Hardy's rep as a writer is one who plumbs the depths—and what he finds beneath the surface is often pretty grim. Not so with Madding Crowd, an earlier novel and joyful celebration of England's pastoral life....Hardy celebrates the rustic simplicity of country life, its innocence and natural beauty. Though somewhat over-idealized, that innocence provides much of the comic relief in Madding Crowd. But, as in Hardy's other works, innocence can prove fatal....
A LitLovers LitPick (Jan '08)
Hardy's genius was unceratin in development, uneven in accomplishment, but, when the moment came, magnificent in achievement. The moment came, completely and fully, in Far From the Maddening Crowd. The subject was right; the poet and the countryman, the sensual man, the somber reflective man, the man of learning, all inlisted to produce a book which, however fashions may chop and change, must hold its place among the great English novels.
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