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Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Dover Thrift Editions) [Paperback]

by Thomas Hardy
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (407 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 14, 2001 0486415899 978-0486415895 1
A ne'er-do-well exploits his gentle daughter's beauty for social advancement in this masterpiece of tragic fiction. Hardy's 1891 novel defied convention to focus on the rural lower class for a frank treatment of sexuality and religion. Then and now, his sympathetic portrait of a victim of Victorian hypocrisy offers compelling reading.

Frequently Bought Together

Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Dover Thrift Editions) + Jane Eyre + Wuthering Heights (Dover Thrift Editions)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anna Bentinck ratchets up the melodrama for this full-blooded reading of Hardy's classic—a staple of high-school English classes everywhere. Students desperate to penetrate Hardy's notoriously slow masterpiece should turn to Bentinck, who gives it an intense emotional coloring. She makes Hardy sound like a brother to the Brontë sisters: passionate and brooding. Bentinck alternates between a crisp, precise narrative voice that sounds like Helen Mirren, and Tess's own voice, quavering, shallow and meek. Bentinck retains her composure throughout, and her assured performance may be a welcome rescue for struggling 11th graders across the country. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Library Journal

This edition of the Hardy classic includes a complete authoritative text plus biographical and historical contexts, critical history, essays by five scholars, and a glossary. A fine scholarly edition for the academic crowd.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 1 edition (June 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486415899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486415895
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (407 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
388 of 413 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars certainly one of the greatest novels ever written September 23, 2003
Format:Paperback
I was looking for another edition of TESS and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the "average customer rating" was only three stars. So I'm taking a moment to correct the balance.
TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES must be as close to a perfect novel as anyone has written in English. It is a genuine tragedy with a girl/woman as tragic hero. It is about life on earth in a way that transcends mere sociology. It has the grandeur of Milton but concerns itself with the lives of mortal beings on earth, as much with sex as with dirt, blood, milk, dung, animal and vegetative energies. It concerns itself with only essential things the way the Bible does. It is almost a dark rendering of the Beatitudes.
The story is built with such care and such genius that every incident, every paragraph, reverberates throughout the whole structure. Surely Hardy had an angel on his shoulder when he conceived and composed this work. Yet it was considered so immoral in its time that he had to bowdlerize his own creation in order to get it published, at first. Victorian readers were not prepared for the truth of the lives of ordinary women, or for a great many truths about themselves that Hardy presents.
The use of British history as a hall of mirrors and the jawdropping detail of the landscape of "Wessex" make it the Great English Novel in the way we sometimes refer to MOBY DICK as the Great American Novel, though the works don't otherwise bear comparison. Melville's great white whale is a far punier creation.
Hardy's style is like no one else's. It is not snappy, as Dickens can be. It is not fluid and elegant, like George Eliot's. It can feel labored and awkward and more archaic than either.
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100 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Brilliant June 29, 2001
Format:Hardcover
Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles is one of the best stories I've ever read. Its characters, especially Tess herself, are so alive and memorable that they stay in your mind long after you've finished the book. That being said, though, it's also not a novel for the casual reader. This book is so thought-provoking and, ultimately, heartbraking that it can't be easily forgotten, and will more than likely leave you with an overwhelming sadness for a long time afterward. I read a lot, and material with very different subject matters, so I'm not being melodramatic when I say that this book left me extremely choked up, and almost on the verge of tears. For a guy in his mid-20's who never gets emotional, I think that's saying quite a lot. It certainly left me with a lot of respect for the author. The reader comes to care so much about Tess, and agonize over the way her life turns out, that it becomes almost unbearable at times. For a fictional tale to have that effect on a person is quite incredible. Difficult or not, anyone who is interested in reading a brilliant and moving story that deserves to be called a classic should read Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
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110 of 119 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compellingly sad November 29, 2004
Format:Paperback
Recently, my brother and I were discussing the "poverty penalty," the concept that the poor pay more for what they must buy because they have no bargaining power to invite competition, which drives down prices. This is obviously not a new phenomenon, because poor Tess Durbeyfield pays quite a poverty penalty through the course of Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

This is the first novel of Hardy's I have read, but I chose it after reading "What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew" by Daniel Pool, a fabulous book about 18th century daily life.

Hardy's title, as quickly becomes evident, is tongue-in-cheek (he is author of my favorite title of a book, Jude the Obscure, which I haven't yet read) is ironic and mocking. Tess, the lovely and somewhat educated daughter of a cottager in Hardy's British district of Wessex, has the last name of Durbeyfield, but in the first pages of the book, her father, the ne'er-do-well, learns that he is descended from Norman aristocracy, the D'Urbervilles, and there aren't many of them left, except his clan, as the local reverend informs him. He instantly thinks himself very grand and takes it as an excuse to go carousing, which causes Tess and one of her many younger siblings to have to make an early morning journey with the horse for the family's means of making money. Sleeping on the journey, Tess wakes to find the horse impaled in a wreck and killed. Feeling guilty, she agrees to be sent as a poor relation to the Stoke-D'Urbervilles to seek assistance of some kind. (They are "new money" and have bought the name "D'Urberville" to build position for themselves, so they are actually no relation.)

There she encounters Alec D'Urberville, who pursues her vigorously, though she repeatedly eschews his attentions.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Extraordinary Novels Ever July 23, 2003
By mp
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Despite its seemingly needless tragedy, its persistently downbeat tone, and its relentlessly persecuted heroine, Thomas Hardy's 1891 novel, "Tess of the D'Urbervilles," is without doubt one of the greatest novels I have ever read. And I have read a few. Tess is the only truly well-developed character in the novel, which, coupled with the fact that Hardy renders the landscape of Wessex as to make it a character itself, gives one the sense of a real struggle between humanity and nature. This, for me, is one of the great themes of the novel - the tension between nature and the artifices with which we fill our relations with other people. The beauty of Hardy's pastoral setting is never idyllic - Hardy keeps us always aware that human society, with its false moral standards and technological advancements, is ever encroaching upon the already vanished past.
As the novel begins, Tess Durbeyfield's irresponsible wastrel of a father is casually and jokingly informed by the local minister that he is a descendant of a long-degenerated and disenfranchised noble family, the D'Urbervilles, whose influence stretches back to the Norman invasion. This simple, careless act, nothing more than a name, wreaks such havoc upon everyone in the novel, that I'm actually having a hard time right now even looking at the title - the name itself, now having read the novel, is such a powerful condemnation of status, of privilege, of reputation, of all the injustices of English society from the eighteenth century through the time of this novel, almost the dawn of the twentieth. Sent by her nearly indigent parents, whose heads have swelled with the possibilities of lineage, Tess leaves her home in Marlott, going to claim kinship with the last apparently wealthy D'Urberville, in the village of Trantridge.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad Ending
This book was a bit slow at the beginning but picks up after a few chapter. It is pretty good after that. I couldn't put it down until about the last four chapters. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Holly
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I really read this book because of its appearance in the Fifty Shades of Grey book. I wanted to see what the connection to Tess E L James was making. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Cheryl
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Excellent book - good value - fast delivery. This is considered Thomas Hardy's best book, and it easy to see why. It is a must for anyone who loves British novels.
Published 25 days ago by Gretchen Reed
4.0 out of 5 stars sad, but worth it
The writing is so beautiful. The story is so sad. I like the values the book promotes, and the sad truth is that the right thing does not always prevail.
Published 1 month ago by Lyn Richards
3.0 out of 5 stars Review of Tess of the d'Urbervilles
I first read this novel a long, long time ago, and now have revisited it on my Kindle. First, I am surprised by the complexity of the book: I remembered it as the tale of a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Neil Murray
3.0 out of 5 stars School Required
As books go it was decent reading. A good book. This was required reading, not a personal choice or preference.
Published 2 months ago by Wayne Koller
5.0 out of 5 stars ebook
Yet another of what I consider a classic novel that I am thrilled to have been able to download for free.
Published 2 months ago by Beverly
2.0 out of 5 stars Tess
I loved this book in high school; but now it is too old fashioned for me. Those concepts are no longer relevant to me.
Published 2 months ago by bonnie clark
4.0 out of 5 stars The Classic Tragedy
Few authors are better than Hardy at dramatizing the hypocrisies of society, and few books are a better example than the tragic Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Read more
Published 2 months ago by K.M. Weiland, Author of Historical and Speculative Fiction
4.0 out of 5 stars Way better than I thought it would be.
I decided to pick up this audio-book for my drive from Chicago to Atlanta. I was pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable it was. Read more
Published 3 months ago by The Steadfast Reader
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