From its spectacular opening-the astonishing scene in which drunken Michael Henchard sells his wife and daughter to a passing sailor at a county fair-to the breathtaking series of discoveries at its conclusion, "The Mayor of Casterbridge "claims a unique place among Thomas Hardy's finest and most powerful novels.
Rooted in an actual case of wife-selling in early nineteenth-century England, the story build into an awesome Sophoclean drama of guilt and revenge, in which the strong, willful Henchard rises to a position of wealth and power-only to suffer a most bitter downfall. Proud, obsessed, ultimately committed to his own destruction, Henchard is, as Albert Guerard has said, "Hardy's Lord Jim...his only tragic hero and one of the greatest tragic heroes in all fiction.
About the Author
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was born in Dorset, England, son of a stonemason. Though a gifted student, he was unable to afford to attend university. He was apprenticed to an architect at age sixteen and worked in London for several years before returning to Dorset and dedicating himself to writing novels and poems.
“Hardy’s world is a world that can never disappear.” —Margaret Drabble