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Set in rural Victorian England, Far from the Madding Crowd describes the life and relationships of a woman Farmer, Bathsheba Everdene. First with the faithful shepherd Gabriel Oak, then her lonely neighbor William Boldwood, and finally, the prodigal soldier Sergeant Frank Troy. Set in Thomas’s imaginary county of Wessex, it deals with themes of love, honor, and betrayal, against a backdrop of the idyllic, though the idyllic was often harsh in a farming community in Victorian England. Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy’s fourth published novel and his first major literary success. Published in 1874, he revised it extensively in 1895 (as the original appeared as a monthly serial in Cornhill Magazine, and he felt it needed altering to make it smoother and more of a continuous novel). In 1901 he revised it again. This recording is of the first 1895 revision. The novel has often been adapted for stage and screen, the most notable being the 1967 Oscar-nominated film directed by John Schlesinger. It is widely regarded as one of the most powerful romance novels of all time.