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Tess of the D'Urbervilles Paperback – Feb 24 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (Feb. 24 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141197978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141197975
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.1 x 18.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 290 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,667,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By neoninfusion on June 30 2004
Format: Paperback
What is the point of reading classic literature if all you are going to do is analyse it? What a waste. Hardy, Austen et al would be turning in their graves if they knew that their work would be treated in this way by self-proclaimed experts. Classic novels are to be enjoyed; they are written for the satisfaction of all readers, not just to massage the egos of academics.
Yes, I've studied classic literature, and it isn't the genre I am typically interested in. However, "Tess of the d'urbervilles" is the novel that has inspired me to give this genre another try. I found it to be incredibly moving; dismissing the idea that it was poorly written. I've found English literature too stifled by its own airs and graces, but this is not the case with Thomas Hardy. He paints a picture of great hope in a way that allows us to empathise (unlike some of his contemporaries) with the characters of a different era.
I recommend anyone who wants to start reading classic English literature to begin with "Tess of the d'urbervilles". You will find it an easily accessible read. It is beautiful, hopeful and tragic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Steele on Feb. 10 2004
Format: Paperback
Some great discussions come out of this book. Thomas Hardy has a very distinct style, and uses the environment essentially as another character, so it may be beneficial to at least have some familiarity with England before reading. No one can read this book without having strong opinions about the characters, especially the two main men. This is one of the standout pieces of literature of its time and is well worth the read.
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By P. Morelli on June 25 2004
Format: Paperback
I had to write a review just to bring up a rating that was unfairly knocked down by a handful of obtuse reviewers. I wasn't an English lit major like some of these reviewers, but I have read upwards of 10,000 books in my life -with a concentration on literature- and have to say that the descriptive writing in "Tess of the D'Ubervilles" is the most beautiful and poetic I have yet encountered. It is not the most exciting, nor the most stunningly transformative(that honour goes to "Altas Shrugged") book, but the construction and execution is exquisite.
The book is in fact slowly paced - so much so in the first couple of chapters that I was rebuffed the first time I started reading it. However, a little patience will grant you entry into the gorgeous spell Hardy invokes. Yes, it is a "victorian" novel, but the sublimity of the writing and of the plot's tragedy emancipates it from the staidness of the genre.
The upshot is that you shouldn't turn to this book if you want a fast paced thriller or "clever" writing. Read it if you want to cultivate your awareness of exceptional beauty; this book is for the cultured connoisseur, not needy readers.
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By A.J. on June 9 2004
Format: Paperback
In a certain light, Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" might be seen as a Cinderella story horribly disfigured by a tragic twist. When we first meet the heroine, Tess Durbeyfield, as a poor, hardworking farm girl who has to take care of her five younger siblings and fulfill the responsibilities abandoned by her inebriated father, she seems like a girl destined for greater things: a brilliant career in a more stimulating occupation, a blissful marriage to a wonderful man. But Hardy likes to illustrate fate's capacity for cruelty, and Tess is merely an innocent woman who is seemingly punished for her innocence.
The name Durbeyfield is a vulgarization of d'Urberville, a family with a rich history descended from Norman knights and wealthy landowners, but various misfortunes have reduced the lineage to the commoners who presently inhabit the impoverished Durbeyfield household. (We learn later in the novel that the Durbeyfields are not the only local family to have suffered this appellative fall from grace.) Although the d'Urberville nobility is defunct, in the near past an enterprising businessman named Stoke sought to increase the prestige of his own family by appropriating a distinguished name from the county annals, and d'Urberville is the one he chose. Thus when Tess, to aid her family's finances after an unfortunate accident deprives them of their income, takes a job tending the fowl at the nearby d'Urberville estate, she mistakenly believes she is working for her relations.
This ostensibly minor detail is really the basis of the irony which drives the novel. Had Mr.
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By A Customer on Jan. 25 2004
Format: Paperback
A great windbag of a novel, Hardy seems to think that not only does a grassy meadow take half a chapter to describe, he thinks that everyone else agrees with him. Please. Not the largest complaint I have, but surely the first, is that Hardy's style is like looking up looking up "stone pillar" in a thesaurus, then two others, and then writing down every single synonym. It takes pages for him to describe a dairy farm, and at some point you wonder if he's introducing the farm as a character, it gets so much time.
Not that he seems to spend that much time on his characters; they are created with little that interests, and contain less development that a homeless shelter under President Bush.
Tess is described, at great length, and quite often, as a beautiful woman. Okay, so what? Her personality is so weak I wonder if he even thought about what she would do in a situation, or just had her do whatever the other characters wanted her to do, until the very end, when she makes an out of character action that is supposed to be shocking, but is more perplexing; the character described in the rest of the book wouldn't do that, and there is nothing to indicate why she has a sudden change of being.
Angel is built up as the "perfect prince in shining armor" until he finds out about Tess's secret, when he suddenly acts like a selfish and snotty child that is the very opposite of what he has been in the rest of the book. Then he switches back at the end, with little thought as to why by Hardy, at least not much that is apparent in the book.
Let's see, boring writing style and poorly done characters, what else is there? Ah, plot. The only way to describe plot is that it made the description seem riveting and his characters thought out.
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