Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 and wrote both poetry and novels, including The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. He died in 1928. Rosemarie Morgan teaches in the English department at Yale University. Shannon Russell holds a post doctoral Fellowship specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature at Oxford.
Far from the Madding Crowd is the first of Thomas Hardy s great novels, and the first to sound the tragic note for which his fiction is best remembered. -Margaret Drabble