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Tess of the DUrbervilles Hardy, Thomas/ Stubbs, Imogen (NRT) 1 of 1
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Learn more about Tess of the D'Urbervilles:

Format:  CD
ISBN-10: 962634928X
ISBN-13: 9789626349281
Sku: 207679270
Publish Date: 10/1/2008
Pages:  2
Age Range:  NA
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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. (from the first line)
Socially critical and emotionally complex, Tess of the DUrbervilles is Hardys masterpiece. It tells the story of Tess Durbeyfield, forced by her familys poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy DUrbervilles. Violated by the son Alec; her hopes of rebuilding her life with the gentle and bookish Angel Clare founder when he learns of her past. Set among the lush pastures and bleak uplands of Hardys imagined Wessex, and filled with unforgettable images of tenderness and tragedy, the story examines conventional morality through Tess herself: one of the best-loved characters in English literature. Sensitively read by Imogen Stubbs.
Because of its sexual frankness and indictment of Victorian hypocrisy, Hardy's novel was considered shocking when it was published in 1891. It is the tale of Tess Durbeyfield, a young country girl whose rape by Alec D'Urberville, a distant aristocratic relative, leads to pregnancy. Tess's baby dies, and she finds work as a dairymaid at a farm where no one knows her story. From that point, her life, which includes marriage with a man, Angel Clare, who fails to realize her worth, enters a downward spiral, culminating in the sensational tragedy that is at the heart of the book. The cynical and sophisticated Alec's seduction of a country girl, and the self-righteous Angel's destructive idealization of her, can be seen as symbols of the city's ruthless exploitation of the English countryside--a common theme in Hardy's fiction. His compassionate portrait of a young countrywoman was also characteristic of his writing, which never failed to champion the cause of rural lives and values against those of the corrupting city.
Author Bio
Thomas Hardy
Born in Dorset, Thomas Hardy wrote about his native region all his life, calling it "Wessex" in his novels. Hardy was apprenticed to an architect at 15, but began to write novels in his spare time when he was in his 20s. His first novel was rejected by George Meredith, a reader for the publisher he sent it to, but he was considered promising, and Meredith encouraged him to try again. Hardy, who had also been writing poetry, gave it up temporarily for fiction, and his first novel was published three years later. He abandoned architecture for the life of a writer, producing a series of masterpieces that ended with "Jude the Obscure" in 1896. That novel's frankness and unsparing bleakness met with such a hostile reception that Hardy returned to writing poetry, which he continued to produce until the end of his life. His novels are strongly determinist, demonstrating the ways in which the forces of nature shape human existence: People are at the mercy of their passions; fate and chance rule their lives, and the only heroic path is endurance. His poetry contains similar themes, and all of his work is permeated with a melancholy that often turns to tragedy.


Athenaeum (London), 19th-century
"[N]ot only good, but great." 01/09/1892

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