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Study Guide of Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Introduction

Tess of the D’Urbervilles was first published in bowdlerized form in Graphic in 1891. It was released in book form later that same year. Thomas Hardy, who wrote Tess of the d’Urbervilles, subtitled the novel A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented because the author believed its heroine to be a woman of virtue who had fallen victim to the rigid Victorian moral code.

Considered to be Hardy’s greatest work, it broke away from typical fiction of the time and focused largely on the lower class of the rural communities and the openness of sexuality and religion that was akin to those regions.

In the novel, the author demonstrates a world that sees the bricks of human spirit torn down by the forces of social hierarchy. The death of Tess is regarded as one of the most famous in literary history and is said to be a direct result of human cruelty and is representative of the life and trials of women in the nineteenth-century.

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