Tess of the d'Urbervilles Analysis
Casagrande, Peter J. Tess of the D’Urbervilles: Unorthodox Beauty. New York: Twayne, 1992. Focuses on Hardy’s intertwining of beauty and ugliness, of moral and aesthetic issues. Examines Victorian attitudes toward women, Tess’s “terrible beauty” and parallels between her suffering and the horse’s death. Analyzes Angel as a mix of convention and newness.
Kramer, Dale, and Nancy Marck, eds. Critical Essays on Thomas Hardy: The Novels. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1990. Discusses Hardy’s plots and rhetoric, with focus on individual novels. Good essay on Hardy’s understanding of Tess as a woman, examining Victorian debates and postromantic ideas. Treats awareness of language as a shaping force.
Moore, Kevin Z. The Descent of the Imagination: Postromantic Culture in the Later Novels of Thomas Hardy. New York: New York University Press, 1990. Uses language and cultural dominance issues to discuss Tess’s quest for beauty and freedom.
Vigar, Penelope. The Novels of Thomas Hardy: Illusion and Reality. London: Athlone Press, 1974. Analyzes Hardy’s techniques and style. Examines Tess of the D’Urbervilles in terms of Hardy’s notion of imaginative flights that emerge from visual effects. Analyzes the novel’s structure in terms of its contrasts—Tess’s purity and guilt, reality and perceptions.
Wright, Terence. Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1987. Summarizes critical approaches to Tess of the D’Urbervilles: social, character, ideas, formal, and genetic. Gives overview of criticism on the novel. Synthesizes the best criticism, emphasizing importance of place, ambiguity of causes, human insignificance, and the inevitability of human tragedy, with Tess representing individual and larger tragedy.