Pardon my French, but you’re batsh*t crazy! No wonder this classic was completely radical. It’s powerful indictment of Victorian hypocrisy, along with its unconventional focus on the rural lower class and its direct treatment of sexuality and religion, raised a ferocious public outcry. To catch you up to speed, here’s the plot: “…setting a fateful plot in motion, Jack Durbeyfield dispatches his gentle daughter Tess to the home of their noble kin, anticipating a lucrative match between the lovely girl and a titled cousin. Innocent Tess finds the path to the d’Urberville estate paved with ruin in this gripping tale of the inevitability of fate and the tragic nature of existence….”
What isn’t mentioned on the back of the book is Angel Clare or her dying infant. Somehow, while I’m reading the book, I completely missed the fact that Tess got with D’Urberville and ended up pregnant – I didn’t realize what was happening til Hardy mentioned her taking care of the child. I even went back and tried to find what I missed! I guess I was having a couple of those dazing moments where you can read whole paragraphs at a time and not know what you read. And if you think I’m giving away too much detail, don’t worry – this isn’t even half of it. Talk about a girl who can’t make up her mind.
Things I love about the novel: pure language. “Their general likeness to each other and their consecutive ages would almost have suggested that they might be what in fact they were, brothers.” How much more fun is that than simply saying the three were brothers?? Although Hardy unsuccessfully produces an attachment to his characters equal to Austin or Dickenson, he sure knows how to throw in a twist at the end.
Things I didn’t like so much: Hardy creates such a helpless, persuasive version of the female sex. Throughout the pages, Tess constantly blames her troubles on her poor fate, or being persuaded by this man or that for her unfortunateness. Sad thing about it, is that it’s possibly a true account of maybe even a portion of the female sex of that time.
I could go on and on, but this poorly written post probably has enough rambling. Check it out. Let me know what you think. Is this a book you would read? Comment and let me know!
Here’s a little extra – something my crude side found hilarious. http://harmlessnecrophilia.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/tess-of-the-durbervilles/