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Far From the Madding Crowd (1874) is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel and his first major literary success. It originally appeared anonymously as a monthly serial in Cornhill Magazine, where it gained a wide readership. Critical notices were plentiful and mostly positive. Hardy revised the text extensively for the 1895 edition, and made further changes for the 1901 edition. The novel is included in the Calgary Corpus, a collection of text, image and other data files commonly used for comparison of data compression algorithms.
Far From the Madding Crowd offers in ample measure the details of English rural life that Hardy so relished. Hardy took the title from Thomas Gray's poem Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751).
Hardy's growing taste for tragedy is also evident in the novel. The book might also be described as an early piece of feminist literature, since it features an independent woman with the courage to defy convention by running a farm herself. In Far From the Madding Crowd Hardy explores the proper basis for a happy marriage. Hardy first employed the term "Wessex" in Far From the Madding Crowd to describe the "partly real, partly dream-country" that unifies his novels of Southwest England.
- Tribeca Press, December 2013
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