This novel is subtitled The Mellstock Quire, A Rural Painting of the Dutch School. The Quire is the group of musicians who accompany the hymns at the local church and we follow the fortunes of one member, Dick Dewy, who falls in love with the new school mistress, Fancy Day.
Another element of the book is the battle between the traditional musicians of the Quire and the local vicar, Parson Maybold, who installs a church organ. This battle illustrates the developing technology being introduced in the Victorian era and its threat to traditional country ways.
The novel was published anonymously in 1872 and is often seen as Thomas Hardy's most gentle and pastoral novel. In 2005 Under the Greenwood Tree was adapted for a television version by Ashley Pharoah. (Summary by Rachel Lintern)
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