Far from the Madding Crowd Historical Context

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Wessex

Critics often point out that Hardy created Wessex, the imaginary setting of many of his novels and poems, to resemble Dorset, located along the southern coast of England. His use of the word "Wessex" first appears in Far from the Madding Crowd.

There actually was a historical use of the word "Wessex": it was a kingdom in southern England, dating back to the invasion of the Saxons in 494 a.d. Though it underwent changes over the course of centuries, its most permanent configuration approximated that of the modern counties of Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, and Somerset. It was in this place that King Arthur held domain over the Knights of the Roundtable, giving the area an important historical distinction. By 927, though, this kingdom had been absorbed into the greater polity of England.

By the nineteenth century the name "Wessex" had receded far into history. The use of this...

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This section contains 527 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Far from the Madding Crowd Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Far from the Madding Crowd from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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