Tess of the d'Urbervilles Analysis

Historical Context

Darwin and Social Darwinism
The last fifty years of the nineteenth century saw innovations in science and technology that...

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles Places Discussed (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Wessex

Wessex. Hardy’s fictionalized version of the region around Dorset, a coastal county in southern England, taking its name from the West Saxon kingdom of the sixth to tenth centuries. Hardy introduced Wessex in Far from the Madding Crowd (1874). In later fiction, he layered a detailed topography modeled on actual locations with archetypal symbolism. The capital city of Wessex, Casterbridge, mentioned several times in Tess of the D’Urbervilles, is Hardy’s version of Dorchester.

Marlott

Marlott. Village in the north of Wessex on a plain called the Vale of Blackmoor (or Blakemore), modeled on Marnhull, that is Tess Durbeyfield’s original home. Even before she is forced to leave this “fertile and sheltered tract of country, in which the fields are never brown and the springs never dry,” mishaps and catastrophes in its environs indeed seem destined to mar her lot in life.

Trantridge

Trantridge. Town east of Marlott, based on Pentridge, where the Durbyfieldses’ supposed D’Urberville relatives live in a redbrick lodge. At the edge of this newly rich estate, Hardy places the Chase, a forest dating back to the time of the Druids that he bases on Cranbourne Chase, once a royal hunting ground. There, primeval shadows and modern corruption collude in Alec D’Urberville’s rape of Tess.

Chaseborough

Chaseborough. “Decayed market-town,” located two or three miles southeast of Trantridge, whose hard-drinking looseness drives Tess into Alec’s company.

Talbothays Dairy

Talbothays Dairy. Destination of Tess’s second journey from home, in the Great...

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles Literary Style

Narrator
Tess of the d'Urbervilles tells the story of a girl who is seduced and has a child who dies. When she meets another...

(The entire section is 930 words.)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Bibliography (Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

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.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Compare and Contrast

1890s: The rural population was forced to move toward urban areas as low prices and industrialization of farm equipment made smaller farms...

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles Topics for Further Study

Imagine Tess's story taking place in today's U. S. society and analyze how her story would have ended up differently or the same, refer to...

(The entire section is 89 words.)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Media Adaptations

Tess of the d'Urbervilles was adapted as a film directed by Roman Polanski, starring Nastassja Kinski, Leigh Lawson, and Peter Firth,...

(The entire section is 69 words.)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Literary Techniques

Like most of Hardy's novels, Tess of the D 'Urbervilles is conservative and unspectacular in its literary techniques. It uses the...

(The entire section is 380 words.)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Ideas for Group Discussions

Most group discussions will undoubtedly and productively focus on questions of guilt and responsibility. Other areas that can be productively...

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles What Do I Read Next?

Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca's widely-performed lyrical folk tragedies, Blood Wedding (1933), Yerma (1934), and...

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles Bibliography and Further Reading

Sources
Harold Bloom, "Introduction," in Thomas Hardy Modern Critical Views, Chelsea House, 1987, pp 1-22.

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles Bibliography (Great Characters in Literature)

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.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Social Concerns

In Tess of the D 'Urbervilles, his most influential novel and one that most emphatically offended the more pious Victorian...

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles Literary Precedents

The somewhat lengthy list of coincidences in the novel, which individual readers can extend to triple or quadruple its length, would indeed...

(The entire section is 353 words.)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles Adaptations

One of the most impressive adaptations of the Tess story occurred during Hardy's lifetime. Seymour-Smith and other biographers report that a...

(The entire section is 309 words.)