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 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.
“Hardy’s world is a world that can never disappear.” —Margaret Drabble