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The Mayor of Casterbridge


The Mayor of Casterbridge


“For my part I don’t see why men who have got wives, and don’t want ’em, shouldn’t get rid of ’em as these gipsy fellows do their old horses...”  

Published in 1886, and highly controversial in its day because of its blunt look at the values of English society, Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge opens with a shocking scene: in a drunken rage, Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby daughter to a complete stranger – a passing sailor - for five guineas at a country fair.

Afterwards, he regrets his actions and tries to find them—but cannot.
He proceeds to the town of Casterbridge where he rises up to be mayor of the town.

Years later, when his wife Susan returns with his grown-up daughter, Elizabeth-Jane, what ensues is a tangled web of deceit, love and retribution.

A mixture of pigheadedness, and a personality prone to self-destructive pride and temper lead to his downfall and destruction.

The Mayor of Casterbridge is widely considered to be one of Thomas Hardy’s greatest novels. The story is rich with personal intrigue, sins, lies, love triangles, and cover-ups.

THOMAS HARDY (1840-1928) was an English poet and novelist. Author of Far From the Madding Crowd, Jude the Obscure, The Return of the Native, Satires of Circumstance, The Trumpet-Major, and Poems of the Past and the Present, he is considered one of the world’s most influential literary figures.


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