About the BookTess of the D’Urbervilles, a brilliant tale of seduction, love, betrayal, and murder, is generally regarded as Thomas Hardy’s finest novel.
This is a tragic story of the intelligent, charming and naturally dignified Tess. Daughter of a poor villager, John Durbeyfield, whose head is turned by hearing that they have descended from the ancient Norman family of D’Urbervilles. He and his wife encourage Tess to seek the kinship of the parvenu Stoke D’Urbervilles, themselves not entitled to the noble name. She is reluctant to go, but finally agrees with the hope to improve the plight of her struggling family. She is seduced by Alec D’Urbervilles, the son of her benefactors, and gives birth to his child who dies in infancy. Thus starts the tale of misfortunes of the sixteen-year old Tess.
Tess is Hardy’s most striking and tragic heroine and the character that meant most to him.About the Author/sThomas Hardy (1840-1928), poet and novelist, was born in Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester in Dorset. He was the son of Thomas Hardy, a builder and master mason, and his wife Jemima. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to a local architect, John Hicks. In 1862 he went to London to pursue his architectural career and also began writing at this time. He returned to Dorset in 1867 to become assistant to John Hicks. In 1874 he gave up architecture for writing and married his first wife Emma Gifford. In the same year Far From the Madding Crowd was published and met with considerable success. In 1878 Hardy moved back to London. His reputation as writer grew and he became a well-known figure in London’s literary circles. In 1885 he returned to Dorset and over the next three years he published The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), which many regard as his greatest tragic novel, The Woodlanders (1887) and his first collection of short stories, Wessex Tales (1888). He published Tess of the D’Urbervilles in 1891 and Jude the Obscure in 1895. Hardy greatly enjoyed the admiration of London’s literary and aristocratic society, but resented the constant carping of reviewers of his “pessimism” and “immorality”. The hostile criticism of his last two major novels led him to abondon fiction and devote himself to poetry which was always his first love. He published eight volumes of poetry during 1898 to 1928. Emma died in 1912 and Hardy married Florence Dugdale in 1914. Thomas Hardy died on 11 January 1928.