Every summer I read a classic that I have never read before, and since I'm planning to visit Southwest England soon, I felt I should read a novel that takes place there. Descriptively written, with romance and suspense, Hardy portrays Tess as a beautiful, young woman born in poverty with a title that ends up doing her more harm than good. Tess, at the start of her tale, is moral, hard-working and loving, and through no fault of her own, she is forced to face hardship and tragedy. Hardy demonstrates what can happen to an innocent, trusting girl in a man's world.
If you want a quick, light read, Tess of the d'Urbervilles is not it. However, if you're looking for a beautifully written novel that captures life in rural England about 150 years ago, give Tess a try.— Nancy Randall
Set in the magical Wessex landscape so familiar from Thomas Hardy's early work, Tess of the D'Urbervilles is unique among his great novels for the intense feeling that he lavished upon his heroine, Tess, a pure woman betrayed by love.Hardy poured all of his profound empathy for both humanity and the rhythms of natural life into this story of her beauty, goodness, and tragic fate. In so doing, he created a character who, like Emma Bovary and Anna Karenina, has achieved classic stature. (Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)
About the Author
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was born in Dorset, England, son of a stonemason. Though a gifted student, he was unable to afford to attend university. He was apprenticed to an architect at age sixteen and worked in London for several years before returning to Dorset and dedicating himself to writing novels and poems.
“[Tess of the D’Urbervilles is] Hardy’s finest, most complex and most notorious novel . . . The novel is not a mere plea for compassion for the eternal victim, though that is the banner it flies. It also involves a profound questioning of contemporary morality.” –from the Introduction by Patricia Ingham