Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Snapshot of me reading:

Curled up in bed in my apartment in Spain, I discovered that classics are in the public domain, which means they’re available online in their totality as free ebooks.  Scrolling through hundreds of pages of Tess on my computer made me go cross-eyed, which made me never want to buy an ereader, but when the only bookstore in the area specializes in James Bond and outdated travel books, I’ll take what I can get.

The book:

Ah, drama! ah, England! ah, Tess and the plight of women!  A fantastic, fantastic book: the only annoying parts are Hardy’s asides about how Tess had been wronged, how Tess was an angel who wouldn’t dream of taking advantage of her situation, etc. etc., but eventually you come to realize that the asides are the genius of the entire book.  Hardy gives a clear commentary on the sexism and classism rampant in 19th Century England, with the compelling drama of Tess thrown in on the side.  An excellent read.  ALSO, watch the new(ish) BBC version and you will melt in Tess’s innocent eyes (see the actress on the book cover above – she looks much more innocent here than when she’s a Bond girl in that one about Bolivia) and drool over the evil Hans Matheson (Alec D’Uberville—the rich purported relation) and the equally-evil-but-purportedly-angelic Eddie Redmayne (not-so-subtly-named “Angel”).  9 out of 10 (helped out a little bit by my adoration of the geniuses at BBC).

Tess of the D'Urbervilles


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