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Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 30 Jan 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Rev Ed edition (30 Jan. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439594
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Product Description

Review

""Audie Award winner Simon Vance's reading is straightforward, well paced, and clear."" ---Library Journal Audio Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

OCR-endorsed edition of this popular classic text, for use with the new OCR English GCE specifications --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By C. Arnold on 11 Sept. 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a novel so saturated with emotion it is almost too much just to read it. The plot revolves around the eponymous heroine, Tess Durbeyfield, a young and innocent girl who plunges headfirst into adulthood by giving birth to an illegitimate child. Tess is immediately condemned by a cruel society and her unavoidable fate is dragged out in heart wrenching detail by Hardy. What is most interesting about the novel is the author's obvious love for his character, and it is fascinating to imagine Hardy wishing for a happy ending just like the reader, yet at the same time knowing that he is unable to help Tess, his own creation. Everyone should read this novel, it has romance, murder, tragedy, injustice, intricate social commentary, and an intoxicating melancholia. The character of Tess is so well conceived by Hardy, she appears so realistic that the reader finds themselves weeping tears for her as if she were a loved one. Persevere with Hardy's somewhat lengthy descriptions of the surrounding landscape and you will find this novel to be as beautifully perfect as I did.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Aug. 1998
Format: Paperback
Tess of the D'Urbevilles, by Thomas Hardy, is a wonderful novel, which tragically and poignantly follows the ill-fated life of its heroine, Tess Durbeyfield. Through his exquisite use of imagery, his reflection of Tess in nature, and the continuing thread of tragedy which he weaves throughout the novel, Hardy is able to present to us one of the most memorable figures in English literature. Despite her sincerity and integrity, Tess is forever destined for disappointment, and Hardy's immensely lucid and descriptive writing allows the reader to appreciate this. I would recommend this tremendous piece of fiction to any readers interested in reading the work of a brilliant Victorian author, or for those who appreciate the paradox of sadness and beauty represented in the figure of a strong protagonist.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
'Tess' is a tragedy of sheer power - the reader at once becomes a companion to her plight and a friend in her solitude. A powerful emotional bond is created by Hardy; he leaves the reader totally alone at the end of the novel, sparing no emotion. The clarity, at times, is disturbed by the time period and slight linguistic idiosyncrasies, but the story remains completely unscathed: a tale of a young woman, corrupted, ruined, and left with nothing by fate.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. I had previously read The Mayor Of Casterbridge at school (15 years ago) and it has always stayed with me so I thought I would give Tess a try to see if Thomas Hardy could move me with another of his books and he sure did! I love the fact that even though his books were written a long long time ago the subject matter is still applicable today. I could really empathise with Tess, her independance, high morals & sheer stubborness reminds me of me. I could tell that Hardy genuinely cared about Tess to the point where I could easily think she was actually a real person.
I like how Hardy's novels are not happy endings, they are tragic but true to life.
I am going to read Jude of the obscure next and hope it measures up against these two.
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56 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Robert Machin on 3 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
I have to give Tess five stars because no book I have read before or since has moved me to such a degree. Thirty years later I still have my original copy, entirely disintegrated, the glue dissolved, in part I'm sure by my hot adolescent tears. It simply tore me apart - I remember in particular strugggling to finish Tess's letter from Flintcomb-Ash through eyes fogged with grief and that after finishing the book I was well-nigh inconsolable for days. I spent the following summer touring the Dorset locations on my bicycle as a kind of pilgrimage, and remember those cruel hills pretty well too.

But having said that, I was sixteen at the time and emotionally wide open. Reading it five years later, I could hardly get past the clumsiness and infelicities in the writing and the crude manipulation and melodrama of the plot. How could I have fallen for this? Reading it again another ten years further on I better understood the theatricality of it - it should be read in some ways like the old ballads with which Hardy was very familiar, with their highly exaggerated representations of good and evil - but the magic had gone.

Maybe the key is that Tess is a book written by an emotional adolescent - Hardy was a writer who arguably never really grew up, and his own relationships seem to bear this out - which speaks most forcefully to other adolescents. The melodrama and the suffering, the torment and the injustice which Tess is put through really are meat and drink to the average sensitive sixteen year old, but seem perhaps a bit foolish in retrospect.

But this isn't really a criticism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By marionkatrina on 25 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Being a Hardy first timer, nothing could really prepare me for the incredibly seductive and bittersweet experience that was reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Every element of this novel knocked me for six:the genius quality of the writing, the characterisation, the complexity of plot and the evocation of emotion.

Hardy's Tess, along with Tolstoy's Anna, is quite possibly the strongest female protagonist of all time. The oxymoronic nature of her pure, tempting beauty is fortified in the altruistic strength of her character. So unwavering is her virtue, at the detriment always to her own well being, that we plead for her to act shelfishly even once, as we in her position would surely have done. But Tess continues to act in the interests solely of those she loves and despite the hardship thrust upon her by her social position and sex, she hardly dwells on her misfortune in a self absorbed manner.

As to the implications of the ambiguous episode between Tess and Alec in the woods, some have argued that the perception of proceeding events is greatly altered by the reader's conviction as to whether Tess was raped or seduced by Alec. Personally, I do not believe for a second that it should bear any significance whatever in our feelings towards Tess. Indeed, one cannot help but sympathise and admire the selfless Tess as she anticipates and accepts her tragic end.

Hardy is truly a master storyteller. His command and manipulation of the English language effectuates flowing descriptions of countryside settings and evinces the full rainbow spectrum of human emotion: the passionate reds, the desolate blues, the warm yellows together all delineate complex, three dimmensional characters whom each have nuances of both black and white within them. In fact, it is this true characterisation which sparks our own emotions, rendering them intense and heartfelt.

A ridiculously emotional read.
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