Title: Under the Greenwood Tree : a rural painting ...
Publisher: London : Chatto and Windus.
Publication Date: 1893
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good
Edition: 5th or later Edition
vii, 342, printed pages (slight offsetting from the dust jacket's flaps on the preliminary and final leaves; top edge very slightly dust toned). 13 x 18 cm. Original red cloth. Spine with gilt lettering withing horizontal gilt ruled borders. Upper board with blind embossed lettering (very good to near fine condition). Complete with the original extremely scarce pale green dust jacket. Spine with dark green printing similar to the cloth bound book beneath but also with the price of six shillings net (small hole near price, some very slight wear to the top of the central panel, the corners and a very small damp patch near the bottom). Upper panel with single dark green border. Hardy's second novel and the first of what was to become his series of Wessex novels. First published in 1872 and subsequently in this Chatto & Windus (Spottiswoode printed) edition in 1878, 1886, 1891 & 1892. Hardy began work on what would become the first of his Wessex novels, Under the Greenwood Tree in 1871, the genesis of the novel being a conflict between his grandfather's string choir of viols and voices in Stinsford church, and a new vicar who was determined to replace the choir with an up-to-date organ. He modelled Mellstock on Stinsford, and the Dewys' house on his own family home in the hamlet of Upper Bockhampton (now Higher Bockhampton). Although the characters were not directly modelled on members of his family, he did make use of the fact that his sister Mary had trained as a schoolteacher. Writing forty years later, Hardy recalled "This story of the Mellstock Quire and its old established west-gallery musicians is intended to be a fairly true picture, at first hand, of the personages, ways, and customs which were common among such orchestral bodies in the villages of fifty or sixty years ago." The book was originally to be called The Mellstock Quire, but during the summer of 1871 Hardy added significant additional material, de-emphasising the tribulations of the choir and focusing the plot on the love story between Dick and Fancy. With the new structure came a new title, Under the Greenwood Tree, taken from a song in Shakespeare's As You Like It (Act II, Scene V). Having received a discouraging reply from Macmillan, to whom he offered the manuscript in 1871, Hardy accepted an offer from the ultimate publisher, Tinsley, of £30 for the copyright. Later, when Hardy had become more established, he attempted to retrieve the copyright but declined to pay Tinsley's quoted price of £300; the copyright was to remain with the publisher and his successors until after Hardy's death (1928). The story was adapted for a 1929 film, and for a 2005 ITV film with Keeley Hawes as Fancy Day and James Murray as Dick Dewy (which was filmed in Jersey). This is an early edition in exceptionally good condition and with the rarely surviving dust jacket from the days of the infancy of the invention of the dustwrapper-making it an unusually collectable copy. Seller Inventory # 5116