‘She matched his violence with her own wild passion’: Illustrating Far from the Madding Crowd



First to my title, for which you will search the text of Far from the Madding Crowd — I dare say that of the entire Hardy oeuvre — in vain. It comes from a poster for John Schlesinger’s 1967 film version of Far from the Madding Crowd. Peter Lennon, Hardy collector and proprietor of Casterbridge Books in Chicago, sent me a photograph of it some years ago, with the comment that it would have ‘befuddled Hardy’.1 Indeed. Headed “Zhivago’s” Lara meets “Georgy Girl’s” guy … in the love story of the year!’, the poster contains four colour illustrations. One is of a rather smudgy-faced Julie Christie (Bathsheba) clinging tightly to an even smudgier Alan Bates (Gabriel Oak) as they escape from a raging conflagration: the caption reads, ‘She was sure of his love … in spite of her other men!’ In another illustration a coquettish Christie permits a worshipful Peter Finch (Boldwood) to kiss her hand; in a third a windblown Christie runs through a field, her cleavage prominent and knee-length skirt riding high up stockingless thigh. Finally, the caption that has supplied me with my title, ‘She matched his violence with her own wild passion’, accompanies the image of Christie, distinctly déshabillé, in the arms of a certainly shirtless and possibly naked Terence Stamp (Troy).2


Rural Life Visual Reading Love Story Saturday Review Film Poster 
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  1. 3.
    A number of reviews are quoted in Peter Widdowson, Hardy in History: A Study in Literary Sociology (London: Routledge, 1989) pp. 103–14Google Scholar
  2. see also Nancy J. Brooker, John Schlesinger: A Guide to References and Resources (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1978) pp. 18–19, 73–7Google Scholar
  3. Rita Costabile, ‘Hardy in Soft Focus’, in The English Novel and the Movies, ed. Michael Klein and Gillian Parker (New York: Ungar, 1981) pp. 155–64Google Scholar
  4. and Roger Webster, ‘Reproducing Hardy: Familiar and Unfamiliar Versions of Far from the Madding Crowd and Tess of the d’Urbervilles’, Critical Survey, V (1993) 143–51Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    Based upon an earlier dramatization, ‘Bathsheba Everdene and Her Suitors’, by Harry Pouncy; see Keith Wilson, Thomas Hardy on Stage (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, 1995) pp. 55, 106.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    Thomas Hardy, The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy, ed. Michael Millgate (London: Macmillan Press, 1984) p. 100.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Letter to Harry Furniss, quoted in H. Furniss, Some Victorian Women: Good, Bad, and Indifferent (London: John Lane, the Bodley Head, 1923) pp. 81–2.Google Scholar
  8. 15.
    Arlene M. Jackson makes this point in Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy (London: Macmillan Press, 1982), p. 79.Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    Photographs of Paterson in her twenties are reproduced in Ina Taylor, Helen Allingham’s England: An Idyllic View of Rural Life (Exeter: Webb & Bower, 1990) pp. 25, 32.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    4 December 1873, The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy, ed. Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate, 7 volumes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978–88) vol. I, p. 25.Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    See Pamela Dalziel, ‘Anxieties of Representation: The Serial Illustrations to Hardy’s The Return of the Native’, Nineteenth-Century Literature, LI (1996) 89–90.Google Scholar
  12. 25.
    Ruskin described the painting as ‘for ever lovely; a thing which I believe Gainsborough would have given one of his own pictures for, — old-fashioned as red-tipped daisies are — and more precious than rubies’ (Notes on Some of the Principal Pictures Exhibited in the Rooms of the Royal Academy: 1875, The Works of John Ruskin, ed. E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, Library Edition, 39 volumes (London: George Allen, 1903–12) vol. XIV, p. 264.Google Scholar
  13. 26.
    Marcus B. Huish, Happy England as Painted by Helen Allingham, R. W.S. (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1903) pp. 50–5, 61–5, points out not only the connection between A Flat Iron for a Farthing and The Young Customers but also the sources for The Convalescent (1879) and In the Hayloft (1880), woodblock illustrations for, respectivelyGoogle Scholar
  14. Mrs Oliphant’s Innocent (Graphic, 19 April 1873)Google Scholar
  15. and Eleanor Grace O’Reilly’s Deborah’s Drawer (London: Bell & Daldy, 1871)Google Scholar
  16. 27.
    Reproduced in H. L. Mallalieu, The Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920, Volume II — The Plates (Woodbridge: The Antique Collectors’ Club, 1979) p. 279.Google Scholar
  17. 29.
    Listed in Anthony Lester, The Exhibited Works of Helen Allingham, R.W.S. 1848–1926 (Crowmarsh Gifford: The Lester Gallery, 1979) p. 48.Google Scholar
  18. 30.
    Laura Dyer, ‘Mrs. Allingham’, Art Journal, n.s. XXVII (1888) 199Google Scholar
  19. 32.
    A. L. Baldry, The Practice of Water-Colour Painting (London: Macmillan and The Fine Art Society, 1911) p. 39Google Scholar
  20. 37.
    See, for example, John Goode, Thomas Hardy: The Offensive Truth (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988)Google Scholar
  21. and Marjorie Garson, Hardy’s Fables of Integrity: Woman, Body, Text (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 41.
    Rosemarie Morgan makes this point in Cancelled Words: Rediscovering Thomas Hardy (London: Routledge, 1992) p. 136.Google Scholar
  23. 44.
    See Dalziel, ‘Note on the Illustrations’, A Pair of Blue Eyes (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1998) pp. 381–3Google Scholar

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© Pamela Dalziel 1998

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