The Mayor of Casterbridge

The Mayor of Casterbridge


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Mayor of Casterbridge 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As soon as I saw the movie was an adeptation of Thomas Hardy's book "The Mayor of Casterbridge" I put a tape in my VCR and watched it and taped it at the same time because after having read so many of Thomas Hardy's books I knew it would be great. I've watched it again and again and invited my daughter to watch it. He was an exceptional writer for that period and I enjoy his books and I wish that they would do more of his work. I may have seen "Tess" a few years ago. I wish it would come out again. Maybe "The Movie Channel" will do it if its doable. Great movie and great books! "The Claim"
mermind on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second novel of Hardy's I have read this year. It is not as romantic as Far from the Madding Crowd, but it was an enjoyable read. Hardy has a reputation as somber, but although this is a novel of tragedy, a great man overcome by his own flaws, particularly pride, it was an exhilarating read. I loved Hardy as a poet before I appreciated his novels. His signature use of language combines the romantic, Victorian and modern in a way that is surprising and engaging. He has a sense of humor. His characters are types, but complex types, with contradictions that create a winding plot. The plot is not surprising. I would have to use the word "adumbration" multiple times in detailing the story's development. The romantic use of the fictional Wessex with its Roman ruins and its remnants of Druidic traditions holds huge appeal for me. The scale of the novel is not epic, it is intimate and compassionate.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the nearest I've read to a page-turner by Hardy. It's a highly dramatic situation *POSSIBLE SPOILER* (man sells wife, basically), and Hardy cleverly turns the situation around a few times, pulling the rug out from under the reader. Incidentally, there's a paragraph in this book containing the names of not one but two characters from Harry Potter. Spooky!
supersam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
all about the importance of your name. very true in todays world.
janoorani24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Michael Henchard¿s life in rural England at the start of the 19th century. Casterbridge was Hardy¿s ninth novel, and shows the maturity of a seasoned novelist. Hardy trained to be an architect, and became a novelist gradually through self-education; he didn¿t become published until he was in his 30s.Casterbridge opens with a scene at an agricultural fair where Michael Henchard, his wife, Susan and baby daughter have stopped to rest while on a journey to find work. Henchard is a farm laborer and the family is very poor. In a fit of impulsive anger and drunkenness, Henchard sells his wife to a passing sailor. Wife-selling was a method among the poor of getting a divorce in rural England, but had become very uncommon by the early 19th century, and had actually been declared illegal as a means of divorce in the 18th century. Henchard¿s wife was uneducated and so believed that the sale was binding. When Henchard came to his senses the next day, he tried unsuccessfully to find the sailor and his wife. By Chapter Three, about 18 years have passed and Henchard is a successful corn merchant and Mayor of the town of Casterbridge. Susan and her daughter, Elizabeth-Jane are destitute; the sailor being thought lost at sea, and come to Casterbridge to seek out Henchard. Michael Henchard is a passionate, impulsive man. He loves intensely, but is quick to anger, and this leads to many problems in his life. Early on in the story, he develops strong and instant liking for a younger man, Farfrae, and hires him to be the manager of his business. Unfortunately this means the manager he had hired by letter, and who arrives a day later is turned aside, which has serious consequences later in the story. This is the same day that he discovers Susan and Elizabeth-Jane have come to Casterbridge to find him. Henchard stages a marriage with Susan so the townsfolk won¿t know that she is actually his wife, and to protect Susan and Elizabeth-Jane¿s reputations. Again, this leads to the unfortunate recanting of another marriage proposal Henchard had made to a woman on the isle of Jersey whom he had compromised in an affair before the return of Susan. This woman, Lucetta, arrives in Casterbridge after Susan¿s death and falls in love with Farfrae, who had been paying court to Elizabeth-Jane. Subsequent tragedy ensues for all concerned.Henchard¿s passions and impulsive anger lead him to make many mistakes, both in his business dealings and his personal affairs. All of these mistakes bring him low in life, and he loses his business, his house and all those he loved. Hardy¿s telling of the story is beautifully done, with great poetry of language and use of scenic descriptions. He uses a lot of allusions to classical characters, and historic events that went over my head, but probably made sense to readers of his time. The edition I read was an Everyman¿s Library edition, and contained no footnotes to help with these obscure references and with the language of the time. I read an annotated edition of Far From the Madding Crowd a couple of years ago, and wish I had had the same type of edition for this book. Even so, I greatly enjoyed the book and give it four stars.
charlie68 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Generally a good read, I love short chapters, I'm not a big fan of this edition however. I find notes irritating, even if they provide useful information, and terrible if they dont. But they novel itself flows along quite easily and the reader never feels tired.
gbill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Largely forgettable.Except these quotes:On thinking deep thoughts in the middle of the night:¿The latter sat up with her mother to the utmost of her strength, night after night. To learn to take the universe seriously there is no quicker way than to watch ¿ to be a `waker,¿ as the country people call it. Between the hours at which the last toss-pot went by and the first sparrow shook himself the silence in Casterbridge ¿ barring the rare sound of the watchman ¿ was broken in Elizabeth¿s ear only by the time piece in the bedroom ticking frantically against the clock on the stairs; ticking harder and harder till it seemed to clang like a gong; and all this while the subtle-souled girl asking herself why she was born, why sitting in a room, and blinking at the candle; why things around her had taken the shape they wore in preference to every other possible shape; why they stared at her so helplessly, as if waiting for the touch of some wand that should release them from terrestrial constraint; what that chaos called consciousness, which spun in her at this moment like a top, tended to, and began in. Her eyes fell together; she was awake, yet she was asleep.¿On purity:¿So much for man¿s rivalry, he thought. Death was to have the oyster, and Farfrae and himself the shells. But about Elizabeth-Jane: in the midst of his gloom she seemed to him as a pin-point of light. He had liked the look of her face as she answered him from the stairs. There had been affection in it, and above all things what he desired now was affection from anything that was good and pure. She was not his own; yet for the first time he had a faint dream that he might get to like her as his own ¿ if she would only continue to love him.¿
dalmatica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A young man, his wife, and their baby daughter stop in at a country fair after travelling through the English countryside searching for work. In a fit of alcoholic rage, the man sells auctions off his wife and daughter to a sailor passing through for a few coins. When he sobers up the next day and realizes what he's done, he searches the nearby towns trying to find them and undo his actions. He fails to find them and vows to give up alcohol. Years later, he's become a succesful businessman and mayor of Casterbridge. When his wife and grown daughter suddenly reappear, his life takes an unexpected turn. Success turns to failure, lives intertwine not always for the better, and everything he's worked so hard for look as though it will crumble before his eyes.Hardy masterfully weaves a fantastic tale filled with the consequences of secrets and lies, the excesses of alcohol, and the power of love and redemption. I had tried to read this a few years ago but wasn't in the right frame of mind. This time around, however, I was hooked from the opening scene. I found The Mayor of Casterbridge to be a powerful story that had me eagerly looking forward to each spare moment I could spend reading a few pages or even a paragraph of two. I highly recommend picking up a copy and reading it yourself.
markfinl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thomas Hardy is the anti-Jane Austen. Where her novels end in marriage, his novels usually end gloomily. The Mayor of Casterbridge is no exception. It reminds me of a Greek drama, where the main character is doomed from the start because of hubris. The locals of Casterbridge function as a Greek chorus as well, commenting on the action of the main players. I didn't find this quite as affecting as his other works because there are just too many plot contrivances. Characters appear and disappear, are dead then alive. For a novel so grounded in the realities of early 19th Century English rural life, the plot twists felt out of place.
MsNikki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book. Hardy is a master at capturing emotion, and doesn't shy away from showing complex human behaviours. This story got me all riled up. I had favourite characters, I hated the things that happened to some of them, I felt involved in the story.I do think Hardy was more sympathetic to his male characters. The women in this novel were treated poorly, and generally not well thought of. They met the worst fate, surprising since the protagonist was the real villain.
fingerpost on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a prologue like first chapter, a drunken Michael Henchard sells his wife and daughter to the highest bidder, and the woman and girl go off with a traveling sailor. The rest of the book takes place many years later. Henchard has managed to rise to be a wealthy and prominent citizen of Casterbridge, and is the Mayor. Then his long gone wife and daughter return unexpectedly. Also involved are a briliant and charming young Scotsman and a woman from a nearby town that Henchard took advantage of for his pleasure. The story is sad on many levels, with all characters getting their turn to share in the misery.
technobrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How could you not get involved with a novel that begins with a man in a drunken stupor selling his wife at a fair?
reading_fox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of Hardy's more famous books, detailing the rise and fall of one Michael Henchard, and various persons related to him. The story starts in the 1800s with Michael and his young wife and child entering the fair at Wheldon-Priors just outside Castorbridge (real life Dorchester). Michael is a journeyman hay trusser looking for work. He is quick tempered, bold, loud voiced and of rash but sudden judgement who bears a grudge long - an unsubtle man. The book is subtitled "The story of a man of Character".The story then jumps 19 yrs until Michael is inexplicably Mayor of Castorbridge. No reasons are given for how this came to be. However it is clear that his rash judgement has recently involved him in a purchase of bad wheat, causing much resentment. A passing Scotsman, one Donald Farfrae has another inexplicable cure for this, and Michael persuedes him to stay on as his business manager. Donald is everything that Michael is not, cool headed, quietly spoken, prepared to take advice and consider positions carefully. Although the story focuses on Michael it is no surprise that in all respects Donald, without meaning to, surpasses him in every way - each time it is carefully pointed out the faults of Michael's character that allow this to happen. The ending is not entirely unexpected, but tragically sad nethertheless. Michael's 'Will' being one of the more often quoted pieces of Hardy's work. The other chief character is that of the young daughter from the opening chapter Elizabeth Jane. Timid and meek, as is perhaps true of most well bred girls at that time, she plays little part other than to be a source of affection for the various men thourghout the book. The story is told in a dense prose that is however clearly intelligible. My edition had some 300 odd notes on the meanings of more obscure words that Hardy picks - many of which have fallen out of use as agricultural practise has changed. The meaning of many is obvious from context but the notes are sometimes helpful. Well written, if a little slow at times. Hardy took some liberties with the geography but is more or less based on the actual countryside and similar events of 18c England.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thomas Hardy was a great writer if for no other reason than his ability to show people at their best and worst in a manner that can make one cringe qt what people will do or say not only by their lips, but in their hearts. Great Book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was such a great book. And he is such a great writer. I really like the description. I loved it. It is wonderfully done.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bad Scan Like so many of the free books available for the Nook, this book is very poorly scanned. Pagination and printing is off. I love Thomas Hardy ¿ but this is not the way to read him. It is not worth the trouble, and I am deleting it. I guess you really do get what you pay for¿
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
with many typo's and odd characters randomly appearing within text. You get what you pay for. I'm going to delete this version and pay for one I hope has been typed more carefully.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I choose to read this book for an English project and was grateful I did. The author has your attention from the first 5 pages when the main character gets drunk and sells his wife at a fair.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thomas Hardy completely came out of nowhere and shocked me with this novel. It had been on my shelf for about half a year and this summer I read it. It only took about 4 days, and it was absolutely breathtaking. The contrast between the major characters, and the descriptions of the panoramic views were the perfect 1, 2 combo.