Alina's Reviews > Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
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Oct 08, 12

Recommended for: Women especially, but anyone.
Read from May 05 to October 09, 2012, read count: 1

Tragic but beautifully written. At times gut-wrenchingly sad, and at others wonderfully sentimental and tender...and oftentimes both. So powerful and compelling is this story and at once utterly devastating. A must-read for anyone. Even though it is such a tragic story, you are left feeling so bereft upon reaching the end. Hardy's stark literary style, not prone to embellished descriptions or fancifulness of any kind, is in my view the main reason why this story is such an emotionally draining and taxing read. I found myself willing the universe (aka, the author) to turn in Tess's favour for once and deal her a fair hand, but she is ultimately the victim of her circumstances which are compounded and made worse yet by her being a woman - a young and beautiful one at that (these qualities being essentially the reason for her misfortune and demise).
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Quotes Alina Liked

Thomas Hardy
“Clare had studied the curves of those lips so many times that he could reproduce them mentally with ease: and now, as they again confronted him, clothed with colour and life, they sent an aura over his flesh, a breeze through his nerves, which wellnigh produced a qualm; and actually produced, by some mysterious physiological process, a prosaic sneeze.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles
tags: humor

Thomas Hardy
“A strong woman who recklessly throws away her strength, she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“In the ill-judged execution of the well-judged plan of things the call seldom produces the comer, the man to love rarely coincides with the hour for loving. Nature does not often say "See!" to her poor creature at a time when seeing can lead to happy doing; or reply "Here!" to a body's cry of "Where?" till the hide-and-seek has become an irksome, outworn game. We may wonder whether at the acme and summit of the human progress these anachronisms will be corrected by a finer intuition, a close interaction of the social machinery than that which now jolts us round and along; but such completeness is not to be prophesied, or even conceived as possible. Enough that in the present case, as in millions, it was not the two halves of a perfect whole that confronted each other at the perfect moment; a missing counterpart wandered independently about the earth waiting in crass obtuseness till the late time came. Out of which maladroit delay sprang anxieties,disappointments, shocks, catastrophes, and passing-strange destinies.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Beauty lay not in the thing, but in what the thing symbolized.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Don't think of what's past!" said she. "I am not going to think outside of now. Why should we! Who knows what tomorrow has in store? ”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Her affection for him was now the breath and life of Tess's being; it enveloped her as a photosphere, irradiated her into forgetfulness of her past sorrows, keeping back the gloomy spectres that would persist in their attempts to touch her—doubt, fear, moodiness, care, shame. She knew that they were waiting like wolves just outside the circumscribing light, but she had long spells of power to keep them in hungry subjection there.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“...she moved about in a mental cloud of many-coloured idealities, which eclipsed all sinister contingencies by its brightness.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Why it was that upon this beautiful feminine tissue, sensitive as gossamer, and practically blank as snow as yet, there should have been traced such a coarse pattern as it was doomed to receive; why so often the coarse appropriates the finer thus, the wrong man the woman, the wrong women the man, many years of analytical philosophy have failed to explain to our sense of order”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“You, and those like you, take your fill of pleasure on earth by making the life of such as me bitter and black with sorrow; and then it is a fine thing, when you have had enough of that, to think of securing your pleasure in heaven by becoming converted!”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Their position was perhaps the happiest of all positions in the social scale, being above the line at which neediness ends, and below the line at which the convenances begin to cramp natural feeling, and the stress of threadbare modishness makes too little of enough.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“By experience", says Roger Ascham, "we find out a short way by a long wandering." Not seldom that long wandering unfits us for further travel, and of what use is our experience to us then?”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Many...have learned that the magnitude of lives is not as to their external displacements, but as to their subjective experiences. The impressionable peasant leads a larger, fuller, more dramatic life than the pachydermatous king.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“The beauty or ugliness of a character lay not only in its achievements, but in its aims and impulses; its true history lay, not among things done, but among things willed.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Under the trees several pheasants lay about, their rich plumage dabbled with blood; some were dead, some feebly twitching a wing, some staring up at the sky, some pulsating quickly, some contorted, some stretched out—all of them writhing in agony except the fortunate ones whose tortures had ended during the night by the inability of nature to bear more. With the impulse of a soul who could feel for kindred sufferers as much as for herself, Tess’s first thought was to put the still living birds out of their torture, and to this end with her own hands she broke the necks of as many as she could find, leaving them to lie where she had found them till the gamekeepers should come, as they probably would come, to look for them a second time. “Poor darlings—to suppose myself the most miserable being on earth in the sight o’ such misery as yours!” she exclaimed, her tears running down as she killed the birds tenderly.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“How very lovable her face was to him. Yet there was nothing ethereal about it; all was real vitality, real warmth, real incarnation. And it was in her mouth that this culminated. Eyes almost as deep and speaking he had seen before, and cheeks perhaps as fair; brows as arched, a chin and throat almost as shapely; her mouth he had seen nothing to equal on the face of the earth. To a young man with the least fire in him that little upward lift in the middle of her red top lip was distracting, infatuating, maddening. He had never before seen a woman’s lips and teeth which forced upon his mind with such persistent iteration the old Elizabethan simile of roses filled with snow.
Perfect, he, as a lover, might have called them off-hand. But no — they were not perfect. And it was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“It was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“The atmosphere beneath is languorous, and is so tinged with azure that what artists call the middle distance partakes also of that hue, while the horizon beyond is of the deepest ultramarine.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Bless thy simplicity, Tess”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“A sort of halo, an occidental glow, came over life then. Troubles and other realities took on themselves a metaphysical impalpability, sinking to mere mental phenomena for serene contemplation, and no longer stood as pressing concretions which chafed body and soul.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles
tags: senses

Thomas Hardy
“The stage of mental comfort to which they had arrived at this hour was one wherein their souls expanded beyond their skins, and spread their personalities warmly through the room.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“She was but a transient impression, half forgotten.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“They were as sublime as the moon and stars above them, and the moon ans stars were as ardent as they.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“It was terribly beautiful to Tess today, for since her eyes last fell upon it she had learnt that the serpent hisses where the sweet birds sing.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Justice” was done, and the President of the Immortals (in Aeschylean phrase) had ended his sport with Tess.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“She tried to argue, and tell him that he had mixed in his dull brain two matters, theology and morals, which in the primitive days of mankind had been quite distinct.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks…”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“She was yawning, and he saw the red interior of her mouth as if it had been a snake’s. She had stretched one arm so high above her coiled-up cable of hair that he could see its satin delicacy above the sunburn; her face was flushed with sleep, and her eyelids hung heavy over their pupils.The brim-fulness of her nature breathed from her.It was a moment when a woman’s soul is more incarnate than at any other time; when the most spiritual beauty bespeaks itself flesh; and sex takes the outside place in the presentation.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“O, you have torn my life all to pieces... made me be what I prayed you in pity not to make me be again!”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Never in her life – she could swear it from the bottom of her soul – had she ever intended to do wrong; yet these hard judgments had come. Whatever her sins, they were not sins of intention, but of inadvertence, and why should she have been punished so persistently?”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“He knelt and bent lower, till her breath warmed his face, and in a moment his cheek was in contact with hers. She was sleeping soundly, and upon her eyelashes there lingered tears...”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Why didn’t you tell me there was danger? Why didn’t you warn me? Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks; but I never had the chance of discovering in that way; and you did not help me!”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“She was not an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sensations, to anybody but herself. To all humankind besides Tess was only a passing thought. Even to friends she was no more than a frequently passing thought.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“...our impulses are too strong for our judgement sometimes”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“Meanwhile, the trees were just as green as before; the birds sang and the sun shone as clearly now as ever. The familiar surroundings had not darkened because of her grief, nor sickened because of her pain.

She might have seen that what had bowed her head so profoundly -the thought of the world's concern at her situation- was found on an illusion. She was not an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sensations, to anybody but herself.”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy
“I forgot the defective can be more than the whole”
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles


Reading Progress

09/29/2012 page 377
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