I have a new project for the blog for this year. Since I read Fifty Shades of Grey I’ve been curious about the book Tess of the D’Urbervilles. This is my first post of a Chapter by Chapter on the book. I will post each week on Friday about a new chapter of the book. But this week I’m starting with a post about Thomas Hardy.
The edition that I have on my Kindle of Tess has a nice introduction about Thomas Hardy. Since the only thing I really know about him is what I read in Fifty Shades of Grey I thought this was a good place to start.
Thomas Hardy was born in June of 1840 in the village of Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester. He spent most of his life in this region and it was the inspiration behind his fictional town of Wessex.
Tess was originally published as magazine serials with the potentially objectionable moral and religious content removed, yet it still caused controversy with it’s criticism of Victorian sexual and religious mores. Hmmm, this could be interesting.
One of the distinguishing aspects of Hardy’s writing is that harsh circumstances dictate what happens, whether it’s a commentary on matrimony, or the plight of the poor. He writes about “real” individuals. Quite frankly it sounds like his writing is going to be a bit depressing.
In Tess, Hardy explores the undoing of a “pure-hearted” woman. Tess’ rape and how she deals with it within the social norms of the time. And then how society deals with it too. I have a feeling I might like Alec better then Angel. The characters are all forward thinking in their own ways, ready to progress with the changing times. But in other ways the characters are stuck in the time period they are in.
I got about halfway through the introduction and had to stop because it was telling me everything that happens in the story. While this will help put my in the right mind frame for reading the book, it was also spoiling the story for me.
Stay tuned for my post next week on Chapter I.
Here is a map of Wessex, the area that all of Hardy’s writing takes place in, including Tess.