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Tess of the D'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman (Penguin Classics) by Hardy, Thomas ( 2003 ) Paperback

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • ASIN: B00E32H9J6
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 11.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Will be dispatched from UK. Brand new copy.


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Top Customer Reviews

A 19th century tale of passion, injustice, love, betrayal, seduction and murder.

The story is set in rural Victorian England and centres on a young female protagonist and her troubled life. Tess is brought up in a large improvised household and she is a rather underprivileged though not unhappy girl. The early details of rural life during the summer and the close-knit community in which Tess lives really stands out, Hardy knew how to paint a picture through words. There's a lovely scene of a community dance taking place in the fields. Three middleclass young brothers trekking through the countryside happen to be passing, one stops for a dance, though not with Tess before quickly leaving.
The condition of the family worsens when her father takes to drink and the family horse is killed in an accident. Tess is whisked off to make money for the family by working for a rich distant relation, her mother hopes marriage to a wealthy gentleman might be the answer to all their woes.

Tess’s character when we first meet her is very sweet and honest, both trustworthy and trusting. She is a good daughter to her parents and shares the responsibility of looking after her siblings as the eldest one. She’s described as a big girl, bewitchingly beautiful in a pure rustic kind of way. The ideal kind of femininity back then was for a lady to be small and slight, to wear elegant dresses and basically to stay indoors, you’ll find lots of these in Dickens, Kippling, Doyle and even Austen. Tess doesn’t conform to this model, the female protagonist Hardy created was a subtle challenge for any reader at the time.

Tess quickly catches the attention of Alec D’Uuberville the rich young arrogant bad boy of the neighbourhood.
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This is an absolute classic. I return to this masterpiece every decade of so, finding new themes and emotionally reacting in different ways. It's got the typical Hardy themes - fallen women, good men turned bad by the prevailing moral tone of the day, the creeping industrialisation of the rural English past, the stark differences in class, and the usual large measure of folk dancing, village fetes, milking cows and religious zeal. It's not all brutal darkness - the drunken father provides some comic relief, but it's ultimately tragic and our heroine is doomed from the moment we first see her. There's a magic and mystery in the quiet lanes, the midnight woods where dreams are lost in the misty moonlight, and strange compelling beauty in the rolling Dorset hills. I've walked through this Hardy dreamscape many times, and always feel the ghost of poor Tess by my side. She is a restless soul, condemned to drift forever.
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what my daughter needed for A2 level, a bit expensive but gives extra info that the tutor said was needed
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Cracking read. As always with Hardy, there is a strong thread of the cruel workings of fate.
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