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Tess of the D'Urbervilles

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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  239,304 ratings  ·  8,775 reviews
Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780141439594.

When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain si
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Paperback, 518 pages
Published January 30th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1891)
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Walid M Rihane Well, to start with, the book is a tragedy. Secondly, Hardy uses the tragic style to critcise the Victorian society through a female character. So I t…moreWell, to start with, the book is a tragedy. Secondly, Hardy uses the tragic style to critcise the Victorian society through a female character. So I think Tragedy was the best way to highlight the flaws in the Victorian society rather than using a "happy" one.

Hope this answered your question(less)
Heather McAlister As Alec himself says: "Remember, my lady, I was your master once! I will be your master again. If you are any man's wife, you are mine!"

It's the class…more
As Alec himself says: "Remember, my lady, I was your master once! I will be your master again. If you are any man's wife, you are mine!"

It's the classic "I want you because I can't control you" mentality. When he first met Tess, he saw her as just another potential conquest. But she resisted his advances before the rape (which just made him want her even more), and after the rape she willingly left his service and turned down the money he offered as a half-hearted compensation.

When he saw her again a few years later, I think his old lust for her reared its head in a moment of shock and surprise when he saw her in a crowd. (After all, he was preaching against the sin of lust, then a living reminder of his own sinful past reared showed up out of the blue and reminded him of his old fun and conquests.) But, unsurprisingly, she wanted nothing to do with him. The more he tried to talk to her, the more she ignored and rebuffed him, the more he wanted her to pay attention to him; to bend to his will.

Remember, Alec is all about power and control. He gets off on controlling women beneath his station. Remember, before he raped Tess he did things like drive too fast to scare her into kissing him when she didn't want to, and force her to open her mouth to let him feed her a strawberry by hand, even though / BECAUSE it made her uncomfortable. He was used to being able to use his wealth and status to lord over poor women. He saw them as mares to break; things to conquer and then discard once he'd had his way with them. And he especially loved using his money to bribe and coerce them into doing what he wanted, be it submit to sex willingly, or take his pity money afterwards.

Tess is, for lack of a better term, "unique" for turning down his advances. No matter how much money he offers her, she would rather keep living in working poverty than enter his gilded cage. And the fact that she keeps saying "no" to him drives him crazy. Even after she finally breaks down and acquiesces to be his mistress to help her family, in spirit she never really submits to him; she doesn't love him, and she doesn't obey him fully.(less)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Stephen
Oct 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
HEADLINE: A bad guy who is fabulously talented in bed and a good guy who fumbles sex can complicate life for a girl.


I ought to have my head examined for undertaking a review of Tess of the d'Ubervilles, the next to the last of Thomas Hardy's novels. My purpose in considering the idea was that I might perhaps persuade one other person to read this novel who might not otherwise. I am all about service to my fellow man. However, there are strange aspects of this novel that when discussed in remove
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Nataliya
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads
Tess of the d'Urbervilles is not a feel-good book, which sharply sets it apart from the other 19th century novels about young women (think Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, for instance).



No, it's sad and depressing to the point where it almost makes me angry. Because poor Tess, prone to making choices that are invariably the worst for her, just cannot catch a break. Because it's like she has majorly pissed off some higher power(s) that be and they are taking revenge, giving her the most rotten
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karen
Apr 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: littry-fiction
there will probably be spoilers here. i will possibly rant. if you don't know what happens in tess, it is better not to read this review, although, frankly, to my way of thinking, hardy has so many superior novels, stories, poems, that you would be better served just avoiding this one and going on to one of the great ones like jude or mayor of casterbridge instead. but there is something sneaking up in me - a bubblingly vague feeling of well-wishing for poor doomed tess, that makes me think i mi ...more
Sean Barrs
Mar 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
Dear, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

I’m writing you this letter because you pissed me off. I’m angry, Tess. I’ve got a lot to say to you, and I want you to hear it. I will warn you though; I’m not holding anything back. We’re going to talk about everything, everything that happens in your life from beginning to end.

How could you be so silly? How could you be so hapless and so helpless? Why do you seem to be an ill-fated walking disaster of doom trodden woe? Why, oh why, did you never learn anything?
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Maria
Sep 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: classics
I hated this passionately, which is perhaps unfair, as the book is really quite admirable for tackling the subject of double standards applied to male and female sexual behaviour. But this is one of the most depressing, pointless novels I’ve ever read in my life. I have loathed this book for ten years and I will not stop.
Cori
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of classic literature
From my blog:

This book was fantastic. It was bleak and heartbreaking, but fantastic. I'm not sure I've ever been so sad for a main character before. But wow, Hardy can write. I'm going to outline the plot, including the ending, so please note that there are SPOILERS AHEAD.

Tess Durbeyfield, a poor girl, finds out she's actually the descendant of the once-mighty D'Urbervilles. She goes in search of work at her relatives' home, and meets Alec D'Urberville (no actual relation -- he stole the name),
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Amit Mishra
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The novel subtitles 'A pure woman faithfully presented', the novel expresses Hardy's rejection of the conventional heroine of the Victorian novel. He provoked the cntroversies in that period.
However, coming to the novel it is slightly different than the usual Hardy's fiction. The novel is from the perspective of a girl and how she comes out of poverty-ridden life.
Ahmad Sharabiani
808. Tess of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented is a novel by Thomas Hardy. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British illustrated newspaper The Graphic in 1891 and in book form in 1892. Though now considered a major nineteenth-century English novel and possibly Hardy's fictional masterpiece. Tess is the oldest child of John and Joan Durbeyfield, uneducated peasants. However, John is given the impr
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Henry Avila
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is really about timing, it effects us all, meet someone at the wrong time or go north instead of south, your life can end badly. Ordinary events, can change our destiny. Timing is everything... Tess Durbeyfield is born into a poor, rural, southern English family of eight, in the village of Marlott, Wessex. A lazy father, John, with a taste for the bottle, and a mother, Joan, who would rather sing the latest songs, than do the necessary chores, at home. But she grows up a very attracti ...more
Lisa
So I finished Tess of the d'Urbervilles, my first encounter with Thomas Hardy. But will it ever leave me?

The Justice of Society has done its duty on a young woman and The Injustice of Life is safely secured for the predators of the next generation. A Dark Angel is left alone on the stage, holding in his hand a new and even more vulnerable victim, and the reader is scarred to the bone.

I loved Tess so much!

How could I not love her, even though I angrily tried to persuade her at every step to let
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Helle
I finally read this classic for a book club recently, my own copy of the novel having languished on my shelves for too many years. I realized, after the book club meeting, that I had probably expected it to be a discussion-cum-appreciation session, Tess being after all a cornerstone in English literature. Not a bit of it.

Woman who suggested it: Well, as you know I love the classics, and I think this is a great book. I’ve read it many times.

Me (sitting next to her): I really liked it, too, and w
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Lizzy
I need to start by venting all the despair I felt reading Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D`Ubervilles. This tale is certainly not Pride or Prejudice or even Jane Eyre where the heroines have the prospect or the hope of happiness. What could a woman of Tess’s time and situation hope for? Contentment? But not even that was in store for our poor heroine. Tess sweet, loving nature is invariably abused by men, specifically the two central male characters of Alec D'Urberville and Angel Clare. The road tha ...more
Matthew
4 to 4.5 stars

This was a reread of a required reading book from high school. Usually I am rereading required reading because I did not like the book back then and I want to see if I like it now. But, in this case, I really liked this one when I read it in high school and I really liked it now, too!

There is just something about Hardy that I enjoy. In the past couple of years I read Far From The Madding Crowd and loved it as well. The feel of the writing is not much different from other books I ha
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Duane
This review contains spoilers.

Young Tess Durbyfield, one of the sweetest, most likable, yet tragic, characters in literature. "A pure woman faithfully presented", as Hardy calls her in the sub-title of the book. She is sent out from her family home by her mother and father to the great family of the D'Ubervilles to claim her share of the family fortune. But her pure, innocent mind is no match for the roguish Alec D'Uberville, and their meeting sets Tess on a path that will eventually lead to her
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David Schaafsma
“Did you say the stars were worlds, Tess?"
"Yes."
"All like ours?"
"I don't know, but I think so. They sometimes seem to be like the apples on our stubbard-tree. Most of them splendid and sound - a few blighted."
"Which do we live on - a splendid one or a blighted one?"
"A blighted one.”

Tess of the D’Urbervilles is the 1896 masterpiece by Thomas Hardy of Tess Durbeyville, her family bloodline long fallen from aristocratic heights. The central themes are critiques of class and blood distinctions and
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Rowena
If I'd only known how much I would enjoy this book, I wouldn't have let it sit on my shelf for 5 long years!

I adore classics but it is hard for me to read a lot of them without feeling some indignation of the injustices dealt to women. Hardy presents us with Tess, a young woman who really doesn't have much control over her life. She is forced to sacrifice herself time and again for her family, including her child-like parents. Poor Tess. My heart really ached for her. Having to go through all s
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unknown
There's this Lars von Trier movie called Dancer in the Dark, starring Björk of all people. She plays a poor factory worker in rural America. She's going blind (which is not great when you work around heavy machinery), but she needs to save up enough money to pay for an eye operation for her son. To escape her misery, she imagines elaborate musical sequences in her mind. She's also kind of an idiot.

Now, what Lars is going for here could be called misogyny or satire or sociopathy, but in short: he
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Apatt
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“I felt a little like a man reading a very grim book. A Thomas Hardy novel, say. You know how it’s going to end, but instead of spoiling things, that somehow increases your fascination. It’s like watching a kid run his electric train faster and faster and waiting for it to derail on one of the curves.”
Stephen King, 11/22/63
When I was reading King’s 11/22/63 I noted down this line because I was planning to read Tess of the d'Urbervilles soon and from its reputation and the two other Thomas Hardy
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Jason Koivu
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Damn it, Tess! Stand up for yourself! Ugh.... Is there anything more infuriating than seeing dudes get away with being two-faced assholes towards women and the women accepting it as a matter of course?

Certainly Thomas Hardy was writing of a time and place that not only condoned the privilege of condescending white male superiority, it perpetuated it by both sexes accepting it as the standard of the day. More like double standard of the day. What's good for the gander is NOT okay for the goose to
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Rakhi Dalal
May 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, classics, hardy
Thomas Hardy doesn’t need any introduction by me. An eminent writer from the nineteenth century, his work is an evidence of the social recounts, which added a more humanitarian perspective to the cause and whose other advocates included the writers like George Eliot, Thackeray and Dickens. Hardy was much aware of the sad state of farm workers, especially women during those times. The dilemma faced by women, who were the victims of seduction, appalled Hardy and he was aghast at lack of concern to ...more
J
Jan 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could have been perfectly happy with Alec. Then Angel broke my heart. I had trouble making out the words through my white-hot indignant anger. Then I cried and cried and the type ran and all those painful words pooled down at the bottom of the page before running out onto my lap. I've never told anyone these things. Should I have? Does anyone care?
notgettingenough
Sep 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pre20th-century


Not long ago I had a parting with my mother which was unexpectedly emotional. We both hastily pulled back from that, not being given to such displays with each other, but a few days later my mother wrote to say she was suddenly overwhelmed with the sense that there are more partings than meetings in life, if that were philosophically possible.

A mathematician, I fancy, would say this is a perfectly simple situation. If there is a parting, there must have been a meeting, just as for every ending a
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Helene Jeppesen
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very beautiful story about Tess, who grows from being a child to being a woman. What she goes through is heart-wrenching; however, having now finished this book I'm left with a huge question mark above my head.
First of all, I really liked how Thomas Hardy structured this story.
He leaves out bits and pieces which makes the story even more compelling. I thought that we would eventually get the answers to some of our questions, but no! All we get are small hints as to what has happened
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Jr Bacdayan
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
It pains me to say that whenever I hear about Tess of the d'Urbervilles, I automatically associate it with Fifty Shades of Grey. Oh, that this masterpiece be besmirched in my mind by that rubbish is a travesty! Thus, I resolutely set upon disconnecting the thread by finally reading this book. And what a journey this has taken me in. I've heard from a lot of people, that Tess is one of Mr. Hardy's more inferior works. This being my first Hardy experience. Honestly, if you call this is inferior, t ...more
Arah-Lynda
Apr 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-said
I am quite conflicted by this read.

On the one hand, Hardy’s style is flawless, beautiful as he describes the country side, the dairy, drawing out the vivid landscapes of this story. His delicious bits delight the senses with heart stopping sensitivity. And then there is his Tess our protagonist….poor Tess

is so downtrodden, her journey so bleak, hello Holden Caulfield this is PUT UPON. Still Tess is strong and holds close, her own little sparks, nuggets of hope, she tucks them way back, protectiv
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Merphy Napier
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5

I get that this book has a lot of mixed reviews and I totally see why. But I loved it. I was so attached to Tess and on the edge of my seat to see what would happen to her. And that ending... wow. I just loved it
Michelle
Ugh Tess! I'm no expert on classics but I've read enough to say with some confidence that Tess must be the unluckiest woman in classic literature.

Ugh Tess! She literally does go from one nightmare to the next and it didnt even frustrate me that she took everything on the chin as I just felt life had worn her down so much she was exhausted.

Ugh Tess! I actually feared this book was going to put me into a reading slump as while the story line is actually quite good it does drag on in true classic
...more
Melissa
This is mostly just a note for me-- I wrote it as I finished the book, and it definitely gives away the ending, but I wanted to post it here because I decided this would be a good place for me to keep track of my thoughts.
--------------------------
I just finished reading Tess of the D'urbervilles, and I have to say I'm a little disappointed. Maybe disappointed is not the right word... but it's more than just bummed about the sad parts of the plot. Of course, I am sad about the way the story en
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Charlotte May
Poor Tess! Her life is literally shit - I don't know how she makes it through all that she does.
Props to Thomas Hardy for creating a novel with such tragedy and pain throughout - its a far cry from the high classes of Jane Austen.
I don't mind tragic or dark books - in fact i enjoy those more than novels that attempt to make everything sunshine and roses, and in doing so Hardy comments on the madness of social conventions and morals during Victorian England.
Tess Durbeyfield is born into a poor fa
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Perry
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stela-eða-láni
The Novel as a "Ball of Light in One's Hand"

As one reads Thomas Hardy's 1891 novel, it can be terribly tough to swallow the unremitting victimization of Tess, a poor but "pure" girl from a rural family. Hardy's theme calling on readers' sympathy for the female protagonist, while in many novels would be a glaring weakness, is by novel's end its supreme strength. I cannot think of another novel that comes close to the power and effectiveness in its scathing indictment of men's exploitation of
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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 fascination 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 cha ...more

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