Mayor of Casterbridge Part One: Is it Casterbridge? Or is it Dorchester? – The Curiously Specific Book Club
We’ve reached the 15th book of our second series of The Curiously Specific Book Club, and it’s one of the most famous books in English publishing history: Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge.
Set in the fictional town of Casterbridge in the just-as-fictional county of Wessex, it’s a finely-wrought depiction of real people in real places; country-folk at the dawn of modernity in the Dorset county town of Dorchester, about to undergo wild expansion with the arrival of the railways and the professional classes.
What’s more, the town has gone through a second change, because right on its western edge a new ‘fictional’ place has sprung up: King Charles’s fantastical experiment in town-planning, the weird zone that is Poundbury. What on earth would former architect Thomas Hardy have made of it?
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