Set in the bleak, magical Wessex landscape so familiar from Hardy's early work, Tess's cruel story reveals circumstances slowly closing in on her as she attempts to grasp a few moments of happiness with her lover. Patricia Ingham is the author of "Thomas Hardy: A Feminist Reading".
Set in the bleak, magical Wessex landscape so familiar from Hardy's early work, Tess's cruel story reveals circumstances slowly closing in on her as she attempts to grasp a few moments of happiness with her lover. Patricia Ingham is the author of Thomas Hardy: A Feminist Reading.
Thomas Hardy was born on 2 June 1840. His father was a stonemason. He was brought up near Dorchester and trained as an architect. In 1868 his work took him to St Juliot's church in Cornwall where he met his wife-to-be, Emma. His first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, was rejected by publishers but Desperate Remedies was published in 1871 and this was rapidly followed by Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874). He also wrote many other novels, poems and short stories. Tess of the D'Urbervilles was published in 1891. His final novel was Jude the Obscure (1895). Hardy was awarded the Order of Merit in 1920 and the gold medal of the Royal Society of Literature in 1912. His wife died in 1912 and he later married his secretary. Thomas Hardy died 11 January 1928.
Hardy wanted to understand women, and found, as I have done, how absorbing they are for a male novelist. He also loved pastoral force, and found it useful for conveying mood and condition. The dairy and the meadows of his Dorset descriptive passages bring fecundity and sensuality to the book, and the size of Hardy's spirit enabled him to get away with material that would fall risibly short in other hands. By the time the President of the Immortals has finished his sport with Tess, Hardy's recurrent theme, of the what-might-have-been of failed love, has enthralled us again. Review by Frank Delaney, whose books include 'The Amethysts' (Kirkus UK)
Runner-up for The BBC Big Read Top 100 2003
Short-listed for BBC Big Read Top 100 2003