Edited and with an introduction and notes by Patricia Ingham.
‘Tis a pity to let such a girl throw herself away upon him – a thousand pities!’
When country-girl, Grace Melbury, returns home from her middle-class school, she feels she is now above her suitor, the simple woodsman Giles Winterborne. Though marriage has been discussed between her and Giles, Grace soon finds herself captivated by Dr Edred Fitzpiers, a sophisticated newcomer to the area – a relationship that is encouraged by her socially ambitious father. Hardy’s novel of betrayal, disillusionment and moral compromise depicts a secluded community coming to terms with the disastrous impact of outside influences. And in his portrayal of Giles Winterborne, Hardy shows a man who responds deeply to the forces of the natual world, which, ultimately, betray him.
In her introduction Patricia Ingham examines class and gender differences, the influence of Darwinism, Hardy’s use of language and the symbolism of nature in the novel. This edition also includes a chronology, a map of Hardy’s Wessex, a list for further reading, appendices and a glossary.
About the Author
Thomas Hardy was born in a cottage in Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester, on 2 June 1840. He was educated locally and at sixteen was articled to a Dorchester architect, John Hicks. In 1862 he moved to London and found employment with another architect, Arthur Blomfield. He now began to write poetry and published an essay. By 1867 he had returned to Dorset to work as Hicks's assistant and began his first (unpublished) novel, The Poor Man and the Lady.
On an architectural visit to St Juliot in Cornwall in 1870 he met his first wife, Emma Gifford. Before their marriage in 1874 he had published four novels and was earning his living as a writer. More novels followed and in 1878 the Hardys moved from Dorset to the London literary scene. But in 1885, after building his house at Max Gate near Dorchester, Hardy again returned to Dorset. He then produced most of his major novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891), The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (1892) and Jude the Obscure (1895). Amidst the controversy caused by Jude the Obscure, he turned to the poetry he had been writing all his life. In the next thirty years he published over nine hundred poems and his epic drama in verse, The Dynasts.
After a long and bitter estrangement, Emma Hardy died at Max Gate in 1912. Paradoxically, the event triggered some of Hardy's finest love poetry. In 1914, however, he married Florence Dugdale, a close friend for several years. In 1910 he had been awarded the Order of Merit and was recognized, even revered, as the major literary figure of the time. He died on 11 January 1928. His ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey and his heart at Stinsford in Dorset.
The finest English novel. Arnold Bennett"
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 464
Published: 5th February 1998
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.5 x 12.8 x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.32
Edition Number: 1