Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
(Penguin Classics)

70%

12 Critic Reviews

To conclude, although definetly a challenging read, I would really recommend it and encourage more people my age to try it and not be scared of it! I'd say that it's suitable for ages 13+ if you want to stretch yourself...I really enjoyed it and I think many more people could too if they gave it a go.
-Guardian

Synopsis

'She looked absolutely pure. Nature, in her fantastic trickery, had set such a seal of maidenhood upon Tess's countenance that he gazed at her with a stupefied air: "Tess- say it is not true! No, it is not true!"'

Young Tess Durbeyfield attempts to restore her family's fortunes by claiming their connection with the aristocratic d'Urbervilles. But Alec d'Urberville is a rich wastrel who seduces her and makes her life miserable. When Tess meets Angel Clare, she is offered true love and happiness, but her past catches up with her and she faces an agonizing moral choice.

Hardy's indictment of society's double standards, and his depiction of Tess as 'a pure woman', caused controversy in his day and has held the imagination of readers ever since. Hardy thought it his finest novel, and Tess the most deeply felt character he ever created. This unique critical text is taken from the authoritative Clarendon edition, which is based on the manuscript collated with all Hardy's subsequent revisions.

ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
 

About Thomas Hardy

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Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840. In his writing, he immortalized the site of his birth-Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester. Delicate as a child, he was taught at home by his mother before he attended grammar school. At sixteen, Hardy was apprenticed to an architect, and for many years, architecture was his profession; in his spare time, he pursued his first and last literary love, poetry. Finally convinced that he could earn his living as an author, he retired from architecture, married, and devoted himself to writing. An extremely productive novelist, Hardy published an important book every year or two. In 1896, disturbed by the public outcry over the unconventional subjects of his two greatest novels-Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure-he announced that he was giving up fiction and afterward produced only poetry. In later years, he received many honors. He died on January 11, 1928, and was buried in Poet's Corner, in Westminster Abbey. It was as a poet that he wished to be remembered, but today critics regard his novels as his most memorable contribution to English literature for their psychological insight, decisive delineation of character, and profound presentation of tragedy.
 
Published November 1, 2013 by Wordsworth Editions. 201 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Children's Books, Comics & Graphic Novels, Romance, Westerns, History, Parenting & Relationships, Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Tess of the D'Urbervilles
All: 12 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 3

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Lauren on Sep 07 2013

To conclude, although definetly a challenging read, I would really recommend it and encourage more people my age to try it and not be scared of it! I'd say that it's suitable for ages 13+ if you want to stretch yourself...I really enjoyed it and I think many more people could too if they gave it a go.

Read Full Review of Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Pe... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Elizabeth Day on Nov 22 2008

These evocative descriptions are underpinned by a gripping story of love, loss and tragedy. According to Hardy's biographer, Claire Tomalin, the book 'glows with the intensity of his imagination'. It is this that remains the key to its lasting power.

Read Full Review of Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Pe... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Elizabeth Day on Nov 22 2008

These evocative descriptions are underpinned by a gripping story of love, loss and tragedy. According to Hardy's biographer, Claire Tomalin, the book 'glows with the intensity of his imagination'. It is this that remains the key to its lasting power.

Read Full Review of Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Pe... | See more reviews from Guardian

Pajiba

Below average
Reviewed by Jelinas on Jan 17 2012

I can appreciate Tess for its literary achievement, and acknowledge its social and historical importance. But I can't say that I enjoyed reading it, or that reading it really did me any good.

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Mail Online

Above average
Reviewed by JANE SHILLING on Sep 23 2008

A great theme of Hardy's novel is the sense in which Tess is part of the landscape she inhabits: she feels herself to be at one with the woods, the streams, the passing seasons.

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http://www.bookdrum.com

Good
on Feb 27 2015

Master of the missed chance, Hardy throws these characters and the ideas they represent into the threshing machine of his narrative, separating them out gradually from their hopes, ambitions and ideals, yet keeping before the reader a sense of what they might have been if only their star had not been 'blighted'.

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Book Review Circle

Above average
Reviewed by Prerna Gupta on Mar 02 2015

This is one of the best works of Hardy. The hardships that Tess faces in her life and the double standards of society by which she is measured find resonance even today.

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She Reads Novels

Good
Reviewed by Helen on May 15 2010

So, if you haven’t read this book yet give it a try – you might hate it…but you might just love it like I did.

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Love Romance Passion

Below average
Reviewed by Keira on Apr 16 2009

...the story is completely terrible and angst driven. There’s no happiness to be found not even in Tess and Angel’s stolen moments.

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The Quiet Voice

Good
on Apr 19 2014

Even though there’s a high chance this book will make you rage over the unfairness of the universe and/or hate yourself for caring about Tess when her doom is inevitable, I recommend it because Hardy knows how to write a compelling novel.

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Books And Movies

Good
Reviewed by CarrieK on Jun 16 2009

Hardy was obviously trying to make a point about the discrepancy in life for men and women, the rich and the poor – and he does so very well.

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Blurb Book Reviews

Above average
on Mar 02 2015

I found this novel extremely sad as Tess’ life is filled with naught but hardship and ill treatment when she has done nothing to deserve any of it...At times the book became borderline dull and difficult to read but it was nevertheless much better than I had previously anticipated. Truly a classic.

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