Authors & Events
Nov 08, 2016
| ISBN 9780345804013
May 14, 2002
| ISBN 9780375760068
Mar 01, 1981
| ISBN 9780553210248
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May 25, 1993
| ISBN 9780679420354
Nov 29, 2005
| ISBN 9780553902136
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Nov 08, 2016 | ISBN 9780345804013
May 14, 2002 | ISBN 9780375760068
Mar 01, 1981 | ISBN 9780553210248
May 25, 1993 | ISBN 9780679420354
Nov 29, 2005 | ISBN 9780553902136
The Mayor of Casterbridge, one of Thomas Hardy’s most powerful novels, opens with a scene of shocking heartlessness. In a fit of drunken rage, Michael Henchard, an out-of-work laborer, sells his wife and baby daughter to a passing sailor. When the horror of what he has done dawns on him the next day, he determines to set his life on a different path, and through years of hard work and ambition rises to become the rich and respectable mayor of his town. Secret guilt continues to haunt this proud and brooding man, however, and when his wife and grown daughter return to Casterbridge, Henchard is set on the path to a dramatic confrontation with his own deeply flawed nature. Hardy’s keen insight into the course of wayward lives and his instinctive feel for the beauty of the rural landscape come together in this unforgettable portrait of a tragic hero.
One of Hardy’s most powerful novels, The Mayor of Casterbridge opens with a shocking and haunting scene: In a drunken rage, Michael Henchard sells his wife and daughter to a visiting sailor at a local fair. When they return to Casterbridge some nineteen years later, Henchard—having gained power and success as the mayor—finds he cannot erase the past or the guilt that consumes him. The Mayor of Casterbridge is a rich, psychological novel about a man whose own flaws combine with fate to cause his ruin. This Modern Library Paperback Classic reprints the authoritative 1912 Wessex edition, as well as Hardy’s map of Wessex.
From its spectacular opening–the astonishing scene in which drunken Michael Henchard sells his wife and daughter to a passing sailor at a county fair–to the breathtaking series of discoveries at its conclusion, The Mayor of Casterbridge claims a unique place among Thomas Hardy’s finest and most powerful novels.Rooted in an actual case of wife-selling in early nineteenth-century England, the story build into an awesome Sophoclean drama of guilt and revenge, in which the strong, willful Henchard rises to a position of wealth and power–only to suffer a most bitter downfall. Proud, obsessed, ultimately committed to his own destruction, Henchard is, as Albert Guerard has said, “Hardy’s Lord Jim…his only tragic hero and one of the greatest tragic heroes in all fiction.
The Mayor of Casterbridge is a man haunted by his past. In his youth he betrayed his wife and baby daughter in a shocking incident that led him to swear never to touch alcohol again for twenty-one years. He has since risen from his humble origins to become a respected pillar of the community in Casterbridge, but his secrets cannot stay hidden forever.Thomas Hardy’s almost supernatural insight into the course of wayward lives, his instinctive feeling for the beauty of the rural landscape, and his power to invest that landscape with moral significance all came together in an utterly fluent way in The Mayor of Casterbridge. A classically shaped story about the rise and fall of the brooding and sometimes brutal Michael Henchard in the harsh world of nineteenth-century rural England, The Mayor of Casterbridge is an emblematic product of Hardy’s maturity–vigorous, forceful, and unclouded by illusions.
Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840. In his writing, he immortalized the site of his birth—Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester, England. Delicate as a child, he was taught at home by his mother before he attended grammar school…. More about Thomas Hardy
“Hardy’s world is a world that can never disappear.” —Margaret Drabble
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