Penguin English Library
With its sensitive depiction of a wronged 'pure woman' and its powerful criticism of Victorian sexual hypocrisy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles shocked readers on publication.
Set in the magical Wessex landscape so familiar from Thomas Hardy’s early work, Tess of the D’Urbervilles is unique among his great novels for the intense feeling that he lavished upon his heroine, Tess, a pure woman betrayed by love.
Hardy poured all of his profound empathy for both humanity and the rhythms of natural life into this story of her beauty, goodness, and tragic fate. In so doing, he created a character who, like Emma Bovary and Anna Karenina, has achieved classic stature.
From the Hardcover edition.
““[Tess of the D’Urbervilles is] Hardy’s finest, most complex and most notorious novel . . . The novel is not a mere plea for compassion for the eternal victim, though that is the banner it flies. It also involves a profound questioning of contemporary morality.” –from the Introduction by Patricia Ingham”