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Professor’s drama, Far From The Madding Crowd, airs on BBC Radio 4

Professor Graham White’s 2013 adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd featured on BBC Radio 4 and available on IPlayer for the next month.  

Posted: 9 January 2018

Despite the violent ends of some of the major characters, Far from the Madding Crowd is often described as the sunniest and least brooding of Thomas Hardy’s great novels. It was the first novel that Thomas Hardy set in the fictional area of Wessex. Hardy designed Wessex as idyllic, rural England, slowly going extinct with the rise of modern technology and the industrial revolution.

The book is often regarded as an early piece of feminist literature, since it features an independent woman with the courage to defy convention by running a farm herself. Far from the Madding Crowd follows Bathsheba Everdene, a young woman who inherits a farm in 19th Century Dorset and finds herself embroiled with three suitors - the steady local farmhand Gabriel Oak, the rakish Sergeant Troy and the uptight Farmer Boldwood. As she attempts to make her way in the world, Bathsheba's situation grows increasingly complex and she finds all of her resourcefulness tested. Professor White alluded to Thomas Hardy’s inspiration for the novel;

“The book is Hardy's elaborate portrait of a changing rural world, a world in which the chance of happiness is never far from the possibility of disaster”.

Far from the Madding Crowd was originally published by Thomas Hardy in 1874. It was his was fourth novel and first major literary success. Professor White’s 3 part adaptation of Thomas Hardy's great novel, stars Sean Dooley, Alex Tregear and Toby Jones. It is not the first time White’s adaptation has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as it was originally aired in 2013.

Professor White’s research often uses writing practices as a way of exploring memory, identity and the presentation of self, especially in processes of public reconciliation. Previous plays for Radio 4 have included General Mladic Is Waving, Oswald in Russia, The Trial of the Angry Brigade, and dramatisations of Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table and Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy.

Far From The Madding Crowd can be heard on the BBC iPlayer by clicking here.

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