've made myself a Hardy punching bag: Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Return of the Native, a
...more
Jan-Maat
Perhaps I've been spoilt growing up by too many political sex scandals sinking careers in waves of laughter so I always felt that sale of the titular character's wife in order to buy Fermenty and even more the revelation of this secret later in the novel should have much more power and impact than they do. Instead I suppose it is not the tragedy of a stupid action but the tragedy of a more generally stupid hubris of the man who believes he can do what he wants and get away with it (including sel ...more
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Reading 1001: The Mayor of Casterbridge 1 4 Nov 23, 2017 10:38PM  
Works of Thomas H...: * The Mayor of Casterbridge 8 15 Oct 27, 2017 12:33PM  
  • The Last Chronicle of Barset (Chronicles of Barsetshire #6)
  • Born in Exile
  • Felix Holt: The Radical
  • Martin Chuzzlewit
  • Poor Miss Finch
  • The Absentee
  • Mary Barton
  • Miss Marjoribanks (Chronicles of Carlingford, #5)
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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
More about Thomas Hardy...
“Happiness was but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain.” 468 likes
“Some folks want their luck buttered.” 25 likes
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