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Tess of the d'Urbervilles (Modern Library) [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Hardy
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (442 customer reviews)

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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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 provincial, moralistic, and unforgiving husband—Tess escapes from her vise of passion through a horrible, desperate act.

'Like the greatest characters in literature, Tess lives beyond the final pages of the book as a permanent citizen of the imagination,' said Irving Howe. 'In Tess he stakes everything on his sensuous apprehension of a young woman's life, a girl who is at once a simple milkmaid and an archetype of feminine strength. . . . Tess is that rare creature in literature: goodness made interesting.'

Now Tess of the d'Urbervilles has been brought to television in a magnificent new co-production from A&E Network and London Weekend Television. Justine Waddell (Anna Karenina) stars as the tragic heroine, Tess; Oliver Milburn (Chandler & Co.) is Angel Clare; and Jason Flemyng is Alec d'Urberville. The cast also includes John McEnery (Black Beauty) as Jack Durbeyfield and Lesley Dunlop (The Elephant Man) as Joan Durbeyfield. Tess of the d'Urbervilles is directed by Ian Sharp and produced by Sarah Wilson, with a screenplay by Ted Whitehead; it was filmed in Hardy country, the beautiful English countryside in Dorset where Thomas Hardy set his novels.


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.

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 712 KB
  • Print Length: 376 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B003LWWMKK
  • Publisher: Modern Library; New edition edition (November 1, 2000)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1KNE
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,172 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
405 of 432 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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103 of 108 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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113 of 122 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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49 of 51 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read
Published 1 day ago by D
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Saucy for the time period.
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Maiden No More...
It’s both beautiful and tragic, with passages of comedy and a gorgeous young English country girl falling in love, but also extended scenes of crushing poverty, violence and death,... Read more
Published 9 days ago by JEP
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great classic everyone should read them
Published 18 days ago by Katherine M. Dyson
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this.
This book will make you angry and it'll make you cry. But I think everyone needs to read it.
Published 21 days ago by Aläna L
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love it! I purchased this book for my daughter and its perfect.
Published 22 days ago by CroGirl
5.0 out of 5 stars The story is about a tender heart.
I read this novel as a teenager and even then he left me with a lasting impression. And even now, years later, I occasionally come back to this masterpiece of Thomas Hardy and... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Griffin Garcon
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
I love this book. This is an abridged version. The narrator is great. I prefer the whole book, but that is rather lengthy. This reading provides you with the basic story. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Meryl Osse
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good price; shipped quickly.
Published 1 month ago by TashaLynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 1 month ago by Mr. William A. Carroll
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