Thomas Hardy: Under the Greenwood Tree

(2558 words)

The title of Thomas Hardy’s second published novel is derived from a song in As You Like It, though the genre of pastoral cannot fully account for either Shakespeare’s play or Under the Greenwood Tree.

As with Hardy’s next-but-one novel, Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), Under the Greenwood Tree presents three men vying for the hand of one woman. The suitors for the young schoolmistress Fancy Day are Dick Dewy, the son of a tranter (a carrier), Shiner, a wealthy farmer (and churchwarden), and Maybold, a young vicar of Mellstock where most of the principal action is located. Both Fancy and Maybold are new to the parish and to their posts, and the novel is a subtle treatment of new …

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White, Adam. "Under the Greenwood Tree". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 May 2013
[, accessed 22 May 2015.]