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The Woodlanders
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Archived Group Reads - 2017 > Woodlanders - Background and Resources

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message 1: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1859 comments Mod
All are welcome to post information on The Woodlanders or Thomas Hardy. We will begin reading the novel in mid-February.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments I've been looking for this, Renee. Is it a side read or buddy read? The very few Hardy I've read I have loved so I would like to manage this despite my truly overwhelming heap of ongoing reads. Well, quite honestly, most are in abeyance!


Dianne | 32 comments Hi Hilary, this is a group read! I will lead the discussion and post a reading schedule tomorrow. We will plan to read it over six weeks or so. So glad you are joining!


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments Oh fabulous, Dianne! After 'Far from the Madding Crowd' I was champing at the bit for another Hardy! Though I wanted it to be with a group and not just as a lone thing. So I'm excited if crazy


Dianne | 32 comments Nope the more the merrier! Who else is planning to join?


message 6: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1859 comments Mod
I'm in.


Natalie Tyler (doulton) | 186 comments I am here and eager to talk about the wonderful Thomas Hardy!


message 8: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Have already started. It's a re-read for me, but it's been awhile and I'm finding lots of wonderful stuff I didn't notice first time around.


Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments oh fabulous! sounds great.


message 10: by Lynne, In Memoriam (new)

Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) | 243 comments Mod
If Everyman is on board, strap yourself in! His comments are always read-worthy!


message 11: by Lynne, In Memoriam (new)

Lynne Pennington (bluemoonladylynne) | 243 comments Mod
I am getting the impression that there is pent-up demand for this group read!


Dianne | 32 comments Excellent!!! Yes I agree on the Everyman participation. I wonder how many books Everyman has read in his lifetime. Everyman??

This should be a great read, I have proposed it a few times and it has finally prevailed!


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Dianne wrote: "I wonder how many books Everyman has read in his lifetime. Everyman??."

Way too many, and not nearly enough.


Jonathan Moran | 191 comments I am in for this. I dropped Tess halfway through, but I like the first two chapters so far of this one.


Frances (francesab) | 282 comments I'm planning to join as well-am relatively new to Hardy, having read (and loved) several of his books with GR groups in the last couple of years and so I'm looking forward to this one.


Peter Ready to go.


LindaH | 499 comments I'm in.


Tracy (tracyrittmueller) | 54 comments I'm in!


Dianne | 32 comments Excellent! Thrilled to have you joining Jonathan, Frances, Peter, Linda and Tracy! Will be a great discussion :)


Janice (JG) I have been avoiding Hardy my whole life, and the reason is nicely summarized by Philip Larkin on Hardy's wiki page:

"What is the intensely maturing experience of which Hardy's modern man is most sensible? In my view it is suffering, or sadness, and extended consideration of the centrality of suffering in Hardy's work should be the first duty of the true critic for which the work is still waiting [. . .] Any approach to his work, as to any writer's work, must seek first of all to determine what element is peculiarly his, which imaginative note he strikes most plangently, and to deny that in this case it is the sometimes gentle, sometimes ironic, sometimes bitter but always passive apprehension of suffering is, I think, wrong-headed."

Suffering is not my favorite reading topic, at least, not anymore. However, trepidation aside, and reassured by several reviews that this novel is one of Hardy's jollier ones (relatively speaking), I have downloaded a copy to my Kindle and plan to join the group discussion.


message 21: by Renee, Moderator (last edited Feb 11, 2017 12:32PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1859 comments Mod
For anyone who enjoys an audiobook, I'm going to recommend Librivox, Version 2. It's read by Tadhg (catalog name), who is quite wonderful. I've listened to many things he has read. He has a wonderful accent that just pours into your ear like warm honey.

https://librivox.org/the-woodlanders-...

(Although, I use the Librivox app on my phone.)


Jonathan Moran | 191 comments Janice(JG) wrote: "Suffering is not my favorite reading topic, at least, not anymore. However, trepidation aside, ... I have downloaded a copy to my Kindle and plan to join the group discussion"

I suffered through half of Tess and then put it down. I still intend to finish it. I have read the first 11 chapters of The Woodlanders and I think it is as good or better than any other Victorian novel I have read.


Janice (JG) Jonathan wrote: "I suffered through half of Tess and then put it down. I still intend to finish it. I have read the first 11 chapters of The Woodlanders and I think it is as good or better than any other Victorian novel I have read. ..."

This is very good to know!


Ginny (burmisgal) | 193 comments I have decided to join this discussion. I have not read very much Hardy. I participated with this group's read of Under the Greenwood Tree, and found it a somewhat awkward read. I struggled with the colloquial language, and it felt a bit stilted. I'm giving Hardy another go, however, because we are traveling to the UK in June, and will visit his cottage as part of a 2 day literary tour we have signed up for. Certainly the landscape was, for me, the best part of Under the Greenwood Tree.


message 25: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Ginny wrote: "Certainly the landscape was, for me, the best part of Under the Greenwood Tree. ."

You'll get a lot more wonderful landscape in The Woodlanders. And when you get to the UK and to his birthplace, you can walk all around the area where both novels take place. There are plenty of online resources to visit Hardy Country, and several good books; if you can find a copy or get one from the library, one such is Thomas Hardy's England by John Fowles and Jo Draper.
Thomas Hardy's England by Jo Draper Thomas Hardy's England

Almost every page has period photographs, wrapped around with text about Hardy's Wessex region and the lives lived in it. It also has a list of the real names and the fictional names Hardy gave them, though it's not as complete as this on-line list:
http://www.dorsetshire.com/hardy/hard...

In order to bring this post around to the topic of The Woodlanders, I'll note that Mrs. Dollery's van was traveling "the seven or eight miles of ground between Hintock and Sherton Abbas."

Great Hintock was Minterne Magna, and Sherton Abbas was Sherborne. Little Hintock, where the early action takes place (no spoilers allowed!) was based on Hermitage. (Google Maps says the actual distance between Hintock and Sherton-Abbas is 9.1 miles, but the road might have more direct in Hardy's day, or Mrs. Dollery might just have estimated instead of calculating the distance.)


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