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A Pair of Blue Eyes

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  3,886 ratings  ·  184 reviews
Elfride Swancourt is the daughter of the Rector of Endelstow, a remote sea-swept parish in Corwall based on St Juliot, where Hardy began A Pair of Blue Eyes during the beginning of his courtship of his first wife, Emma. Blue-eyed and high-spirited, Elfride has little experience of the world beyond, and becomes entangled with two men: the boyish architect, Stephen Smith, an ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published November 3rd 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1873)
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Christopher H.
This was a fast read, and I very much enjoyed it! If you are already a Hardy fan, I heartily recommend reading A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873); if you aren't, this just might make you one. A Pair of Blues Eyes was the third novel published by Hardy, and the first published under his own name. In his later years, Hardy created three categories in which he placed all of his fiction. The largest category, "Novels of Character and Environment," includes the well known core of his oeuvre also known as the ...more
I love this Thomas Hardy novel almost as much as Tess of the D'Urbervilles. It is partly autobiographical, with the heroine Elfride based on his first wife Emma Gifford. It is a short, romantic novel with interesting characters and many twists and turns that are unexpected, especially the ending. Well written as are all of Hardy's novels.
Curse you Thomas Hardy! Curse you for tearing my heart out and making me cry like a dummie over fictional characters. I thought I was so smart and knew what was going to happen and you ripped the rug out from under me. You left me without my happy ending. Curse you! And the saddest thing is that I am no newcomer to Hardy. I've read your work before. As I cracked this one open I thought of my teenage favorite, Return of the Native. I should have thought of Tess! Yeah, you heard me. Poor TEss and ...more
Before he turned to the exclusive writing of poetry late in his life, Thomas Hardy wrote a series of marvelous novels, some of which many of us were introduced to early in our lives. His novels were written during the Victorian period, a period in which his views were profoundly at odds with the progressive optimism so prevalent within the general public. Rather he focused primarily on rural life in the south of England (“Wessex”), emphasizing the implacability of fate, decline of rural life and ...more
A Pair of Blue Eyes was Thomas Hardy’s third published novel, written in 1873 it was autobiographical, as the heroine Elfride Swancourt is based on Hardy’s first wife Emma Gifford. The novel is set in Cornwall where Hardy met Emma in 1870.Elfride Swancourt is a sheltered rectors daughter, with romantic notions(in the book she’s writing a romantic novel) when Stephen Smith a handsome young architect arrives to do some business with her father he falls in love with Elfride, and from this point on ...more
From BBC radio 4 Extra:
Thomas Hardy's partly autobiographical story about the love triangle between a young woman, Elfride Swancourt, and her two suitors from very different backgrounds

Jeremy Irons is splendid!!!
A dream novel. A novel of an eighteen year old dream. Of impossibility to come to terms to life and what it offers. A dream shattered. I compare it to Zola's Reve, le reve de son heroine Angelique, dreaming away under the medieval cathedral'S shadow, embroidering her destiny in.
Elfride Swancourt was a girl whose emotions lay very near the surface. Their nature more precisely, and as modified by the creeping hours of time, was known only to those who watched the circumstances of herhistory.
Of cou
This book was strange for me to read. I didn't really like it, but at the same time, I wanted to know what was going to happen. I know it's very much a product of it's time, but still.

Elfride I found fickle, vapid, and honestly rather boring. Stephen was the sappy lover without much personality. Knight was condescending and cruel to her.

Basically, the story is thus:

Girl falls in love with dude #1, dad says no because he is below them. #1 goes to India to make his fortune so he can marry her.
4 stars. What seems at first (and is really) a typical 19th century light romance, with all the attendant silliness, is actually a pretty astute study of innocent deceit, the pitfalls of over-idealization, the social constraints of being a woman, the sometimes minute differences between love and possession, and the destructive nature of jealousy, especially when it’s based on assumption and mere suspicion. None of this is particularly exceptional, but Hardy’s prose is—-I love it, and so althoug ...more
'Because I utter commonplace words, you must not suppose I think only commonplace thoughts. My poor stock of words are like a limited number of rough moulds I have to cast all my materials in, good and bad; and the novelty or delicacy of the substance is often lost in the coarse triteness of the form.'

Romanzo accessibilissimo di Hardy, che pur mantenendo i suoi temi fondamentali (la natura, il pessimismo, la vita rurale, le restrizioni sociali, il fatalismo) risulta più leggero di altri e per qu
A Pair of Blue Eyes

I took reading this novel as a challenge because this is my first time to read such a long novel .Also, it consists of (344) pages, the English level of it is somehow difficult and the most important point I DON’T LIKE READING ROMANTIC STORIES AT ALL! >_<”

But I said to myself that I will read it and I will defeat my fears.
Surprisingly, It was an extremely enjoyable book and I don’t mind rereading it whenever I have free time.
I read it from cover to cover ^_^ and didn’t m
Read this as part of the Thomas Hardy reading challenge. The second time I have read this novel, and yet I found I had remembered nothing of the story at all. I was puzzled by this as I found it hugely readable, and really very gripping in parts, which I must surely have done the first time I read it. The prose is beautiful, the descriptions of landscape, and buildings are lovely. It is a wonderfully accessible Hardy novel, and one I would recommend to people who don't like some of the better kn ...more
This is a novel I would highly recommend to everybody, not only to Hardy's fans. The story is so nicely unfolded and detailed that you can almost feel the wind in that spellbinding cliff scene.
This is a simple story, don't expect great literary references or witty remarks. But it is told with so much gentleness and the characters are very well portrayed and developed.
Elfride, though, is not as the other Hardy's heroines, she is young, gullible and has grown up protected by her father. I though
Elfride is the heroine of this story, who at first appears a little dim-witted for me to indentify with. She seemed rather to be in love with love than the men who admire her. Expect the unexpected in this book. All of the twists and turns make you think you know the road to be traveled, but the surprises around every corner keep you coming back.
A Pair of Blue Eyes' claim to fame is that it is the book that brought us the term "cliffhanger". It was first published as a serialized novel, and one of the chapters ends with a man literally dangling off the edge of a remote cliff with no trees or rope in sight as a rescue aid and his only hope the brawn of his young woman companion.

The book features a love triangle between the wishy-washy Elfride, the douchebag Mr. Knight, and the doe-eyed Stephen. I'm not sure any reader would hope Elfride
A Pair of Blue Eyes tells the story of Elfride Swancourt, relating her struggles in love as she juggles two very contrasting love interests. The first is Stephen Smith, an architect who visits the remote village where Elfride lives to develop plans for a church restoration. After he’s won her heart, he reveals that he has a burdensome secret. The essence of his secret uncovers that he is socially inferior to Elfride, a fact that Elfride is not concerned with but her father cannot be convinced th ...more
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One of Hardy's earlier works and, if you're familiar with his style and themes, you'll see that it definitely reads like it. This was written before he'd really hit his stride in terms of writing tragic romances which later culminated in one of his most famous novels and also the least well-received, "Jude the Obscure." There are little touches of tragedy and disappointments here and there, and, if you know how Hardy novels tend to end, skillfully done pieces of foreshadowing that, far from comi ...more
Ruthie Jones
Thomas Hardy never disappoints! A Pair of Blue Eyes is his third novel, and it’s quite a lovely book. While the central scene shocked Victorian readers, that dramatic scene is very mild for today’s readers. That doesn’t mean this short book doesn’t have anything to offer. Hardy does a magnificent job twisting the plot and giving the reader a well-developed and unpredictable story. Some may call Elfride Swancourt a weak and watery girl, and she is! But she also has her moments of bravery, and she ...more
Every Thomas Hardy novel becomes my favourite while it is being read, but it is difficult to understand why this early gem is not even more lauded. Perhaps it just hasn't yet been made into a memorable TV series. A challenge for you Andrew Davies. My familiarity with the location - around Boscastle in Cornwall - which has been the scene of a more recent natural disaster, makes it an even more enjoyable read. The description of the natural landscape, viscissitudes of weather and local architectur ...more
This was OK. Better than Under the Greenwood Tree--and limited to only a few "humorous" chapters featuring rustics (gawd). Mostly it's just not consistent: parts are boring (the opening chapters are very slow), there are far too many literary allusions clogging up the works (especially early on), and the ending is stupid. But isolated scenes (the whole cliff scene, Knight trying to buy the earrings, Knight seeing Elfride looking in the mirror) are brilliant, and the awkward lovers' debates are c ...more
Aunque Thomas Hardy es uno de esos autores a los que hay que aproximarse, A Pair of Blue Eyes, considerada la novela favorita de Proust, ha envejecido muy mal. Estilísticamente Hardy consigue unos pasajes hermosos y sugerentes, y unos diálogos creíbles y divertidos. Sin embargo, la historia de amor entre los dos jóvenes es un poco cursi y pueril, y la lectura se hace tediosa. Esperaba mucho más de este autor.
Well, this is the last Thomas Hardy book I'm going to read. I've decided that he never will allow a character in his story to be happy, never find mercy or forgiveness for any perceived misdeed. And so it is in A Pair of Blue Eyes. In the cronological biography of Hardy I noted that he became an agnostic sometime in his twenties. Perhaps his dissatisfaction with God is the reason he can ill-afford any kindness to a sufferer. Of his books I've read Far from the Madding Crowd, A Pair of Blue Eyes, ...more
Diana Long
"What a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive" might fit this novel by author Thomas Hardy. There are three protagonists in this story and as I have noticed in his other works,Hardy emphasizes the social order of the time and making matches with in ones own class. This work is brilliant and keeps you drawn into this tale never knowing where he will lead. I did find more than a bit of humor and some thought-provoking moments. Hardy novels have a lot to offer and even though most were ...more
Casnewydd Hydra
Always a happy ending with TH?
Todd Stockslager
Review title: Hardy opens the door to his future fame
The third book published in his slowly accelerating career brings Hardy to.the style and moral principles that will finally bring him fame and acclaim as a writer. Desperate Remedies was a derivative genre novel, Under the Greenwood Tree was a picturesque but slight prose painting. In A Pair of Blue Eyes Hardy starts to speak in his own voice and establish his fictional Wessex as his home base.

Elfride Swancourt is the girl with the blue eyes,
A wonderful yet melancholic tale of the irrepressible and flighty Elfride Swancourt and her romantic entanglements.
Living as she does in the country Eflride is not very worldy wise and when a youthful architect from London comes to stay at her father's rectory while down in the country on a job for his firm Elfride cannot help but fall in love with him.
But alas the attachment is more a novelty than real love and when things progress so far and her father finds out about the pair's feelings for e
Krissi Hill
I really enjoyed this novel, by Thomas Hardy. It is set in Cornwall and follows the story of Hardy's engagement to his first wife, Emma. I love books that reveal things about their authors and this novel certainly does that. The architect and his employer's daughter fall desperately and deeply in love, but the bitter tone reflects Hardy's own resentment in his choice of wife. Soon after their marriage and having been unable to have children, Emma and Thomas Hardy grew estranged from one another. ...more
Tragic love triangle of a young woman torn between a younger and older man.
....and nobody lives happily ever after. Always, Hardy is able to pull at the heart strings as he creates passions and hopes and stories with secrets. Although there was potential for a happy ending - indeed, true love existed - I knew Hardy well enough to not expect a happy unfolding. And I was right to be leery. Elfride and her blue eyes captured the hearts well enough and her honesty was also her dishonesty. As in the book Tess of the Duberville, I found myself saying to myself, "Tell him! Te ...more
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A Pair of Blue Eyes, 2 17 Oct 28, 2014 11:23AM  
Works of Thomas H...: * A Pair of Blue Eyes: General Discussion 34 23 Jul 24, 2014 09:55PM  
  • Felix Holt: The Radical
  • Aurora Floyd
  • The Small House at Allington
  • Miss Marjoribanks (Chronicles of Carlingford, #5)
  • Man and Wife
  • Sylvia's Lovers
  • The Egoist
  • East Lynne
  • The History of Henry Esmond, Esq.
Thomas Hardy, OM, was an English author of the naturalist movement, although in several poems he displays elements of the previous romantic and enlightenment periods of literature, such as his facination with the supernatural. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain. The bulk of his work, set mainly in the semi-fictional land of Wessex, delineates char ...more
More about Thomas Hardy...
Tess of the D'Urbervilles Far from the Madding Crowd  Jude the Obscure The Mayor of Casterbridge The Return of the Native

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“There are disappointments which wring us, and there are those which inflict a wound whose mark we bear to our graves. Such are so keen that no future gratification of the same desire can ever obliterate them: they become registered as a permanent loss of happiness.” 58 likes
“You ride well, but you don't kiss nicely at all.” 29 likes
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