5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Another Thomas Hardy favorite. Story of a poor young woman and her life in 17th century Britain. Romance, loss and survival. A great glimpse into the past. Also a good movie by the same name starring Natasha Kinskey.
Published 1 month ago by Jackie Livedotte Ohlsen
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe it's just not my style...
It seemed to me that Tess of the D'Urbervilles was a bit dull at times, but the storyline as a whole was quite interesting. There is a great deal of imagery, so much that I deemed it to be in the way of my actually getting absorbed in the novel. Surprises abound, but they are surrounded by lengthy passages describing everything and anything. Nature, being an important...
Published on Dec 26 2003 by lovely7980
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read,
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This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Paperback)Another Thomas Hardy favorite. Story of a poor young woman and her life in 17th century Britain. Romance, loss and survival. A great glimpse into the past. Also a good movie by the same name starring Natasha Kinskey.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for a Book Club,
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best,
This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Paperback)If there were more than five stars possible, this book would get about seven. Hardy's excellent descriptions and deep pathos combine to make this novel one of the best and saddest books I have ever read. This one is a must-read, but be prepared to cry.
5.0 out of 5 stars A book made how books should be,
This review is from: Penguin Classics Tess Of The D'ubervilles (Hardcover)This is a beautiful copy of an old classic, and at an unbeatable price. If you love the story of Tess and her tragic star-crossed life, and you love a good hardcopy that looks like it is from the same era that the story is set in, then this product is perfect!
2.0 out of 5 stars tiring at times,
This review is from: Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Paperback)at times i felt like i was reading an agricultural journal-more info about cows than i care to know
Tess is enough to want to make you scream-enough of the self pity already!!!
the story is ok but the thousands of descriptive words are tedious and the walking that everyone is constantly doing will send you over the edge--if this is Thomas Hardy i don't care for more
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to read the classics, start with Tess,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Somber rustic majesty,
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. Stoke been honest and not assumed the name of the Durbeyfields' ancestors, Tess would not have been likely to meet the lecherous, skulking Alec d'Urberville, who rapes her after she rebuffs his attempted seduction and impregnates her with a baby that dies in infancy. Of course Hardy, evading the risk of censorship, is decorous enough to suggest in the subtlest manner possible that the rape happened rather than describe it explicitly, but Alec's immoral behavior is clearly implied.
Mortified, heartbroken, Tess then goes to work as a milkmaid at a dairy farm where she and a young man named Angel Clare, the heartthrob of several of the farm girls, fall in love. Angel has defied his father, a vicar, by spurning a career in the clergy for agriculture and marriage with a middle class girl for Tess. He scoffs at his parents' snobbery, but after marrying Tess, he reveals a disturbing hypocrisy when she confesses to him the vicious treatment she had received from Alec and its consequences. Angel's reaction is far from the gentle sympathy one would expect from the magnanimous personality he projects; he is disgusted that she has been robbed of her purity and draws a strange parallel between her violation and the fall of her family's ancestral prestige. He rejects her, they separate, and once again she is mortified, heartbroken, and looking for a job.
Tess is destined to rencounter both Angel and Alec before the end of the novel, and the changes to their characters not only advance the plot in unexpected ways but further emphasize Hardy's utilization of irony. The starkly contrasted images of the novel's penultimate scene at Stonehenge and the last scene, which takes place outside a prison where a black flag flies announcing an execution, raise the question of whether even Hardy knew when he started exactly how this somber story would end.
The novel contains several recurring Hardy elements. Like most of his major work, it takes place in the southwestern part of England he calls Wessex, this time in the fertile Blackmoor Vale, and his evocation of the scenery sets the stage beautifully. Tess's co-workers at the dairy farm are a realistically cheerful lot and provide the continuum of humanity that such a story needs as a reprieve for its tragic mood. An interesting touch which shows that Hardy is not above recycling his own motifs is the similarity between the death of the Durbeyfield horse (a definite foreshadowing for Tess) and the tumbling sheep in "Far from the Madding Crowd," in that both incidents cause their respective protagonists to take distant jobs with fateful results. The incentive to read Hardy lies in his ability to put language at the service of one of the greatest functions of literature: to express the deepest desires and emotions of mankind.
5.0 out of 5 stars boo hoo hoo....!,
While this work may not be to EVERYone's liking, it seems somewhat immature to complain about Hardy's verbosive style (what did you expect from a Victorian novel...MINIMALISM?) and lack of character development. Perhaps Hardy's approach utilizes a foreign paradigm which demands attention to nuance and...oh, never mind.
OK, so you didn't like it. But only ONE out of five stars? Puh-LEASE! Admit that you are out of your element - yes, even YOU mister English Lit major. For the record, I majored in English Lit - couldn't stand certain Jacobean poetry - but still relish my time with Mr Hardy.
My advice to you would be to find a good John Grisham novel and admire his economy of style. Enjoy!
1.0 out of 5 stars mind-numbing, terrible writing,
By A Customer
First of all, character development is not only lacking, it is absent altogether. It might be assumed that the book's title character, at least, would be strongly drawn, someone we could sympathize with, empathize with, or relate to in some way. Not the case. While Hardy expounds upon Tess' physical appearance ad nauseum throughout, never did I gain any real insight into her thoughts and feelings, her motivation. Maybe the insight is hidden in these endless physical descriptions or her inane actions, but frankly, if I'm reading for pleasure I don't want to take the time to search. Sorry. And it follows that if Hardy failed in his title character, forget about all the others.
Secondly, his wordiness is irritating. One paragraph of half-way interesting action is followed by a full page of useless description and genuflecting. Perhaps essential to hidden meanings and motives and social commentary, but again, I'm not taking the time to search. I found myself skipping over these, the result being my finishing the book in two evenings.
Conversely, Hardy seems to gloss over the most important event in the book, cloaking it in overly subtle tones. Granted, this was written during the sexually-repressed Victorian Era, for an audience with "delicate sensibilites", but come on. Something as traumatic and life-shattering as rape, in fact the event that is supposed to drive the entire novel, deserves more than an allusion to medieval knights taking advantage of peasant girls. Not that I want graphic details, on the contrary. But please, give me a break; even if her society deems she take it as a matter of course, let us see, clearly, her inward rage, hurt, bafflement at what has happened to her. Something. Anything. Make her human, in other words.
If you really must read this, a synopsis would be enough. The novel's idea is a good one, and could have probably been done brilliantly by someone else. Hardy fails it miserably.
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Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (Paperback - Jun 14 2001)