Tess of the d'Urbervilles

A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented

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Author: Thomas Hardy
Published: 1891
Language: English
Wordcount: 149,682 / 427 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 71.4
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 29,355
Added to site: 2006.06.21
mnybks.net#: 13943
Origin: gutenberg.org
More Info: en.wikipedia.org

"Tess" is an exemplification of all the horrors of malignant destiny. By nature its heroine is incarnate goodness: every fibre of her being is pure; and yet, under the stress of circumstances, the compulsion of force and the beguilement of fraud, partly through ignorance, partly through delirium and desperation, she is harassed, degraded, despoiled, plunged into misery, goaded to the insane commission of homicide, and finally is hanged for murder.

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accustomed to many eyes.

And as each and all of them were warmed without by the sun, so each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in; some dream, some affection, some hobby, at least some remote and distant hope which, though perhaps starving to nothing, still lived on, as hopes will. They were all cheerful, and many of them merry.

They came round by The Pure Drop Inn, and were turning out of the high road to pass through a wicket-gate into the meadows, when one of the women said--

"The Load-a-Lord! Why, Tess Durbeyfield, if there isn't thy father riding hwome in a carriage!"

A young member of the band turned her head at the exclamation. She was a fine and handsome girl--not handsomer than some others, possibly--but her mobile peony mouth and large innocent eyes added eloquence to colour and shape. She wore a red ribbon in her hair, and was the only one of the white company who could boast of such a pronounced adornment. As she looked round Durbeyfield was seen moving alon


Average Rating of 4 from 6 reviews: ****

I kept delaying to finish this book because I was reading all the reviews about it being depressing and a bad ending, but finally I pushed myself to finish the book and I am so glad I did. I actually think the ending is so beautiful. Hardy created such a good, unselfish soul in this woman she sacrificed her life for others till the end, her pride and (I can do it myself) independence got in the way of getting the help she needed but I can relate to who she was. And I have great respect and honor for the incredible woman she was. Hardy also showed how when we lack self-worth we think negatively which avalanches to bad choices.


I'm a gent of little culture and worldly knowledge of certain classics. So I was going to read this book without any knowledge of its ending, but thanks to this synopsis/worst spoiler in history, I'm going to give it a miss.

I understand that the prose can still be enjoyable whilst knowing she hangs, but it kind of pissed me of a tad that I unwittingly stumbled across the knowledge that she dies.

Like I said I'm a man that still has many great books to read and maybe this knowledge of her death is well known to many people who en-devour to read it.

But for those of us who live in a dark misty cloud of the undiscovered, give us a chance to stumble on it ourselves via the book. Ta.


As moving a book as can be. After digesting the plot, and how Hardy's incredible blending of the scene's to the plot, one can still think long about what the story meant in 1891 and what it means now. The last chapter was incredibly well crafted. With the whole novel focused on Tess and detailing her actions coping with her hardships and betrayals, she's finally executed. But her demise is less by death than erasure. Days before her death the world around her indifferently moved on. The only public mark Tess left on the her world was a momentarily raised black pennant that waved freely in the breeze as if even it took no notice of Tess's life.


Really great if you like impressively depressing books that are written really well.


Great read. Brings you into the English country side with a interesting point of view.


Beautiful tale though the ending could have been better.Nevertheless an unforgettable saga of love,human tenacity & frailty.

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