Book Report: Under a Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy (1871, 1983)

Hey, sometimes you’re in the mood for a Hardy Boys book, and if that’s the case, don’t make the same mistake I’ve obviously done.

Just kidding. I read Tess of the d’Urbervilles in college and saw The Marriage of Bette & Boo that same year, so one has to wonder why I didn’t become a total Thomas Hardy head. Except that it’s Victorian literature, and I’m a contemporary American, more Hemingway than Faulkner much less Victorian.

Still, when this book was remaindered from the Bridgeton Trails branch of the library, I couldn’t pass it up (I also got A Pair of Blue Eyes). It’s a fair enough into to Hardy, as it’s only a hair over 200 pages. It tells the story of a young man named Dick Dewy and the new school mistress Fancy Day. It comprises a fairly short number of scenes, some of which are less important to the forward progress of the story than their overall length would suggest. However, like with any serious novel and any old novel, you have to read it for the joy of the language and the archaism of the world it depicts.

Is it a good Victorian novel? Heck if I know; I haven’t read enough bad Victorian novels to know the difference. But I know a little more about the time period in which organs replaced quires in the Anglican church and a little more about Thomas Hardy’s work, so it was worth the quarter. Also, I’ve read more Hardy than you have now (probably), so feel my arrogance. Go ahead, put your hand right here on the monitor -> X <- Feel it?

Books mentioned in this review: