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A Pair of Blue Eyes
Thomas Hardy
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A Pair of Blue Eyes

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  3,622 ratings  ·  171 reviews
Elfride is the daughter of the Rector of Endelstow, a remote sea-swept parish in Cornwall based on St. Juliot, where Thomas Hardy began the book during the first days 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, and the older ...more
Published by Blue Unicorn Editions (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
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
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
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
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 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
4 ½ 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 althou ...more
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.
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
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
Casnewydd Hydra
Always a happy ending with TH?
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
....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
Mike Jensen
Do all of Hardy's novels have the same three part structure? Part one: great hope and promise for happiness. Part two: the center does not hold. Part three: things fall apart, often with a death. I grow aweary of the predictability of this, but that is Hardy's thing and probably what appeals to his fans.

This book has been criticized for patches of bad writing. It does not deserve to be criticized for operating with values that are now so foreign to most of us that it is difficult to sympathize w
I think that this is not a very good portrayal of love, considering the fact the Elfriede's feeling are never depicted very well. For example, when she falls in love with Stephen, all happens so fast, that you wonder from where came so much love. After a while, she becomes so committed to Knight that you ask yourself whether she really had a feeling for Stephen. Though I am not much of a fan of descriptions, I would have liked to read more about the personages' souls, how they felt, how they dev ...more
Liked the book but didn't like the main character..Elfride..:|
Vicky Thomasson
Thomas Hardy novels are a bit hit and miss for me. I didn't really enjoy Tess but I really enjoyed Far From The Madding Crowd. I found my hatred towards Elfred Swancourt really effected my reading enjoyment. What a horrid, immature girl! I started to despise her during her stroppy teenage girl behaviour towards Stephen and then the business with Knight really hammered the nail into the coffin. I did not feel sorry for her one bit and I'm only sorry that there wasn't a chance at the end for her t ...more
A Pair Of Blue Eyes is an early work of Hardy and shows a
lack of the maturity found in his later novels. The plot is a
credible love triangle involving an immature young girl,
Elfride Swancourt, her first love, Stephen Smith, and the man
who supplanted Smith in her affections, Henry Knight.

The best one can say of Elfride is that she's inexperienced and
cowed by her overbearing and self-important father, the Vicar
Christopher Swancourt. Apparently she's never made a decision
that she hasn't changed a
Julian Meynell
While I was reading this book, I initially wondered about why it was considered one of Hardy's lesser novels. It is not quite so dark and brooding as most of his works, but it has exceptionally good courtship scenes. The central heroine of the novel is marvellously done and the writing and landscape as always is excellent.

The book is about a kind of love triangle. Elfride is torn between two loves. The novel looks at the exploitation of women, class as it affects love, female inconstancy and abo
To me, felt like reading the equivalent of a modern day romance fiction except with olden day twists and ending. How tragic! But it had all the awkwardness of realistic predicaments like the awkwardness of not knowing how to kiss, how to tell a lover about your previous lover, your previous engagements with your lover, losing interest in one and growing an even stronger love for another, having those two lovers meet, etc etc. I laughed in those parts- I can relate. It was an easy read despite th ...more
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A Pair of Blue Eyes, 2 16 Oct 28, 2014 11:23AM  
Works of Thomas H...: * A Pair of Blue Eyes: General Discussion 34 17 Jul 24, 2014 09:55PM  
  • The Small House at Allington
  • Aurora Floyd
  • Romola
  • Sylvia's Lovers
  • No Name
  • The Egoist
  • East Lynne
  • The History of Henry Esmond, Esq.
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Miss Marjoribanks (Chronicles of Carlingford, #5)
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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