Tess of the DUrbervilles by Thomas HardyAlternate cover edition of ISBN 9780141439594.
When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy DUrbervilles 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 silent in the hope of a peaceful future.
Learn English Through Story - Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British illustrated newspaper The Graphic in ,  then in book form in three volumes in , and as a single volume in Though now considered a major nineteenth-century English novel and possibly Hardy's fictional masterpiece,  Tess of the d'Urbervilles received mixed reviews when it first appeared, in part because it challenged the sexual morals of late Victorian England. The novel is set in impoverished rural England, Thomas Hardy's fictional Wessex , during the Long Depression of the s. Tess is the oldest child of John and Joan Durbeyfield, uneducated peasants. However, John is given the impression by Parson Tringham that he may have noble blood, as "Durbeyfield" is a corruption of "D'Urberville", the surname of an extinct noble Norman family. Knowledge of this immediately goes to John's head.
Tess Durbeyfield is a year-old simple country girl, the eldest daughter of John and Joan Durbeyfield. In a chance meeting with Parson Tringham along the road one night, John Durbeyfield discovers that he is the descendent of the d'Urbervilles, an ancient, monied family who had land holdings as far back as William the Conqueror in Upon this discovery, the financially strapped Durbeyfield family learns of a nearby "relative," and John and his wife Joan send Tess to "claim kin" in order to alleviate their impoverished condition. Alec arranges for Tess to become the caretaker for his blind mother's poultry, and Tess moves to The Slopes to take up the position. While in residence at the d'Urbervilles, Alec seduces and rapes Tess. Tess returns home, gives birth to a son, Sorrow, the product of the rape, and works as a field worker on nearby farms. Sorrow becomes ill and dies in infancy, leaving Tess devastated at her loss.
Tess Durbeyfield is a totally and completely doomed country girl living in the late 19th Century in an English village that seems secluded, even though it's only a four-hour journey from London. Her father learns in the first chapter that he is the last lineal descendent of the D'Urbervilles—one of the oldest, most aristocratic, families in all of England. He foolishly assumes that his aristocratic heritage will suffice to pull his family out of poverty, and so he sends Tess off to "claim kin" i. Tess is a very pretty girl, and very "womanly" i. He finds her too proud and modest to fall into his snares, and so he tricks her into accepting a ride from him back to the family house at night, and cuts through the woods.
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by Thomas Hardy
Intelligent, strikingly attractive, and distinguished by her deep moral sensitivity and passionate intensity, Tess is indisputably the central character of the novel that bears her name. But she is also more than a distinctive individual: Hardy makes her into somewhat of a mythic heroine. Her name, formally Theresa, recalls St. Teresa of Avila, another martyr whose vision of a higher reality cost her her life. The narrator himself sometimes describes Tess as more than an individual woman, but as something closer to a mythical incarnation of womanhood. In part, Tess represents the changing role of the agricultural workers in England in the late nineteenth century.