Far from the Madding Crowd was Thomas Hardy’s fourth novel and was completed in 1874. It was originally serialized in Cornhill Magazine and was quickly published in a successful single volume.
Hardy described Wessex as “a merely realistic dream country” and so it is in Far from the Madding Crowd, where an idyllic view of the countryside is interrupted by the bitter reality of farming life. The novel is the first that Hardy sets in fictional Wessex; he quickly realised that setting novels there could be a money-earner that would subsidise his poetry-writing ambitions.
Gabriel Oak, the faithful man and aspiring farmer; Bathsheba Everdene, the young and independent lady farmer; William Boldwood, the lonely neighbour; and Sergeant Troy, the dashing military man, all lead intertwined lives which are full of love and loss.