If you are studying Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge for any kind of examination, the first thing you need to do (this should go without saying) is read and re-read the text in a modern, preferably annotated, scholarly edition. But no £15 (or less, if you look) will be better spent than buying a copy of the SmartPass audio education study guide. A private tutor is going to charge twice this amount for an hour-long session, but the SmartPass CDs you can listen to for as little or as long as you have time for - and then over and over again. The packaging tough and well designed, and should see you through the year.
Combined with a stirring and memorable dramatisation of many of the key scenes from the novel is a detailed introduction to its themes - fate, love, ambition, morality, tragedy, social issues, sex and gender, class, the consequences of mechanisation on social mobility and class. And much, much more. Add some advice on essay-writing and coursework, on using quotations and preparing for exams, and this is an invaluable study aid - authoritative, challenging and unpatronising. If only all teachers were as good ...
Buy it. It may be the best investment you have made in your education to date.
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