HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. Here is one of Thomas Hardy’s most popular novels, soon to be released as a major motion picture in May 2015. ‘I shall do one thing in this life – one thing certain – that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die’ Independent and spirited, Bathsheba Everdene owns the hearts of three men. Striving to win her love in different ways, their relationships with Bathsheba complicate her life in bucolic Wessex – and cast shadows over their own. With the morals and expectations of rural society weighing heavily upon her, Bathsheba experiences the torture of unrequited love and betrayal, and discovers how random acts of chance and tragedy can dramatically alter life’s course. The first of Hardy’s novels to become a major literary success, Far from the Madding Crowd explores what it means to live and to love.
Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in Dorchester, Dorset. He enrolled as a student in King’s College, London, but never felt at ease there, seeing himself as socially inferior. This preoccupation with society, particularly the declining rural society, featured heavily in Hardy’s novels, with many of his stories set in the fictional county of Wessex. Since his death in 1928, Hardy has been recognised as a significant poet, influencing The Movement poets in the 1950s and 1960s.