The Woodlanders (Collins Classics)

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9780007558025: The Woodlanders (Collins Classics)

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Grace Melbury, the only daughter of a timber-merchant, arrives home in Little Hintock after an expensive education and her father looks to find a husband for her. There are two rivals for her hand: Giles Winterborne, a good-hearted yeoman and her childhood sweetheart, and Edred Fitzpiers, an ambitious young doctor of good family. Fitzpiers wins her, but the mismatch brings unhappiness not just to the young couple, but to a wider circle in the woodland community.

‘The Woodlanders’ is one of Hardy’s most powerful works and the one he liked best. With brooding sexual undertones, it addresses themes about which the author held strong views – the laws of divorce, the inequalities of society, and the uncertainty of land tenure.

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Review:

‘The least appreciated “major" Hardy novel … Hardy himself thought it his best story.’ The Independent

‘On taking up ‘The Woodlanders’ and reading it after many years, I like it as a story best of all.’ Thomas Hardy

About the Author:

Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in Dorchester, Dorset. He enrolled as a student in King’s College, London, but never felt at ease there, seeing himself as socially inferior. This preoccupation with society, particularly the declining rural society, featured heavily in Hardy’s novels, with many of his stories set in the fictional county of Wessex. Since his death in 1928, Hardy has been recognised as a significant poet, influencing The Movement poets in the 1950s and 1960s.

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