"If an offence come out of the truth, better it is that the offence come than the truth be concealed." Thomas Hardy added these words in the introduction to the fifth edition of this novel (Hardy v). He provided this quote from St. Jerome somewhat defensively, in response to the criticism he received for Tess prior to this edition.
Originally printed in serial form in two magazines, this novel underwent bowdlerization in order to be published. As a requirement of the publisher, Hardy changed scenes such as the baby's baptism, Tess's rape, and Alec's murder. The process of changing the novel angered Hardy, but his financial need of publishing the novel outweighed his negative feelings about doing so. This novel finally became published in its entirety in 1891. This novel caused such a controversy that Donald Hall called this novel "a cause" (417). Considered a radical writer, Hardy included the lower social classes and the plight of women, and he wrote about them in a provoking and defiant manner. Scientists, such as Charles Darwin, and social thinkers, such as John Stuart Mill, affected his thoughts and writings. Writers rarely wrote about these subjects in such a way during Victorian times.
The Victorian times and attitudes victimize Tess, despite the fact that she possesses high morals and standards. The aim of this paper is to show how Hardy illustrates this in many ways. Her family, social, and economic background provide the reader with a perspective of living as a poor woman during the Victorian Era. Another avenue Hardy uses to show the unfairness of life for a poor woman during these times is two men who victimize Tess, Angel Clare and Alec d'Urberv...
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... You do Talk!': Some Features of Hardy's Dialogue." New Perspectives on Thomas Hardy. Ed. Charles P. C. Pettit. New York: St. Martin's, 1994. 117-36.
Claridge, Laura. "Tess: A Less Than Pure Woman Ambivalently Presented." Texas Studies in Literature and Language 28 (1986): 324-38.
Hall, Donald. Afterward. Tess of the d'Urbervilles. By Thomas Hardy. New York: Signet, 1980. 417-27.
Hardy, Thomas. Tess of the d'Urbervilles. 1891. New York: Signet Classic, 1980.
McMurtry, Jo. Victorian Life and Victorian Fiction. Hamden: Shoe String, 1979.
Mickelson, Anne Z. Thomas Hardy's Women and Men: The Defeat of Nature. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1976.
Stubbs, Patricia. Women and Fiction. Sussex: Harvester, 1979.
Walvin, James. Victorian Values. Athens: UGA Press, 1987.
Weissman, Judith. Half Savage and Hardy and Free. Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 1987.
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