Tess Of The D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
This book has made Mr. Hardy one of the most prominent English novelist. The power and the movement of the story are so great that it is only when we read a review of it that we are conscious that its author had any purpose save that which is common to every true writer of fiction—viz.: to tell a story which shall please. But this unconsciousness of a novelist’s purpose is the highest tribute that can be paid to his work. Tess, the milkmaid heroine, has fallen from virtue through no fault of her own. Subsequently her great passion for a second and nobler lover sweeps her into a marriage with him after she has failed to tell him of her condition, although she has attempted to do so. Her confession of her secret to her husband is one of the most powerful and painful scenes in all literature. After the weak man has deserted her, she undergoes in patience a life of unspeakable torture, but at last falls again to her former betrayer in order to keep her mother and her family from starvation. Her husband returns to her, and in her remorse she stabs her betrayer to death. After a brief period of ecstatic bliss with the now repentant man, whose desertion has brought her to such a pass, she is seized by the officers of the law and led to the scaffold….
Tess Of The D’Urbervilles.
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Biography of Thomas Hardy (from Wikipedia):
Thomas Hardy, OM (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth. He was highly critical of much in Victorian society, especially on the declining status of rural people in Britain, such as those from his native South West England.
While Hardy wrote poetry throughout his life and regarded himself primarily as a poet, his first collection was not published until 1898. Initially, therefore, he gained fame as the author of such novels as Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895). During his lifetime, Hardy’s poetry was acclaimed by younger poets (particularly the Georgians) who viewed him as a mentor. After his death his poems were lauded by Ezra Pound, W. H. Auden and Philip Larkin.
Many of his novels concern tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances, and they are often set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex; initially based on the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Hardy’s Wessex eventually came to include the counties of Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Hampshire and much of Berkshire, in southwest and south central England. Two of his novels, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd, were listed in the top 50 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
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