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Tess of the D'Urbervilles
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About the Author

Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840. In his writing, he immortalized the site of his birth--Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester. Delicate as a child, he was taught at home by his mother before he attended grammar school. At sixteen, Hardy was apprenticed to an architect, and for many years, architecture was his profession; in his spare time, he pursued his first and last literary love, poetry. Finally convinced that he could earn his living as an author, he retired from architecture, married, and devoted himself to writing. An extremely productive novelist, Hardy published an important book every year or two. In 1896, disturbed by the public outcry over the unconventional subjects of his two greatest novels--Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure--he announced that he was giving up fiction and afterward produced only poetry. In later years, he received many honors. He died on January 11, 1928, and was buried in Poet's Corner, in Westminster Abbey. It was as a poet that he wished to be remembered, but today critics regard his novels as his most memorable contribution to English literature for their psychological insight, decisive delineation of character, and profound presentation of tragedy.

Reviews

Hardy's classic 1891 novel, about a young woman's attempt at redemption following a scandal, demonstrates his fatalistic view regarding free will. Audie Award winner Simon Vance's reading is straightforward, well paced, and clear, even when the characters speak in West Country dialect. This is an excellent choice for public libraries wanting to boost their classics collections, and the accompanying full-text PDF ebook (which can be played in tandem with the MP3 recording) makes it useful also for high school and academic libraries. [Audio clip available through www.tantor.com; alternate recordings recently available from Blackstone Audio (12 CDs. unabridged. 2008. ISBN 978-1-4332-1499-8. $110; 1 MP3-CD. ISBN 978-1-4332-1500-1. $44.95) and Naxos AudioBooks (14 CDs. unabridged. 2008. ISBN 978-962-634-867-3. $89.98).--Ed.]--Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., Zion, IL Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"[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

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