The Sad Tale of Tess

“And as each and all of them were warmed without by the sun, so each had a private little sun for her soul to bask in; some dream, some affection, some hobby, at least some remote and distant hope which, though perhaps starving to nothing, still lived on, as hopes will. They were all cheerful, and many of them merry.”

Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928) wrote the classic of English literature, Tess of the d’Ubervilles, about a maiden’s fall from grace. At the beginning of the novel, Hardy describes the maidens at the village May Dance. But the hope of youth is not to last and the story soon becomes bleak, then bleaker. Tess plummets downward through the social and sexual mores of her time. The interesting thing is how beautifully this sad story is told. Hardy writes poetically of the people, the diary farm and English landscape. Tess is an unforgettable character who has lived through song, theatre, movie and film adaptations. It is worth re-reading and seems fitting for the dark nights of winter.

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