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The Mayor of Casterbridge

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Title: The Mayor of Casterbridge: the life and death of a man of character, etc.Publisher: British Library, Historical Print EditionsThe British ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of The Mayor of Casterbridge

Overall customer rating: 4.000
dancereader

Reality versus imagination

by dancereader on Apr 9, 2007

?The Mayor of Casterbridge? was Hardy?s tenth published novel and, as most critics say, his first masterpiece. Set in and around Casterbridge (Hardy?s name for Dorchester) the story of Michael Henchard is one of the most tragic that Hardy ever wrote. The novel follows the story of Michael Henchard, a hay trusser, who under the influence of alcohol sells his wife Susan and their daughter Elizabeth ?Jane to a sailor named Newson, for five guineas. Several years later, following the death of Newson, Susan arrives at Casterbridge with Elizabeth-Jane to seek her legal husband. Not knowing what to expect, Susan is astonished to find that Henchard is now the mayor of Casterbridge, and a very respectable person. After the sell of his wife and daughter Henchard took a twenty-one year vow not to drink. Thinking that he has been given a second chance to make things right, Henchard remarries Susan and because Elizabeth ?Jane believes that Newson is her father, Henchard adopts her as his own daughter. But the errors of his past cannot be so easily repaired and as no man can avoid his destiny, Henchard is forced to pay his dues although the price may seem too high. What many people don?t know is that Hardy was actually an architect and his novels apart from being amazing psychological analyses of the nineteenth century society, they also give us extremely valuable information regarding the way things looked back then. Another thing that you should keep in mind when reading this book is that it is actually inspired from reality. There are records that state that back in the sixteen hundreds, a man actually sold his wife at the fair in Stockport (a small town near Manchester) and although we do not know what happened after that, Hardy sure did a great job at filling the blanks!

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