Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Book Description:
'She looked absolutely pure.  Nature, in her fantastic trickery, had set such a seal of maidenhood upon Tess's countenance that he gazed at her with a stupefied air:  "Tess—say it is not true!  No, it is not true!"'

A beautiful peasant descended from a decayed aristocratic family, Tess Durbeyfield is betrayed by two men.  The story of her violation by one, her abandonment by the other, and her tragic revenge shocked many of Hardy's readers; the debate focused on his representation of Tess as 'A Pure Woman'.

Hardy thought Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891) his finest novel, and Tess herself the most deeply felt character he ever created.  D. H. Lawrence and James Joyce testified to the significant effect this novel had in breaking down the barriers of literary censorship.

My Review:
Oh, my goodness, what a sad story!  I loved the poetic language used by Thomas Hardy—no one talks like that any more, sadly—but I much prefer a happy ending.

It was interesting to see how Tess was treated in her time for something that was not her fault and has been happening since the beginning of time.  I think (I hope) we are slightly more accepting nowadays.  I don't like to give away particulars of a book in my reviews that may spoil it for others, so I won't say exactly what happened to Tess or how she eventually dealt with it, but it will definitely be a book to be remembered.


Post a Comment