Tess of the D'Urbervilles
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An impoverished family, a tragic rape, an overpowering love, a shocking murder—these are just a few of the haunting events in Thomas Hardy’s absorbing novel. Tess Durbeyfield is a plain country girl, but when her parents discover that they may be related to the genteel d’Urbervilles, she is sent to them to plead for assistance. Her parents unwittingly send her into harm’s way, however, as the powerful and rich Alec d’Urberville seduces and rapes Tess. Dishonored, she returns home and gives birth to a child, Sorrow, who soon dies. Time passes, and Tess meets and falls in love with an apprentice at a dairy, Angel Clare. She repeatedly refuses Angel’s requests to marry her, ashamed of her past and worried about his reaction. When she finally succumbs to her feelings and to Angel, Tess confesses the rape, and things are never the same between them. As Hardy’s plot draws to its close, we are left with the somber realization of life’s injustice, and we question the ability of love to alleviate human suffering.
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Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was born in Dorset, England, to a working-class family who instilled the value of education in their young son from his earliest years. After completing his formal schooling, Hardy began work as an architect’s apprentice at the age of sixteen. He continued his apprenticeship for a few years, eventually leaving it to attend King’s College, London. Although Hardy gained recognition for his work in school, he still felt that another career was calling him and so returned to Dorset to become a writer. Hardy turned out a number of poems and novels in the years to come, among them Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, and Far From the Madding Crowd. Hardy’s writing drew both praise and criticism from his readers, with some of them applauding his brutally honest depictions of rural life and modern values, and others decrying his departure from traditionally conservative Victorian literature. Known for his brooding meditations on human desires and destinies, Thomas Hardy’s works remain some of the most highly regarded in English literature.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore, or Blackmoor. The pair of legs that carried him were rickety, and there was a bias in his gait which inclined him somewhat to the left of a ...Back to top
Reviewed by Lolabean on Jan 21, 2010
Hardy's descriptions of the English countryside are beautiful, if a bit wordy, and his characters are reasonably well developed with varying flaws. Tess, herself, is a truly pitiable character with more than her share of hardships but her quiet acceptance of life's troubles and her passionate, enduring love for Angel are what makes the story so remarkable.
Reviewed by amoebaghost19 on Aug 1, 2009
Mostly good story
I liked "Tess", even though all this horrible stuff just kept happening. Around the time that Angel left for Brazil, though, I started to lose interest and kept having to go back to figure out what I had missed (but I think part of this was because it was summer and I didn't have to check my email everyday). But the ending was good and it was a generally good story.
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Ratings for 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' by Hardy, Thomas