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Introduction to Thomas Hardy and Tess

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1 Introduction to Thomas Hardy and Tess
Dr. Sarwet Rasul

2 Previous Session Previous session was the last session on Great Expectations. We started the course with Joseph Andrews. We covered Emma. We have also completed Great Expectations. Now we are moving to the final novel included in this course.

3 Scheme of Presentation of the novel: Tess of d’Urbervilles
The novel: Tess of the d'Urberville We will start with an introduction to the novelist” Thomas Hardy” and the novel “Tess of the d'Urberville: The novel is divided into phases Each of the upcoming sessions would cover one phase of the novel, thus covering one phase of the life of Tess.

4 Today’s Session Introduction to Thomas Hardy- The author of Tess of d’Urbervilles His birth and Early Education His Career His Works His Influence Introduction to the Novel Genre of the novel Setting of the novel Times and Religion with reference to Hardy and his novel Themes of the novel Important characters in the novel

5 About the author: Early Life of Hardy
Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840, in Higher Bockhampton in Dorset, a rural region of southwestern England. His father was a stone-mason and a violinist. He spent his early years in rural surroundings. His mother enjoyed reading and telling stories and folk songs to her children. From his family, Hardy gained the interests that would influence his life and appear in his novels: architecture and music, the lifestyles of the country folk, and literature itself. Later on the same area became focus of his fiction. Hardy attended Julia Martin's school in Bockhampton for his early education. Actually from the age of 8 to 16 he studied there. However, most of his education was informal and independent. It came from the books he found in Dorchester, the nearby town. He taught himself French, German, and Latin. It was at the age of sixteen, Hardy's father apprenticed him to a local architect, John Hicks. Under Hicks's guidance Hardy learned about architectural drawing and the restoration of old houses and churches. Hardy enjoyed this work as it provided him an opportunity to study the histories of the houses and the families that lived there.

6 Early Education of Hardy
Though he was working, he continued his studies. Hardy studied with the Greek scholar Horace Moule during this period of his life. In 1862, Hardy was sent to London to work with the architect Arthur Blomfield. During his five years in London, Hardy immersed himself in the cultural scene by visiting museums and theaters, and studying classic literature. He even began to write his own poetry. Although he did not remain in London, choosing instead to return to Dorchester as a church restorer, he maintained his newfound talent for writing. The child of a builder, Hardy was apprenticed at the age of sixteen to John Hicks, an architect who lived in the city of Dorchester. The location would later serve as the model for Hardy’s fictional Casterbridge.

7 Beginning of Hardy’s Career as a Novelist
Although he gave serious thought to attending university and entering the church, a struggle he would dramatize in his novel Jude the Obscure, declining religious faith and lack of money led Hardy to pursue a career in writing instead. It took him quite a number of years to establish his career . For the initial years he produced only unsuccessful novels and poetry.  In fact from 1867, Hardy wrote poetry and novels both, though the first part of his career was devoted mostly to novels. The sole purpose of writing novels was to earn money at that time; whereas poetry was his real passion. At first, he published anonymously, but after he started gaining popularity, he began to use his own name. As many writers at that time published their works in periodicals and magazines, like the work of his contemporaries such as Charles Dickens, Hardy's novels were published serially in magazines, and they became popular in both England and America. his work reflects the conventions of serialization. To generate the interest of their readers and to ensure that readers would buy a serialized novel, writers often use certain techniques to create suspense. The same we notice in his many works.

8 Hardy’s Famous Novels His first popular novel was Under the Greenwood Tree, published in 1872. The next great novel, Far from the Madding Crowd , published in 1874, was the author’s first critical and financial success. It was so popular that the profits allowed Hardy to give up architecture and marry Emma Gifford. His other popular novels are: Return of the Native The Mayor of Casterbridge Tess of the D’Urbervilles Jude the Obscure A pair of Blue Eyes

9 Poetry and Novels: Hardy’s Choices
Although he built a reputation as a successful novelist, Hardy considered himself first and foremost a poet. Poetry he enjoyed as it was his passion. To him, novels were primarily a means of earning a living. Hardy published three collections of short stories and five shorter novels, all moderately successful. However, despite the praise Hardy's fiction received, many critics criticized his works on the bases of the projection of violence and sexual content included. For instance Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure are criticized by many on these accounts. The outcry against Jude was so great that Hardy decided to stop writing novels and return to his first great love, poetry. Finally it was in 1898, his dream of becoming a poet was realized with the publication of his collection titled as Wessex Poems. He then turned his attentions to an epic drama in verse, The Dynasts; it was finally completed in Before his death, he had written over 800 poems, many of which were published while he was in his eighties.

10 Personal Life As far as personal life is concerned, he finally got his personal life settled and happy. As it has already been told that once financially established, he married his first wife, Emma, in 1874. His first wife, Emma, died in 1912. Although their marriage had not been happy, Hardy grieved at her sudden death. It was in 1914, he married Florence Dugdale, and she was extremely devoted to him.

11 His Achievements The last two decades of Hardy's life, brought him fame and he achieved a level of fame equal to that of Dickens, his contemporary. In 1910, he was awarded the Order of Merit. There was renewed interest of readers in his novels. As a result of this increased popularity, Max Gate became a literary shrine and a tourist attraction.

12 Death of Thomas Hardy After a long and highly successful career, Thomas Hardy died on January 11, 1928, at the age of 87. His ashes were buried in Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey. After his death, Florence published Hardy's autobiography in two parts under her own name. Hardy left many of his possessions to the nation. Amongst these are the pens that Hardy had used to write his various works. He personally engraved each of them with the name of the text it was used to write.

13 Hardy as a Novelist Hardy cannot solely be labeled a Victorian novelist. He can not be even categorized simply as a Modernist, in the tradition of writers like Virginia Woolf or D. H. Lawrence, who built a new kind of novel in its place. Unlike them Hardy did not completely break away from the conventions of nineteenth-century literature. Actually Hardy falls somewhere on middle ground between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His work is a beautiful combination of Victorian sensibilities and more modern trends. Hardy had to face a lot of criticism for his novels, but he is acknowledged as one of the great English novelists since his death. He paved way for modern novel. And, it would not be unjustifed to say that he was an important influence on Modernism, and many later writers, including Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, and Robert Graves. As far as his poetry is concerned, it too has generated same kind of influence.

14 When we look at the work of 20th century we notice that several classical composers, including Gustav Holst and Benjamin Britten, have set Hardy's poems to music. When it comes to the adaptation of his novels for movies, during his lifetime, Hardy was frequently asked to allow his texts to be adapted for the emerging medium of film. He could understand a film's promotional benefits, and the possibilities of widening the range of his audience through this medium, so he agreed to it. However, early attempts at filming his work were less than satisfactory, despite Hardy's involvement in the process. Later on from time to time films are based on his various works.

15 Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Tess of the d’Urbervilles was published in 1891. It got popular immediately after its publication. Its sales assured Hardy’s financial future. However, the novel received a lot of criticism as well. It aroused a substantial amount of controversy. In Tess of the d’Urbervilles and other novels, Hardy demonstrates his deep sense of moral sympathy for England’s lower classes, particularly for rural women. Tess is presented as a lower class working woman who endures a lot of hardships. In the case of Tess also we notice this.

16 Criticism on Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Hardy became famous for his compassionate, often controversial portrayal of young women victimized by the self-righteous rigidity of English social morality. In the case of Tess also we see how a young woman becomes a victim of fate and the cruelty of men. In fact, perhaps, his most famous depiction of such a young woman is in Tess of the d’Urbervilles. It is this frank and critical projection of the hypocrisy of English society of Hardy’s times that was objected to by the people of his own times.

17 Criticism on Tess of the d’Urbervilles
A lot of criticism was laid by the conservative and status-conscious British readers on Hardy’s work. Hardy lived and wrote during a time when a rapid social change was taking over England. The transition from an old-fashioned agricultural nation to a modern industrial society brought a lot of socio-economic issues with it. Businessmen, entrepreneurs, and “new money- holders” joined the ranks of the social elite. This disturbed the social queue. This also led to the fading away of the old class system, bringing many ancient aristocratic families and “old money-holders, to socio-economic disgrace. In Tess of the d’Urbervilles, at the very outset we see the family of Tess facing the same crisis. Tess’s parents, the Durbeyfields, lose themselves in the fantasy of belonging to an ancient and aristocratic family, the d’Urbervilles. Hardy’s novel strongly suggests that such a family history is not only meaningless but also utterly undesirable. Hardy criticizes such views on the subject that were found threatening by the conservative class. The criticism was so harsh that Hardy was frustrated by the controversy caused by his work, and he finally decided to leave novel-writing after Jude the Obscure.  For the rest of his life he only wrote poetry.

18 Introduction to Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the D'Urbervilles: Genre As far as genre is concerned, Tess of the D'Urbervilles can be placed in the category of Tragedy and Pastoral. Tragedies typically tell the story of a great or important protagonist whose ambition causes his/ her fall from happiness. When we apply this definition to Tess of the D'Urbervilles it does not fit very well. Tess is not very ambitious. In fact it is her parents who are. She is also not a great person at the start of the novel. She is just a country girl with a little education, having good looks but not extraordinarily beautiful. However, “ the fall” is applicable to her in the sense that her family was great once. At the outset of the novel we are told that they descended from the D'Urbervilles, an ancient aristocratic family. However, through the times they have fallen to a low socio-economic condition. It is not a tragedy in the traditional sense of the word but it is a tragedy. As far as a "pastoral" story is concerned, a “pastoral" just means that it portrays the country (as opposed to the city) in an idealized or romantic way. Most of the bad stuff that happens to Tess is a result of modernization and civilization, and not from anything that would have originated in the country. The countryside is safe. She is protected and is not threatened. It is either the city life or the people from the city life who bring her suffering.

19 Introduction to Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the D'Urbervilles: Setting In Tess of the d’Urbervilles action takes place in Wessex County, England during the Victorian era. Late 19th century is a time period of the reign of Queen Victorian( ). The area that s depicted is of England to the southwest of London. Almost all of Hardy's novels take place in this same general area. The towns he mentions in Tess might appear in other novels, but they're all fictionalized versions of that real region of England. Hardy called his fictionalized version of this area "Wessex," so his novels that take place there are sometimes referred to as the "Wessex novels." Tess's childhood home of Marlott that is also in the county of Wessex is in the Vale of “Blakemore” or “Blackmoor”. Hardy repeatedly refers to the area by using both versions of its name. It is fictional valley but Hardy continually reminds us that there are two accepted pronunciations of it. In fact "Blakemore" is the older version of "Blackmoor" The words "Blake" was used in Middle English for "Black," and "More" was the old spelling of "Moor”. Keeping this explanation in mind may be we can conclude that may be Hardy wants to remind us how much history there is in this place.

20 Setting in Tess of the d'Urbervilles: The Role of Nature
Usually, the role of setting is limited in a piece of fiction. However, when it comes to Tess of the d'Urbervilles we can look at the setting of the novel as crucial to all the happenings. Nature, the setting of the novel, is almost a main character in the novel. Hardy uses setting and environment in  Tess of the d'Urbervilles to give actions a certain direction. Tess of the d'Urbervilles takes place in Wessex, a region of the southern English county of Dorset and neighboring counties Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, and Devon. The setting consists of more than the location, however, particularly in this novel. Nature, as a part of the setting, is an essential element in understanding the novel. It is also important that the countryside and the people who folk who live there not only provide a backdrop for the action of the story, but also lead and direct the action. In Tess of the d'Urbervilles, the characters and setting mirror each other. Happiness and Love= Green lovely environment Toil, Labour and Hard work = Barren land

21 Cont… Setting in Tess of the d'Urbervilles: The Role of Nature
The two main farms, Talbothays and Flintcomb-Ash, represent the best and worst of farm life. The farm is the only world that Tess knows. She never travels more than 50 miles from her place of birth. The whole of the work is rurally set, and with the level of detail, we can see Hardy's intimate knowledge of the inner workings of a nineteenth-century farm. There is little evidence of machinery. Animals are a means of transportation. However, some of modern life is projected. Though only twice, we notice "modern" machines in the novel, the train delivering the Talbothays milk to London and the threshing machine used at Flintcomb-Ash.

22 Introduction to Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: The Title "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" is the name of the heroine of the novel. From Tess Durbeyfield to Tess of the D'Urbervilles or vice versa. The subtitle of the novel could use some more attention, too. "A Pure Woman" was not part of the title in the novel's original manuscript, or in its initial publication in the Graphic magazine. As Hardy was revising the novel for its publication as a single volume in 1891, he felt the need to defend his heroine and her inherent purity so his added the subtitle, "A Pure Woman“.

23 Introduction to Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Hardy’s Writing Style: Pessimistic Reflects his personal sense of the inevitable tragedy that is human life. Simple diction Simple sentences Brief sentences This style suits his characters and backdrop. A variation from simple to complex.

24 Tess of the d’Urbervilles: Themes
Inevitable Suffering Permanence of Sin Social Class Changing ideas of Social Class in Victorian England Economic Repression Fate Male Dominance Responsibility Guilt

25 Hardy’s Concept of Religion
Criticism on Religion Expression of doubts Challenging religious practices Non-conservative view Mocking Exposing superficiality of knowledge Role of clergymen

26 Characters in Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Tess Durbeyfield / Tess of the d’Urbervilles Female protagonist. Beautiful Loyal Young Poor Responsible Committed to the family Lives with her family in the village of Marlott.

27 Angel Clare  Male protagonist An intelligent young man Does not want to be clergyman Wants to be a farmer Wants to preserve his intellectual freedom from the pressures of city life Doubts certain religious matters Meets Tess when she is a milkmaid at the Talbothays Dairy and quickly falls in love with her.

28 Alec: Handsome Amoral Son of a wealthy merchant He is not really a d’Urberville as his father simply took on the name of the ancient noble family after he built his mansion and retired. Manipulative Use money for power Exploits situations

29 Mr. John Durbeyfield -  Tess’s father Lazy Day dreamer A peddler in Marlott Takes pride in his family background Mrs. Joan Durbeyfield  Tess’s mother Simpleminded Forgiving Unable to understand the intricacies of situations Not very responsible Wise in some worldly ways

30 Mrs. d’Urberville Alec’s mother The widow of Simon Stokes Blind Not well and often ill Loves her animals

31 Reverend Clare Angel’s father A clergyman in the town of Emminster Focused on converting people Strict Principled Conservative Mrs. Clare Angel’s mother Loves her son Snobbish Reasonable

32 As far as References of Materials Used are concerned at the end of the novel the whole list of references would be given in the last session of the novel.

33 Review of the Current Session
Introduction to Thomas Hardy- The author of Tess of d’Urbervilles His birth and Early Education His Career His Works His Influence Introduction to the Novel Genre of the novel Setting of the novel Times and Religion with reference to Hardy and his novel Themes of the novel Important characters in the novel

34 Thank you very much!

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