Tess of the D'Urbervilles

      Thomas Hardy
Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Tess Durbeyfield knows what it is to work hard and expect little. But her life is about to veer from the path trod by her mother and grandmother. When her ne'er-do-well father learns that his family is the last of a long noble line, the d'Urbervilles, he sends Tess on a journey to meet her supposed kin—a journey that will see her victimized by lust, poverty, and hypocrisy. Shaped by an acute sense of social injustice and by a vision of human fate cosmic in scope, her story is a singular blending of harsh realism and poignant beauty. Thomas Hardy created in Tess not a standard Victorian heroine but a woman whose intense vitality shines against the bleak backdrop of a dying way of life. The novel shocked contemporary readers with its honesty and remains a timeless commentary on the human condition.

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    Jude the Obscure

      Thomas Hardy
Jude the Obscure

Jude the Obscure, the last completed of Thomas Hardy's novels, began as a magazine serial in December 1894 and was first published in book form in 1895. Its protagonist, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man, a stonemason, who dreams of becoming a scholar. The other main character is his cousin, Sue Bridehead, who is also his central love interest. The novel is concerned in particular with issues of class, education, religion and marriage. The novel tells the story of Jude Fawley, who lives in a village in southern England (part of Hardy's fictional county of Wessex), who yearns to be a scholar at "Christminster", a city modelled on Oxford. As a youth, Jude teaches himself Classical Greek and Latin in his spare time, while working first in his great-aunt's bakery, with the hope of entering university. But before he can try to do this the naïve Jude is seduced by Arabella Donn, a rather coarse and superficial local girl who traps him into marriage by pretending to be pregnant. The marriage is a failure, and they separate by mutual agreement, and Arabella later emigrates to Australia, where she enters into a bigamous marriage. By this time, Jude has abandoned his classical studies.
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    Far from the Madding Crowd

      Thomas Hardy
Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of Hardy's novels to apply the name of Wessex to the landscape of south-west England, and the first to gain him widespread popularity as a novelist. When the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene inherits her own farm, she attracts three very different suitors; the seemingly commonplace man-of-the-soil Gabriel Oak, the dashing young soldier Francis Troy, and the respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. Her choice, and the tragedy it provokes, lie at the centre of Hardy's ambivalent story.
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    The Return of the Native

      Thomas Hardy
The Return of the Native

The central figure of this novel is the returning "native", Clym Yeobright, and his love for the beautiful but capricious Eustacia Vye. As character after character is driven to self-destruction, the presence of Egdon Heath becomes all-embracing, while Clym becomes a preacher.
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    Far from the Madding Crowd

      Thomas Hardy
Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of Hardy's novels to apply the name of Wessex to the landscape of south-west England, and the first to gain him widespread popularity as a novelist. When the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene inherits her own farm, she attracts three very different suitors; the seemingly commonplace man-of-the-soil Gabriel Oak, the dashing young soldier Francis Troy, and the respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. Her choice, and the tragedy it provokes, lie at the centre of Hardy's ambivalent story.
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    The Woodlanders

      Thomas Hardy
The Woodlanders

In this classically simple tale of the disastrous impact of outside life on a secluded community in Dorset, now in a new edition, Hardy narrates the rivalry for the hand of Grace Melbury between a simple and loyal woodlander and an exotic and sophisticated outsider. Betrayal, adultery, disillusion, and moral compromise are all worked out in a setting evoked as both beautiful and treacherous. The Woodlanders, with its thematic portrayal of the role of social class, gender, and evolutionary survival, as well as its insights into the capacities and limitations of language, exhibits Hardy's acute awareness of his era's most troubling dilemmas.
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    Desperate Remedies

      Thomas Hardy
Desperate Remedies

Hardy described Desperate Remedies as a tale of 'mystery, entanglement, surprise and moral obliquity'. Cytherea has taken a position as lady's maid to the eccentric arch-intriguer Miss Aldclyffe. On discovering that the man she loves, Edward Springrove, is already engaged to his cousin, Cytherea comes under the influence of Miss Aldclyffe's fascinating, manipulative steward Manston. Blackmail, murder and romance are among the ingredients of Hardy's first published novel, and in it he draws blithely on the 'sensation novel' perfected by Wilkie Collins. Several perceptive critics praised the author as a novelist with a future when Desperate Remedies appeared anonymously in 1871. In its depiction of country life and insight into psychology and sexuality it already bears the unmistakable imprint of Hardy's genius.
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    Two on a Tower

      Thomas Hardy
Two on a Tower

Two On A Tower by Thomas Hardy is a tale of star-crossed love in which two lovers come together against the background of the stellar universe. The unhappily married Lady Constantine breaks all the rules of social convention when she falls in love with Swithin St. Cleeve, an astronomer who is ten years younger than her. Any profits made from the sale of this book will go towards supporting the Freeriver Community project, a project that aims to support community and encourage well-being. To learn more about the Freeriver Community project please visit the website- www.freerivercommunity.com Cover painting by Alfred Stevens 1823 - 1906
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    The Well-Beloved

      Thomas Hardy
The Well-Beloved

Set on the Isle of Slingers, this novel follows the exploits of Jocelyn Pierston, a sculptor who falls in love successively with three generations of island women, seeking female perfection, just as he strives to realise the ideal woman in stone.

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    The Trumpet-Major

      Thomas Hardy
The Trumpet-Major

Anne Garland is pursued by three suitors: John Loveday, the eponymous trumpet major in a British regiment, honest and loyal; his brother Bob, a flighty sailor; and Festus Derriman, the cowardly nephew of the local squire. The novel is set in Weymouth during the Napoleonic wars; the town was then anxious about the possibility of invasion by Napoleon. Of John Loveday fights with Wellington in the Peninsular War and and his brother Bob serves with Nelson at Trafalgar.
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    The Hand of Ethelberta: A Comedy in Chapters

      Thomas Hardy
The Hand of Ethelberta: A Comedy in Chapters

At the beginning of this novel, it is told that Ethelberta was raised in humble circumstances but, through her work as a governess, married well at the age of eighteen. Her husband died two weeks after the wedding and, now twenty-one, Ethelberta lives with her mother-in-law, Lady Petherwin. In the three years that have elapsed since the deaths of both her husband and father-in-law, Ethelberta has been treated to foreign travel and further privilege by her benefactress, but restricted from seeing her poor family. The events of the story concern Ethelberta’s career as a famous poet and storyteller as she struggles to support her family and conceal her secret—that her father is a butler. Beautiful, clever, and rational, she easily attracts four very persistent suitors (Mr. Julian, Mr. Neigh, Mr. Ladywell, and Lord Mountclere), but is reluctant to give her much-coveted hand.
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    The Return of the Native

      Thomas Hardy
The Return of the Native

The central figure of this novel is the returning "native", Clym Yeobright, and his love for the beautiful but capricious Eustacia Vye. As character after character is driven to self-destruction, the presence of Egdon Heath becomes all-embracing, while Clym becomes a preacher.
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    A Laodicean : A Story of To-day

      Thomas Hardy
A Laodicean : A Story of To-day

One of Hardy's most unusual novels, A Laodicean features a heroine torn between the dilapidated aristocratic romance of the past and the energetic technocracy of the modern world. Paula Power's two suitors, a patrician Army officer, and an architect, representative of the new nobility of talent and enterprise & comically illustrates the great social changes that were taking place as Hardy wrote the novel.
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