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An unforgettably powerful tragedy, Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles is one of the great classics of the late nineteenth century. This edition features illustrations by Sir Hubert von Herkomer and Joseph Syddall, and an afterword by Philip Mallett, editor of the Thomas Hardy Journal.
Tess Durbeyfield's father forcibly sends her off to work for the wealthy D'Urberville family, hoping to alleviate their poverty and perhaps secure her a marriage to the cruel and manipulative Alec D'Urberville. His terrible assault upon her, and the subsequent child, form the terrible heart of Tess's tragic life - as family, love and future are taken away from her by the repressive mores of Victorian society.
Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset in 1840, the eldest of four children. At the age of sixteen he became an apprentice architect but continued to develop his classical education by studying between the hours of four and eight each morning. With encouragement from Horace Moule of Queens' College Cambridge, he began to write fiction. His first published novel was Desperate Remedies in 1871. Thus began a series of increasingly dark novels, all set within the rural landscape of his native Dorset. Such was the success of these early works, which included A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) and Far From the Madding Crowd (1874), that he gave up his work as an architect to concentrate on his writing. However, he had difficulty publishing Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1889) and was forced to make changes in order for it to be judged suitable for family readers. This, coupled with the stormy reaction to the negative tone of Jude the Obscure (1895), prompted Hardy to abandon writing novels altogether and he concentrated on poetry for the rest of his life. He died in January 1928.