Monday, January 30, 2006

Fiction Alert: Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy

I just received notice from one of our speakers that Masterpiece Theater will be showing a new production of Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy in late April. I am pretty familiar with English literature, but I do not remember hearing of this novel before now. Bonnie Hilton, who will be doing a program about Hardy and the book for my library, says that it is a lesser known book. Because Hardy wrote it in the vernacular, she says, it is a tougher read.

I looked in our SWAN catalog to see if we own the book. We do not, as most of our libraries do not. In the seventy plus libraries in the consortium, there are nine copies of the novel, seven of which have a 1949 copyright. There are also two Oxford University Press editions from 1985 and 1999. Our libraries are not very ready for the requests that will accompany the showing of the one episode production.

Most of the booksellers also seem unprepared. Perhaps it is still early. Baker and Taylor has no stock of any of edition. Amazon says that the $4.95 paperback from Oxford ships in one to three weeks and that a Penguin edition that lists at $10.54 (that's what it says) ships in two to five weeks. Barnes and Noble says it has a Penguin edition (ISBN 0140435530) that ships in 24 hours. The PBS store does not seem to have any edition on its website; the PBS catalogue we received in today's mail did not offer the title either.

Looking at the webpages with discussion questions for Under the Greenwood Tree, I found an image of a Penguin edition with a Masterpiece Theater logo, with no bibliographic data. The Penguin website does not have this image, but does indicate that the 1999 edition (ISBN 0140435530 again) is still available. Perhaps it is getting a new cover.

So, what did I do? I ordered from Baker & Taylor one copy of the 1999 Oxford paperback, which it indicates some other libraries are back ordering. I also placed an order for two copies of the Penguin edition, for which Baker & Taylor has a listing but no inventory information, which I suspect is the official edition. With discounts, I have just spent about $16.00.


Dan Trabue said...

I saw where you stopped by to look at my Lincoln Statue at flickr. A couple of notes I thought you might find interesting:

1. During the '37 flood, the waters rised up to Lincoln's feet (The statue is a full mile from the Ohio River!) and it made it look like ol' Abe was walking on the water.

2. On an unrelated library note: Our library here has started hosting free concerts at the library with really cool mostly folk acts! Coming up next: Dar Williams! Later this spring: Ladysmith Black Mambazo! How cool is that!

Thanks for stopping by.

Dan Trabue said...

"waters rised up..." ?! Please don't tell my 5th grade grammar teacher!

ricklibrarian said...


Thanks for the info on the statue.

Wow! Ladysmith Black Mambazo probably wouldn't even fit in the program room at our library. That is cool.