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Tess of the Durbervilles (Classic Library) - Thomas Hardy

Tess of the Durbervilles (Classic Library)

Author: Thomas Hardy
Book title: Tess of the Durbervilles (Classic Library)
ISBN: 8182520312
ISBN13: 978-8182520318
Publisher: Book Sales (February 2006)
Language: English
Category: Humanities
Rating: 4.8/5
Votes: 646
Pages: 493 pages
More formats: mbr docx azw lit

Reviews: (7)
I read this in a book club and it's not something I would typically read but I am glad I did.

This is the story of Tess Derbyfield. When we first meet her she is 16 years old living in poverty with her alcoholic parents. Her father has just learned that he has lineage dating back to the dUrbervilles, a royal family. Upon hearing this, they want to send their oldest daughter, Tess, off to a neighboring town where a family lives that has the d'Urberville name to become a servant and perhaps claim title to the d'Urberville name and even marry a wealthy gentleman. What they do not know is this family only adopted the d'Urberville name to further their business endeavors.

Upon first meeting Alec, the sham d'Urberville, Tess's life just goes from bad to worse. She meets one tragedy after another, some caused by fate, some caused by bad decisions.

This books leaves you feeling sad and hopeless but is a critique on the way women were treated in 1890's Victorian England.

This book had good characters but I thought the development was weak. Harry uses great description of land and locations to where you feel fully immersed in the world of his creation.

This story is not for everyone. There are points where you will cry and there are points where you are on the edge of your seat just hoping that the stars will align and fate will come through for Tess.
"Tess of the D'Urbervilles" is Thomas Hardy's most famous protagonist and one of literature's most tragic heroines. At first, she reminded me very much of Ibsen's Nora, but as the book came to a close I came to realize that Tess is far more emotionally complex than Nora: much moodier, much prouder, much more romantic, and ultimately much more tragic.

The story is pretty well-known to most people. Tess is a young beautiful maiden who has a lazy drunk for a father and a manipulative opportunist as a mother. At a young tender and naive age she is essentially raped by her well-to-do cousin, and it's a stigma that haunts her in the small-minded provincial town where she lives. She soon meets the man of her dreams, a clergyman's romantic son who finds a kindred soul in Tess, and while Tess does her best to maintain her distance eventually she gives way to her passion, and marries Angel Clare. Though she has lost her virginity to another man Tess remains pure and free, and against the warnings of her mother she forces herself to tell her new husband of her past. And because her husband is very young, very proud, and ultimately constricted and contained by the conservative pettiness of the people around him he decides to flee from Tess. And this sets the stage for Tess's ultimate downfall.

The themes and plot of this novel have been copied copiously in Western culture, but what makes this novel such a masterpiece is the emotional force and beauty of Tess's characters, and it would be almost impossible for anyone else to replicate the sincere sympathy Hardy has for his most famous heroine. Literary critics can always point to the depth in meaning and symbolism of the novel -- the themes of innocence, spirituality, and romantic passion course wildly throughout the novel -- but it's Tess's sense and pursuit of love, her utter and pure and completion to the man she loves, that will continue to move readers for centuries to come.
This is one of the great English novels, probably among the first five in distinction among the novels of the late 19th century. It is certainly Hardy's most accomplished novel. "Tess" is set in Hardy's version of the Wessex region of England, where, for example, the city of Dorchester becomes Casterbridge. This is the story of Tess Durbeyfield. The Durbeyfields used to be known as the d'Urberviiles, centuries before, when they were rich and powerful. As with almost all of Hardy's novels, the evocation of the boggy hill country of southern England is so closely intertwined with nature, that one begins to smell the heady aromas of the countryside. Coincidentally, Roman Polanski's finest film is "Tess", Nastassia Kinski is the perfect Tess, Polanski shows us
the innocence of the girl, how its purity is the reason for her downfall. The scene in which she bites into a strawberry is the ultimate seduction scene for PG audiences.
I have bought several of the Penguin Classics Hardcover series. Each cover is beautifully done and the novels themselves are excellent quality. The bookstores tend to sell these editions for $25.00, so I'm always excited to see them on this site for roughly half the price. As a couple of others have stated, the covers look great on bookshelves. I look forward to buying more from this collection.

As for the novel itself, Tess of the D'Urvervilles is one of my favorite novels of all time. Rich, complex, heartbreaking, and beautifully written.
It was wonderful to return to this classic work of literature that I read during my high school years. The narrator spoke with an English accent which was perfect for this story. The only liberty she took was to make contractions for Thomas Hardy’s two words.

Hardy’s depiction of Tess was magnificent to the extent that we, his readers, really knew her complex being far more completely than we would know any living person or persons depicted in contemporary novels.

I enjoyed both hearing the Audible plus following the written text of the novel. I have other classic works of literature lined up to read after this incredible work of art.
I like Penguin Books for its supplemental background information and I also enjoy Thomas's Hardy nearly as much as any classical writer that I've read. This is the third Hardy book I've read. One of his books, Far From the Madding Crowd, I read recently, and another book, Jude the Obscure, I completed over thirty years ago. I'm excited about the fact that he has a supply that I can continue reading for the rest of my life. I plan to read at least two more of his books, the Return of the Native and The Mayor of Casterbridge, which will be all of his most popular novels for me, and then I will see how I feel about reading more than that.
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