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Description : Hardy's works often evoke extreme reactions. His great novels are of such an exclusive class. Hardy was an acknowledged master at thoroughly involving the reader; his literary craftsmanship making the sympathetic reader as much a puppet of the novel as Hardy's characters are puppets of an indifferent or malevolent fate. Fortunately in a few of his novels the author treats the reader more kindly than his characters, as is the case in Far from the Madding Crowd, which concludes on a very positive note, with the pastoral wedding of Bathsheba Everdene, the heroine, and Gabriel Oak, the central male character. The title of this fascinating work is a line from English poet Thomas Gray's famous poem 'An Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard' (1751).
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