Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tess of the D'Urbervilles” as Want to Read:
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Tess of the D'Urbervilles

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  221,975 ratings  ·  7,957 reviews
Etched against the background of a dying rural society, Tess of the d'Urbervilles was Thomas Hardy's 'bestseller,' and Tess Durbeyfield remains his most striking and tragic heroine. Of all the characters he created, she meant the most to him. Hopelessly torn between two men—Alec d'Urberville, a wealthy, dissolute young man who seduces her in a lonely wood, and Angel Clare, her provinci ...more
Kindle Edition, 376 pages
Published (first published 1891)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tess of the D'Urbervilles, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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…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)
Dave Recall the mare that pulled the carriage in which Alec took Tess to Tantridge. Alec had a need to master the wild mare even at risk of killing himself…moreRecall the mare that pulled the carriage in which Alec took Tess to Tantridge. Alec had a need to master the wild mare even at risk of killing himself trying. Hardy describes the undulating form of the mare alluding that Alec's passion in mastery there's a sexual element.

Later in the novel Alec cunningly takes possession of Tess' body, but Tess never surrenders her spirit to him. Regardless of how much he demanded of her and how he tormented her with his attentions, she kept her spirit removed from him. Hardy describes her ability to separate her body and spirit at the Talbothays communal meal table. When Angel returns to her near the novel's end he says he found her spirit adrift from her body. The separation of her body and spirit was obviously driving her insane, but by this time Tess had an evident death wish. (less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  221,975 ratings  ·  7,957 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Stephen
Oct 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 from the novel
...more
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 choice 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 luck. Because Tess seems to have
...more
karen
Apr 08, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 might convince myself o ...more
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
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 lea
...more
Cori
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Maria
Sep 12, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Amit Mishra
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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/>Me
...more
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 th
...more
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 that these two men lead her down bec ...more
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
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
Jason Koivu
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Apatt
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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 novels that I read I expected thatcurves.”Stephen
...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


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 ev
...more
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
...more
Jr Bacdayan
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Merphy Napier
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 st
...more
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 b
...more
Perry
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 poor wo
...more
Cheryl
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage
Having the narrator of Tess of the d'Urbervilles tell you a story is like waiting for an eloquent speaker and thinker to get to the point; still, you bear it because through elegant word placement, he throws elegiac strains your way, which makes you wait for the story of a despondent young woman who comes of age amid the pictorial naturalism that Hardy paints.

Waiting for a Hardy story to unfold is worth it, especially after you've waited for the dimming of the movie craze and you're probably the last person
...more
Kim
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

There are mild spoilers in this review and major spoilers in the comments which follow.

For the past 18 months I’ve been reacquainting myself with Thomas Hardy’s novels through the medium of audiobooks, starting with Alan Rickman’s excellent narration of The Return of the Native and moving on to listen to Under the Greenwood Tree, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude the Obscure. Overall, this has been a very positive experience and I’ve wanted to listen to Tess for a while, albeit with a degree of trepidation born of my past nega
...more
Laura
Nov 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-lit, classic
When I first read this at 18, I hated it with the heat of a thousand suns. Tess was weak, gullible, and apparently doomed to plunge herself from one bad situation into another, while Hardy was clearly a fatalistic atheist. Why on earth would anyone read him? I’m still wondering what possessed me to read other novels of his — perhaps a perverse desire to see if they were just as bad. Whatever the reason, I did continue reading him and surprisingly enough became a fan...but never of Tess! That remained ...more
Julie Christine
This book. What am I supposed to do about this book? Ridiculous to think I can say anything that hasn't been said by generations of readers, academics, and Cliff Notes. Thomas Hardy: Feminist Poet. Goddamn Amazing.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Anna Karenina
  • Lord of the Flies
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • Ethan Frome and Selected Stories
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Phineas Finn (Palliser, #2)
  • Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #2)
  • Daniel Deronda
  • Le Morte D'Arthur - Volume I
  • Vanity Fair
  • Cranford
  • The Portrait of a Lady
  • Little Dorrit
  • Sons and Lovers
  • New Grub Street
See similar books…
4,186 followers
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 character ...more
“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.” 1041 likes
“Beauty lay not in the thing, but in what the thing symbolized.” 471 likes
More quotes…