Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Madding Crowd : Introduction
Madding Crowd : Plot Summary
Madding Crowd : Detailed Summary & Analysis
Madding Crowd : Themes
Madding Crowd : Quotes
Madding Crowd : Characters
Madding Crowd : Symbols
Madding Crowd : Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Thomas Hardy
Historical Context of Far From the Madding Crowd
Other Books Related to Far From the Madding Crowd
- Full Title: Far from the Madding Crowd
- When Written: 1874
- Where Written: London
- When Published: 1874, first serialized (anonymously) in the Cornhill Magazine and then in a volume edition.
- Literary Period: Victorian
- Genre: Novel
- Climax: Troy bursts in on Boldwood’s Christmas party to reclaim his wife for his own, and Boldwood shoots him.
- Antagonist: Sergeant Troy is beloved by his wife Bathsheba, and yet he is also the clearest antagonist—not only to her, but also to Fanny, Boldwood, and Gabriel, all of whom he hurts in various ways. One could also argue that Bathsheba is her own worst enemy, as it is her own actions (including marrying Troy) that lead to her unhappiness.
- Point of View: Hardy uses an omniscient third-person narrator, who moves throughout the various settings of the novel and even among points of view. The first part of the book hews closely to Gabriel’s perspective, for instance, but after he reaches Bathsheba’s farm, the text mostly stays close to Bathsheba’s own point of view to reveal her thoughts and emotions. The narrator, however, also moves between Bathsheba, Boldwood, Troy, and the “Greek chorus” of the farm hands at Warren’s Malt-house. The narrator also at times makes general pronouncements on the characters, women, and rural life as a whole.
Extra Credit for Far From the Madding Crowd
The Good Old Days Although Hardy’s wife died with the couple still estranged, Emma’s death led to a prolific output of poetry as he recalled happier times earlier in their courtship—something that didn’t exactly please Hardy’s next wife, Florence.
Hidden in verse It’s generally accepted that Hardy stopped writing novels and turned to poetry as a result of the controversies around his candid portrayal of sexual relationships and bleak view of human life in his novels. He believed that his ideas could be expounded upon unrestricted in verse.
Far From the Hungry Crowd? As Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games puts it; “Katniss Everdeen owes her last name to Bathsheba Everdene, the lead character in Far From the Madding Crowd. The two are very different, but both struggle with knowing their hearts.”