Thomas Hardy: Tess of the D'Urbervilles

(3099 words)

Having just learned from an antiquarian-inclined country parson that his forebears had been loyal knights to several English kings, Jack Durbeyfield, the haggler, lies down on a roadside bank of grass and orders a passing lad to have a horse and carriage sent for him, with a small bottle of rum, and to have Mrs Durbeyfield prepare him dinner. Thus begins the tale of Tess Durbeyfield's family in Thomas Hardy's best-known, best-loved, and in many ways most complex novel. The idyllic “beautiful Vale of Blakemore or Blackmoor” (9) in Hardy's legendary Wessex, mapped out in picturesque, if also rather impersonal, details in chapter two, seems to warrant the fulfilment of fairytale dreams for its inhabitants. Nonetheless, the early …

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Schneider, Ana-Karina. "Tess of the D'Urbervilles". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 February 2009
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]