Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman

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Genres: Banned Books
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Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. The novel is set in the fictional county of Wessex and tells the story of Tess Durbeyfield, a young woman who is forced to confront the harsh realities of life and the consequences of her choices.

Plot Summary

Tess Durbeyfield is a young woman from a poor family. She is beautiful and innocent, but she is also naive and inexperienced. When she is sent to work for the wealthy d'Urberville family, she is seduced by Alec d'Urberville, the eldest son of the family. Tess becomes pregnant, but Alec abandons her.

Tess tries to move on with her life, but she is haunted by her past. She eventually meets and falls in love with Angel Clare, a kind and compassionate man. However, their relationship is doomed from the start, as Tess is unable to tell Angel about her past.

Tess's past eventually catches up with her, and she is forced to leave Angel. She wanders from place to place, trying to escape her past, but she is ultimately unable to outrun her fate.


Tess of the d'Urbervilles explores a wide range of themes, including:

  • Social class: Hardy was critical of the social class system in England, and he used Tess's story to highlight the injustices that were faced by poor women. Tess is a victim of the system, and she is unable to escape her fate because of her social class.

  • Sexuality: Hardy was also critical of the sexual mores of his time, and he used Tess's story to explore the double standard that existed between men and women. Tess is punished for her sexuality, while Alec d'Urberville is not.

  • Fate and free will: Hardy was also interested in the role of fate in human life, and he used Tess's story to explore the question of free will. Tess's life is shaped by her past, and she is ultimately unable to escape her fate.


Tess of the d'Urbervilles is a complex and challenging novel, but it is also a deeply rewarding one. Hardy's writing is beautiful and evocative, and his characters are rich and well-developed. Tess is a tragic heroine, but she is also a strong and resilient woman. The novel is a powerful indictment of the social class system and the sexual mores of Victorian England, and it is a timeless story of love, loss, and redemption.

Key Works

  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman (1891)
  • Far from the Madding Crowd (1874)
  • The Return of the Native (1878)
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)
  • Jude the Obscure (1895)


  • "The heart is an abyss, and one never knows where it will lead you."
  • "Life is a tragedy when it's felt, a comedy when it's thought."
  • "The more I know, the more I despair."
  • "One does not love with the mind, but with the heart."
  • "I am tired of everything."


Tess of the d'Urbervilles is considered one of Hardy's masterpieces, and it has had a profound influence on subsequent generations of writers. The novel has been adapted into films, television shows, and operas, and it continues to be read and admired by readers around the world.


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