Under the Greenwood Tree

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Penguin, Feb 1, 1999 - Fiction - 288 pages
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Under the Greenwood Tree is Thomas Hardy's one and only rural idyll, a startling contrast to his other Wessex tales. In Mellstock, its surrounding farms and woodlands, the story interweaves the lingering courtship of Dick Dewy and sweet Fancy Day with the battle for survival of the old Mellstock String Choir – the last in the county – against the mechanical church organ of the new vicar, the Reverend Maybold.

Under the Greenwood Tree appears to be pastoral romance at its most sunlit and good humoured, and has been called the ‘most nearly flawless of Hardy's novels'. Yet, as Tim Dolin shows in his Introduction, there is a darker side to this paradise, seen particularly in the conflicts arising over anachronistic customs and rituals, and the ambiguities surrounding Fancy's forthcoming marriage. For Hardy, who drew out the associations with his own childhood in later revisions, the novel came to epitomize a past that had been forever lost to him and to England.

This new Penguin Classics edition, based on the two-volume first edition of 1872, includes Appendices which reflect the unique textual history of the novel.

Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Tim Dolin




 

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Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
GENERAL EDITORS PREFACE
HARDYS LIFE AND WORKS
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
INTRODUCTION
FURTHER READING
A NOTE ON THE HISTORY OF THE TEXT
PART IWinter
CHAPTER VIIIDick Meets His Father
PART IIISummer
CHAPTER IDriving out of Budmouth
CHAPTER IIFarther along the Road
CHAPTER IIIA Confession1
CHAPTER IVAn Arrangement
PART IVAutumn
CHAPTER IGoing Nutting1

CHAPTER IMellstocklane
CHAPTER IIThe Tranters1
CHAPTER IIIThe Assembled Choir1
CHAPTER IVGoing the Rounds1
CHAPTER VThe Listeners1
CHAPTER VIChristmas Morning1
CHAPTER VIIThe Tranters Party
CHAPTER VIIIThey Dance More Wildly
CHAPTER IXDick Calls at the School1
PART IISpring
CHAPTER IPassing by the School1
CHAPTER IIA Meeting of the Choir1
CHAPTER IIIA Turn in the Discussion
CHAPTER IVThe Interview with the Vicar
CHAPTER VReturning Homeward
CHAPTER VIYalbury Wood and the Keepers House
CHAPTER VIIDick Makes Himself Useful
CHAPTER IIHoneyTaking and Afterwards
CHAPTER IIIFancy in the Rain
CHAPTER IVThe Spell
CHAPTER VAfter Gaining Her Point1
CHAPTER VIInto Temptation1
CHAPTER VIIA Crisis1
PART VConclusion
CHAPTER IThe Knot Theres No Untying1
CHAPTER IIUnder the Greenwood Tree1
APPENDIX IHardys Prefaces to Later Editions
APPENDIX IIAn Overview of Topographical Changes in Under the Greenwood Tree
A Selection1
APPENDIX IVThe Stinsford Choir
NOTES
GLOSSARY
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840. In his writing, he immortalized the site of his birth—Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester. Delicate as a child, he was taught at home by his mother before he attended grammar school. At sixteen, Hardy was apprenticed to an architect, and for many years, architecture was his profession; in his spare time, he pursued his first and last literary love, poetry. Finally convinced that he could earn his living as an author, he retired from architecture, married, and devoted himself to writing. An extremely productive novelist, Hardy published an important book every year or two. In 1896, disturbed by the public outcry over the unconventional subjects of his two greatest novels—Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure—he announced that he was giving up fiction and afterward produced only poetry. In later years, he received many honors. He died on January 11, 1928, and was buried in Poet’s Corner, in Westminster Abbey. It was as a poet that he wished to be remembered, but today critics regard his novels as his most memorable contribution to English literature for their psychological insight, decisive delineation of character, and profound presentation of tragedy.

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