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This is a very strong 4, closer to 4.5 stars I really enjoyed reading this Hardy novel that I d never even heard of until finding Katie Lumsden s YouTube channel, Books and Things a link to her channel Katie loves Victorian lit., and is so enthusiastic and passionate about it that I ve caught the fever too And I m really grateful, because Vic lit is such a comfort read for me.This was an unpredictable love story that I really enjoyed Thomas Hardy writes so beautifully, and if you love the natural world as I do, you owe it to yourself to pick up one of his books Grace is a fascinating heroine who sometimes behaved in ways I didn t expect No way I could have predicted the ending It s a character driven story in which a lot happens And the characters all have enough depth that they are enough to drive the story This isn t something I often find with modern fiction Often, character driven stories are boring as hell because nothing really happens It isn t enough to be inside someone s head They have to have thoughts We need to be exploring themes, themes that are relevant to us all, that make us human Hardy does this, and does it beautifully All of the main characters showed lots of growth in the story, and made it a joy to read and listen to The narration by Samuel West was excellent and deserves six stars I really enjoyed this book and I really want to thank Katie for her enthusiasm for Austen, Dickens, Hardy, Gaskell, the Brontes, and others I want to follow in her footsteps and read every novel these people have produced The big bonus is there is so much here to spend time examining and analyzing once you know the story Will be even meaningful the next several times through I m about to go on a run of Victorian lit, and really looking forward to it I hope you have a chance to check out Katie s YouTube channel, you ll love her Update May 7, 2011 I took Hardy s The Woodlanders with me on a recent week long camping trip to Yosemite National Park, and re read it while there It was truly wonderful to sit in some of the most idyllic natural locations in all of the world and read this most amazing novel If anything, I got even from the novel this second time through, and highly recommend The Woodlanders to fans of the fiction and poetry of Thomas Hardy I am continuing on with my summer of reading the written works of George Eliot and Thomas Hardy I just finished reading Thomas Hardy s beautiful novel The Woodlanders last night I have been reading Hardy s novels in the order in which he wrote them, and The Woodlanders, first published in 1887, follows closely on the heels of The Mayor of Casterbridge 1886 In all honesty, I very much enjoyed this novel much, much than the relentlessly tragic tale told in The Mayor of Casterbridge.Hardy has an amazing knack for thoroughly placing his reader into the environment of his novel Interesting to me too, is that each of Hardy s novels tends to focus on a different environment and ecology found within the fictional Wessex region of southwestern England For example, in A Pair of Blue Eyes, the reader becomes fully immersed in the beauty of the vales, forests, and sea cliffs along the Cornwall coastline in The Return of the Native, Hardy brings vividly to life the peoples and environment of the Egdon Heath and in Far From the Madding Crowd we are treated to the rolling hills and pastoral landscape of small rural English farms and pastures used by the sheep herders and their flocks and, finally, The Mayor of Casterbridge largely takes place in the urban environment of his fictional town, Casterbridge.In The Woodlanders the reader is introduced to the shaded and leafy world of the forest of Blackmoor Vale and the hamlet of Little Hintock The novel s characters live in the midst of this forested world and make a living with and among the trees They are involved in lumbering, forestry, and management of orchards It is a beautiful environment, and lovingly described and re described by Hardy as the course of the novel moves through the seasons of the year.I love how Hardy integrates the mood of his environment into the plot of the novel The sounds, sights, and smells of the forest and bridle paths are as much a part of The Woodlanders as are the dialog, thoughts and actions of the characters themselves In fact, I have come to realize that Hardy intentionally develops the environment in each of his novels to become a fully empowered character in the same sense as his human players Also, this novel seems to have been one of Hardy s favorites as it was based upon the area where his mother had grown up, a location that he was apparently quite fond of.The novel revolves around Grace Melbury, a young woman who returns to her father s and stepmother s home in Little Hintock, after some years away becoming educated and socially refined Unlike Clym Yeobright, in The Return of the Native, Grace is not quite sure that she really wants to remain in the forest of Little Hintock surrounded by the peasant class of her childhood Her father sent her off to school and has always encouraged her to aspire to a grander lifestyle She returns to find the young man that still loves her, Giles Winterborne, is still there, and working for her father s timber business, and operating a traveling apple cider press during the harvest season At first blush it would seem that all looks well for the future of Grace and Giles.As is typical in a Hardy novel, Fate and Irony have a curious way of inserting themselves, generally quite tragically, into the lives of the plot s characters Quickly the reader is also introduced to the novel s other players the steadfast and loyal young peasant woman, Marty South the newly arrived gentlemanly young doctor, Edred Fitzpiers and the local landowner, the widowed Mrs Felice Charmond While Giles and Marty are relatively contented and happy folk of the forest, Dr Fitzpiers and Mrs Charmond are clearly out of their element in the Blackmoor Vale, and Grace Melbury is betwixt and between as she endeavors to determine the course of her future.I really do not want to give anything of the plot away at all, but suffice it to say that the novel is quite seductive in that while the reader becomes completely enthralled with the pastoral scenes and life in the forest around Little Hintock, there is at the same time an incredibly epic and pathos driven tragic drama that is unfolding and spiraling out of control that is of almost Shakespearean proportions It really is vintage Hardy I honestly couldn t put the book down for several days.I loved the characters of Giles Winterborne and Marty South These are two people who are completely in touch with the natural world around them in Blackmoor Vale Hardy describes a scene deep in the forest with Marty helping Giles plant new seedling trees to replace those harvested by the foresters, Winterborne s fingers were endowed with a gentle conjurer s touch in spreading the roots of each little tree, resulting in a sort of caress under which the delicate fibres all laid themselves out in in their proper directions for growth He put most of these roots towards the south west for, he said, in forty years time, when some great gale is blowing from that quarter, the trees will require the strongest holdfast on that side to stand against it and not fall How they sigh directly when we put em upright, though while they are lying down they don t sigh at all, said Marty Do they said Giles I ve never noticed it She erected one of the young pines into its hole, and held up her finger the soft musical breathing instantly set in which was not to cease night or day till the grown tree should be felled probably long after the two planters had been felled themselves Now that s just some great prose I found myself, time and again, reading a section like this, and then re reading it and just reveling in the lilting lyricism of Hardy s sentences and paragraphs.A couple of final thoughts As you read the novel, periodically refer to the single stanza of poetry, written by Hardy, that serves as the novel s epigraph, and give it some thought, Not boskiest bow r, When hearts are ill affin d, Hath tree of pow r To shelter from the wind Secondly, the reader will encounter the term man trap periodically These were large, metal traps that game keepers and land managers used to try and prevent poaching and other illegal activities on the gentry s lands and estates Hardy s use of allusion and metaphor is wonderful.This was a beautiful novel to read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it I highly recommend The Woodlanders It is Thomas Hardy at his best Five out of Five Stars, and a Personal Favorite for me Qu bueno es este difunto escritor de otros tiempos Su descripci n de la naturaleza es minuciosa y desapasionada, acompa ando los matices de la putrefacci n de las hojas ca das durante el oto o y el invierno, y el despertar de la vida en la primavera Una primavera con p jaros, pero esencialmente vegetal Y los hombres y mujeres que viven en ella.Al acabar este libro, me doy cuenta de todo lo que me falta por saber de literatura brit nica Qu tame la novela g tica y los poetas rom nticos, y mi conocimiento del XIX ingl s queda en cosa muy humilde.Desde luego, al tomar contacto con Hardy, me vienen a la cabeza unos cuantos contempor neos latinos el franc s Zola, los espa oles Clar n y la Pardo Baz n, y el portugu s E a de Queir s Eso significa que estos autores tratan temas escabrosos tanto m s en aquella poca como el incesto o, en el caso de esta novela, el adulterio.Me he informado sobre la marcha wikip dicamente, al menos acerca de este autor Por lo visto, Los habitantes del bosque The Woodlanderssupone un punto de inflexi n en su obra, en que la cr tica social pasa a tener un papel destacado La novela se public en 1887 y la cr tica de Hardy fue en aumento Tess of the d Urbervilles, 1891 hasta el esc ndalo de su ltima novela, Jude the Obscure 1895 que motiv que Hardy abandonara el cultivo de la prosa novel stica 33 a os antes de su muerte, a tiempo para no quemarse demasiado Se trata de datos y fechas con cierto paralelismo con E a de Queir s quien, tras publicar su obra maestra Os Maias, 1888 , decepcionado con la pobre recepci n o sea, desprecio o incomprensi n , da un viraje tem tico a su producci n posterior.No he le do esa obra maestra del E a, pero s llegu a aventurarme en sus 70 primeras p ginas en versi n original, a os antes de instalarme en Portugal y empezar a aprender esa lengua Aparte del vocabulario que me faltaba, percib que el ritmo narrativo era lent simo, y eso me llev al abandono Seg n me cuentan, hab a yo le do justo la parte m s pesada de la novela, justo antes de calentarse la acci n con ritmo cinematogr fico.Algo parecido me ocurri con Los habitantes del bosque cuando llevaba yo 20 o 30 p ginas le das, me preguntaba si no acabar a por abandonar su lectura El ritmo parec a lento se describ an las peque as vidas y los peque os dolores de los habitantes de Little Hintock Parec a una lectura o a Y sin embargo, hab a peque as dosis de intriga que me incitaban a seguir.Tal vez, la novela no adquiere suficiente ritmo e intensidad hasta que se lleva poco menos de la mitad ya le da Cuanto m s me acercaba al final, m s enganchado me ve a Y, 20 p ginas antes de acabar, hubo una escena que me dio un vuelco al est mago.Por comparar al Hardy con otro grande del Naturalismo, en este caso el franc s Zola, dir que el ingl s hasta tiene bastante dulzura en la descripci n de sus personajes, y no descarga rabia vomitada sobre el coraz n de los hombres, incluso cuando habla de sus flaquezas Zola, por el contrario, describe una Humanidad llena de ego smo, miseria y corazones putrefactos, entre los que de vez en cuando asoma un alma c ndida que s lo sirve de contrapunto para destacar m s enf ticamente la n usea que provoca el ser humano.En cuanto a la edici n que ha ca do en mis manos, la de la Editorial Impedimenta, ha sido una grata sorpresa formato agradable y buena calidad del papel De la traducci n, dir que deja un poquit n que desear, pero es correcta Lo que me molestaba en ese punto es que el traductor se pegaba demasiado, en ocasiones, a las formas originales del ingl s As , resultaba evidente, cuando me encontraba con un comparativamente , o virtualmente , que las palabras del original eran comparatively o virtually , expresiones anglosajonas que no se corresponden exactamente con sus calcos espa oles Es lo que en traducci n se llama el hipnotismo del texto Incluso hab a calcos desafortunados como el lugar donde sol a vivir por the place where I used to live el lugar donde viv a De todos modos, debo reconocer, a favor de la labor de ese intermediario, que se notaba el cari o que pon a en su trabajo Las notas a pie de p gina eran abundantes y clarificadoras, aunque sin llegar al exceso abrumador Y nos brinda al final con un posfacio que inserta el libro en el contexto de su poca He hecho alguna averiguaci n, y parece ser que Impedimenta se especializa en la literatura inglesa victoriana Una vena que yo, tras el preceptivo barbecho literario, seguir explorando. This phenomenal girl will be the light of my life while I am at Hintock and the special beauty of the situation is that our attitude and relations to each other will be purely spiritual Socially we can never be intimate Anything like matrimonial intentions towards her, charming as she is, would be absurd They would spoil the ethereal character of my regard And, indeed, I have other aims on the practical side of my life Oh dear, what a cad, and this is a Thomas Hardy novel, so it will surely end in tears Reading Hardy is not exactly fun but I do keep coming back to read him, I find his novels oddly entertaining, perhaps as a kind of morbid fascination The Woodlanders is set in a small woodland village called Little Hintock, a place so rustic you would never find a wi fi signal This village is part of the county of Wessex, where nothing happy ever seems to happen.The novel is mainly focused on Grace Melbury, the heroine of the book Grace is an unusual girl for Little Hintock, her father sent her away not sure where for several years to be educated, and when she comes back probably with a Ph.D Little Hintock just seems kind of lame.Prior to going to college, she had an understanding with Giles Winterborne, a timber merchant but in the eyes of Grace v2.0 a timber merchant is not up to snuff and will never get the ISO certification so she points him towards the friend zone Along comes Dr Edgar or Edred in some editions Fitzpiers, handsome mega cad, and philanderer extraordinaire So they begin courting and in a spare moment Dr Fitz even manages to squeeze in a roll in the hay with another village girl Soon after they are married the good doctor starts an affair with Mrs Felice Charmond, a rich widow and another outsider, who comes to stay at Little Hintock from time to time Heartache, headache, martyrdom, and typhoid ensue The tragedy of The Woodlanders seems to stem from nobody knowing what they want, or accurately wanting what is very bad for them they always make a beeline for the absolute worst option Grace is the worst of Hardy s female protagonists She has no agency to speak of, always making bad decisions, and is scared of her own shadow so much for her education Fitzpiers is, of course, a terrible fellow, but then he is the villain of the piece and you are not supposed to like him Giles Winterborne though, poor bloke, much too good for this world a bit of an idiot to be honest Hardy s characterization is first rate for all of them the characters are very distinct, conflicted and complex.All of Hardy s favorite themes are accounted for a rustic, evocative setting, bad marriage, unrequited love, and the class division Again urban outsiders some invade the nice provincial setting and a miserable time is had by all I am not sure what he is saying about education here if Grace did not go to college and remains a typical country girl she would have married Giles and everybody would be better off So education does harm than good in a setting like Little Hintock Hardy s plotting is clever and quite intricate, seemingly trivial and random events in the narrative always have significant and unpredictable consequences later on He often makes the reader reflect on their own relationship with others, though, not just the spouses, but friends and relatives Be a little kinder, honest, and considerate and a heap of troubles can be avoided.If you have never read Thomas Hardy before, start with Tess of the D Urbervilles or Far from the Madding Crowd I think they are better stories with sympathetic protagonists Having said that The Woodlanders is Hardy s own favorite of his works so what do I know I seem to have read all his major works now, though, so I don t know if I will read the rest If this is the last Hardy novel I read rereads notwithstanding it is a pretty high but not happy note to end on.Notes Wonderful free Librivox audiobook, beautifully read by Tadhg Thank you The trailer for the 1997 film and the movie poster makes it look like a smoldering romantic story.One of the least romantic books I have ever read.QuotesSo she did as commanded, and opened each of the folded representatives of hard cash that her father put before her To sow in her heart cravings for social position was obviously his strong desire, though in direct antagonism to a better feeling which had hitherto prevailed with him There was in Grace s mind sometimes a certain anticipative satisfaction, the satisfaction of feeling that she would be the heroine of an hour over, she was proud, as a cultivated woman, to be the wife of a cultivated man It was an opportunity denied very frequently to young women in her position, nowadays not a few those in whom parental discovery of the value of education has implanted tastes which parental circles fail to gratify Both looked attractive as glassed back by the faithful reflector but Grace s countenance had the effect of making Mrs Charmond appear than her full age There are complexions which set off each other to great advantage, and there are those which antagonize, the one killing or damaging its neighbor unmercifully Another magnificent masterpiece by Thomas Hardy.This is the story of 4 people who lived in Blackmoor Vale.Grace Melbury falls in love with Giles Winterborne However, his father George Melbury found that his daughter is appropriate to be engaged instead to Edred Fitzpiers, a handsome and young doctor in Little Hintock In the meantime, Edred falls in love with Felice Charmond And then, their lives become inextricably intertwined.The movie based on this classic book The Woodlanders 1997 deserves to be watched. El libro me enganch desde el principio gracias a su ambientaci n, sin duda el punto fort simo de la narraci n Ese bosque oto al y la forma de vida que se deriva de l me enamoraron, as como la forma en que Hardy va tejiendo y contando todo Sin embargo me han fallado algo m s los personajes los que m s me han gustado son Winterborne y Marty , y el desenlace me ha parecido un poco soso para tratarse de Hardy Con todo, este es uno de los libros de este escritor que m s me ha gustado y con este ya llevo cinco le dos. Apparently, this is Thomas Hardy s favorite of all the novels he wrote.My order of Thomas Hardy favorites is MOST FAVORITE Far From the Madding Crowd Tess of the D UrbervillesReturn of the NativeThe WoodlandersUnder the Greenwood TreeTwo in a TowerA Pair of Blue EyesMayor of CasterbridgeThe Well BelovedLEAST FAVORITE Jude the Obscure way too tragic for me My 18 year old son also loves Tess of the D Urbervilles and took it to BYU with him in his suitcase, one of 3 novels he took with him to college The other 2 are Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice He thinks those are the best novels ever and that they should be re read regularly. The Woodlanders was published in 1887 and it is reflective of its time The story centers around life in Little Hintock, a fictional village in rural England Grace Melbury, the only child of a timber merchant, is returning home after being educated in the city Her father has paid for a higher education to enable her to rise above her social station and marry well She has been courted by local resident Giles Winterbourne, but when his situation deteriorates, their bond is broken She is then noticed by a physician, Dr Fitzpiers, who initially sees her as not quite good enough due to his higher social standing, but is won over by her education, cleverness, and charm A wealthy widow complicates the relationship between Dr Fitzpiers and Grace, leading to unhappiness for everyone involved This book is a classic Victorian novel The pastoral setting is vividly described It contains long descriptive sentences with somewhat archaic construction, requiring some re reading along the way It is focused on the characters, and their interactions and motivations There is not much in the way of action especially the way action is emphasized in contemporary fiction It is well constructed and flows pleasantly Hardy has something to say about happiness, such as finding it in a simple and honest life and being content with what we have Hardy employs themes typical of his novels, such as marital fidelity, social class, the erosion of values that come with progress, and unsuitably matched pairs He appears to take issue with the way women were typically treated and examines the double standards of the time Hardy provides hints of upcoming events and outcomes through the use of snippets of quotes from prominent poets and Shakespeare s Measure for Measure I enjoy reading about life in the 19th century from those that lived it While we can always read historical fiction written in current times, it is particularly insightful to read it from a point of view of someone who never knew life in its modern form, where carriages and horses were modes of transportation, candles or lanterns used as sources of light, and goods were hand made It is apparent in reading this novel that even though technology and change have made the world into a much different place, human nature remains much the same Recommended to those that enjoy Victorian era literature. If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.The De fanging of Menfolk The Woodlanders by Thomas HardyAnother Hardy character to rival Sue Bridehead in emotional complexity is, I feel, Grace Melbury in The Woodlanders Grace is the young country girl sent away by her vain and ambitious father to be educated and refined and when she returns we see how the natural order of a small rural community is irrevocably turned upside down as a result Hardy explores the impact of education and money on Grace and the way these influences affect those around her Grace is forced by her control freak of a father to marry the middle class philanderer Edred Fitzpiers, and thus reject the young local man whom she had expected to marry the taciturn woodlander, Giles Winterbourne, who looked and smelt like Autumn s very brother Grace s marriage to Fitzpiers is a disaster which leads to the normal order being drastically altered More stuff on the other side of the Nebula. ^Book ↡ The Woodlanders ⇻ Passion And Money, Beauty And Ambition, These Are The Opening Themes In The Woodlanders, A Novel Revolving Around A Small Village Community Coming To Terms With A Radically Changing WorldPlain Marty South, A Young Country Girl Mature Beyond Her Years, Endures Her Love For Giles Winterbourne In Silence He Works In Partnership With George Melbury, The Local Timber Merchant And Chief Man Of Business In The Area Giles Has Deep Unspoken Feelings For Mr Melbury S Daughter Grace Who Has Been Away At Boarding School And Now Returns To Little Hintock An Educated Young Woman With Modern Ideas Giles Belongs To A Past She No Longer Wants To Be A Part Of And She Is Soon Attracted To The New, Handsome Young Doctor In The Village, Edred Fitzpiers As They All Follow Their Lonely Course, Their Lives Become Inextricably IntertwinedFirst Published In , The Woodlanders, Which In Later Years Hardy Came To Regard As His Favourite Story, Reflects Hardy S Own Changing Attitude To The Past And Recognition Of The Dawn Of A Modern, Dramatically Different Age