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About the book
  • Published: 1 September 2003
  • ISBN: 9780141439785
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $19.99

Mayor Of Casterbridge


Formats & editions


A haunting study of guilt and lost love in Penguin Classics, Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge is edited with an introduction and notes by Keith Wilson.
In a fit of drunken anger, Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas at a country fair. Over the course of the following years, he manages to establish himself as a respected and prosperous pillar of the community of Casterbridge, but behind his success there always lurk the shameful secret of his past and a personality prone to self-destructive pride and temper. Subtitled 'A Story of a Man of Character', Hardy's powerful and sympathetic study of the heroic but deeply flawed Henchard is also an intensely dramatic work, tragically played out against the vivid backdrop of a close-knit Dorsetshire town.
This edition includes an introduction, chronology of Hardy's life and works, the illustrations for the original serial issue, place names, maps, glossary, full explanatory notes as well as Hardy's prefaces to the 1895 and 1912 editions.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), born Higher Brockhampton, near Dorchester, originally trained as an architect before earning his living as a writer. Though he saw himself primarily as a poet, Hardy was the author of some of the late eighteenth century's major novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891), Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), and Jude the Obscure (1895). Amidst the controversy caused by Jude the Obscure, he turned to the poetry he had been writing all his life. In the next thirty years he published over nine hundred poems and his epic drama in verse, The Dynasts.
If you enjoyed The Mayor of Casterbridge, you might like George Eliot's Silas Marner, also available in Penguin Classics.
'The greatest tragic writer among the English novelists'
Virginia Woolf
'Visceral, passionate, anti-hypocrisy, anti-repression ... Hardy reaches into our wildest recesses'
Evening Standard

  • Pub date: 1 September 2003
  • ISBN: 9780141439785
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy was born on 2 June 1840. His father was a stonemason. He was brought up near Dorchester and trained as an architect. In 1868 his work took him to St Juliot's church in Cornwall where he met his wife-to-be, Emma. His first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, was rejected by publishers but Desperate Remedies was published in 1871 and this was rapidly followed by Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874). He also wrote many other novels, poems and short stories. Tess of the D'Urbervilles was published in 1891. His final novel was Jude the Obscure (1895). Hardy was awarded the Order of Merit in 1920 and the gold medal of the Royal Society of Literature in 1912. His wife died in 1912 and he later married his secretary. Thomas Hardy died 11 January 1928.

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