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So You Think You Know Thomas Hardy?


Here in the UK it’s getting close to the time of year when school exam results start landing on doormats across the country (A-Level results are out on August 14th), which made me think back to the nail-biting morning waiting to see if I’d got the marks I needed for my university course (I did, phew). So, in the spirit of testing your knowledge to the maximum, today I bring you a handful of questions from our book So You Think You Know Thomas Hardy? by John Sutherland. I studied Hardy at high school, and while I have to confess that my 16-year-old self was less than enthusiastic about him, I have grown to appreciate his novels much more since.

Let’s get down to business. A few easy ones to start you off…

1. What is the name of the cow who is the occasion of Oak’s second meeting with Bathsheba in Far From The Madding Crowd?
2. What is Susan’s nickname among the children of the town in The Mayor of Casterbridge?
3. In The Woodlanders, of what does Grace dream, on her first night back at Hintock?
4. In Tess of the D’Urbervilles, who, as best the reader can piece together, are the Durbeyfield
children and what are their ages?
5. What did Jude’s father die of in Jude the Obscure?

OK. So you should be warmed up by now. Let’s get a little trickier.

6. In Far From The Madding Crowd, what is the great communal beer mug at Warren’s Malthouse
called, and why?
7. In The Mayor of Casterbridge, why does Henchard go to Mrs Goodenough’s ill-fated furmity tent?
8. Back to The Woodlanders. Why does Marty habitually call Giles (who calls her ‘Marty’) ‘Mr Winterborne’?
9. What colour are Tess’s eyes?
10. Jude (the Obscure) has given Arabella a framed lover’s photograph of himself. What happens to it?

Last set coming up – these are the hardest questions of all!

11. To what does Bathsheba attribute her lack of ‘capacity for love’?
12. ‘Casterbridge’, the narrator tells us, ‘announced old Rome in every street’. What can one read into this antiquarian observation, if anything?
13. What do Mr and Mrs Melbury wear to Giles’s ‘randy-voo’, intended to welcome Grace back as his lover?
14. What is ‘scroff’ and what part does it play in Tess’s downfall?
15. Jude and Sue sleep together at the old woman’s cottage, on their ill-fated day’s excursion. Do they do anything more than (literally) sleep?

Check back tomorrow for the answers!

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