Tess of the d’Urbervilles was published in a book form in 1892 but it has already garnered the love and affection it had to through the publication in a serialised form in a newspaper The Graphic, a year ago, in 1891. Now considered as a masterpiece of the Victorian Era, the novel could evoke a mixed emotional outburst of love and ‘dislike’ when it first appeared to the readers and some liked it while some ‘hated’ it too. As the title suggests, the novel persists with the central character named Tess Durbeyfield, who is the oldest daughter of John and Juan, her father and mother respectively. From the beginning to the end, the novel is plotted wisely to trace what Tess is doing.

The backdrop of the novel is realistic as we find a girl, so young, struggling for a job to somehow maintain her family. The Long Depression also forms a big part of the background of the novel’s set-up as we find things not being so ‘wealthy’ in the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Nevertheless, as Hardy was known, this fiction also challenges the accepted norms and regulations of Victorian England and that was a prior reason why the work has to be euphemised before it could go for publication.

Tess has a tough life – she is raped; she is married; she is left because she was raped; she becomes a mistress to the person who raped her; she wants to escape and kills Alec (rapist); she goes back in a hope to escape with Angel; she is found and executed.

The novel is all about the suffering of Tess, the young maiden and then an unfortunate woman. The language, as usual, the Hardy-diction, is beautiful. He describes things in his own ways and that’s wonderful and nothing less. The dilemma of Angel and the wantonness of Alec are nowhere compared to the sufferings of Tess; she is sinned, again and again, and then ultimately doomed!

Thomas Hardy is also considered as a master of sentimental writings and he proves his eloquence in Tess of the d’Urbervilles as well. The novel, though overly lengthy and classical in narrative, does never seem to be driving the readers towards an experience called ‘boring’. Readers will love the piece – they might agree or disagree with the things being written. However, they will have no choices left but to love and appreciate the writing! You can get a copy of the Thomas Hardy masterpiece from the Amazon link below:

Thomas Hardy – Tess of the d’Urbervilles on Amazon

bt an NTR contributor

Tess of the d'Urbervilles - reviewed
  • Themes & Allusions
  • Plot & Narrative
  • Message & Relevance
  • Reading Pleasure


Tess of the d’Urbervilles is a novel which is read by almost everyone who loves reading and if you haven’t read it yet, you are missing almost 90 of the 100! Go for it today!

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