The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Symbolism, Animal Kingdom, Philosophy

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Keywords: Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Symbolism, Bird Imagerey, Animal Kingdom, Philosophy


The Mayor of Casterbridge is one of the masterpieces and the imperishable novel of Thomas Hardy, although it has never enjoyed the popularity of Tess and Jude. Hardy was at the height of his creative powers when he began work on it at the age of forty four. Initially, the novel appeared serially, in twenty installments, in 1886 in an English periodical, The Graphic, and was published in book form in 1886 after revising for two or three times. The book appeared as soon as the serial publication was complete but it differs a lot from the serial novel. It is a magnificent novel, although Hardy himself was not entirely happy about it.

It was a story which Hardy fancied he had damaged more recklessly as an artistic whole, in the interest of the newspaper in which it appeared serially, than perhaps any other of his novels, his aiming to get an incident into each week’s part causing him in his own judgment to add events to the narrative somewhat too freely.1

On the first reading of the book, it seems to be a straightforward story but on deeper analysis one can see that it is replete with symbols which have their own significance and that can be interpreted variously if we analyze them as Thomas Hardy himself wrote while The Mayor of Casterbridge was coming out serially that, “My art is to intensify the expression of things…so that the heart and inner

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