When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in hope of a peaceful future.
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. Its heroine is a poor country girl, Tess, whose encounter with her distant aristocratic relatives - especially the handsome, cruel Alec - leaves her broken and haunted by a secret that could ruin her. A very different man, Angel Clare, offers her salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past, or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.
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.
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