Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, originally serialised in The Graphic in 1891 and, with some significant changes, published as a complete novel in 1892. The book was controversial even before serialisation, rejected by one publisher as too overtly sexual, to which a second added it did not publish 'stories where the plot involves frequent and detailed reference to immoral situations.' Hardy's description of Tess as 'A Pure Woman' in 1892 incensed some Victorian readers. He resented having to censor some of his scenes in the early versions, including references to Tess's baby following her rape by Alec d'Urberville, and even to a scene where Angel Clare lifted four milkmaids over a flooded lane (substituting transportation by wheelbarrow).

The image above, from the 1891 edition, is captioned 'It Was Not Till About Three O'clock That Tess Raised Her Eyes And Gave A Momentary Glance Round. She Felt But Little Surprise At Seeing That Alec D'urberville Had Come Back, And Was Standing Under The Hedge By The Gate'.

With

Dinah Birch
Professor of English Literature and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact at the University of Liverpool

Francis O'Gorman
Professor of Victorian Literature at the University of Leeds

And

Jane Thomas
Reader in Victorian and early Twentieth Century literature at the University of Hull

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Release date:

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 5 May 2016 21:30

Related topics

LINKS AND FURTHER READING

Francis O'Gorman at the University of Leeds

Jane Thomas at the University of Hull

Thomas Hardy – Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Thomas Hardy Society

The Victorian Web – Literature, History and Culture in the Age of Victoria

A Thomas Hardy Gallery: Places Important in His Life and Writings

Thomas Hardy – Wikipedia

 

READING LIST:

Lascelles Abercrombie, Thomas Hardy: A Critical Study (Secker, 1912)

Tim Armstrong, Haunted Hardy: Poetry, History, Memory (Macmillan, 2000)

Penny Boumehla, Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form (Barnes & Noble, 1982)

J. B. Bullen, Thomas Hardy: The World of his Novels (Frances Lincoln, 2013)

Mary Ellen Chase, Thomas Hardy, from Serial to Novel (first published 1927; Russell & Russell, 1964)

Vere H. Collins, Talks with Thomas Hardy at Max Gate, 1920-1922 (first published 1928; Duckworth, 1978)

R.G. Cox (ed.), Thomas Hardy: The Critical Heritage (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970)

Pamela Dalziel and Michael Millgate (eds.), Thomas Hardy’s ‘Studies, Specimens, Etc. Notebook’ (Clarendon, 1994)

Simon Gatrell, Hardy the Creator: A Textual Biography (Clarendon, 1988)

James Gibson (ed.), Thomas Hardy: Interviews and Recollections (Macmillan, 1999)

Timothy Hands, Thomas Hardy: Distracted Preacher? Hardy’s Religious Biography and Its Influence on His Novels (Palgrave Macmillan, 1989)

Thomas Hardy (ed. Scott Elledge), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (W. W. Norton, 1979)

Thomas Hardy (eds. Juliet Grindle and Simon Gatrell), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Oxford World’s Classic, 2005)

Thomas Hardy (eds. Phillip Mallett and Jane Thomas), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (Norton, 2016)

Geoffrey Harvey, The Complete Critical Guide to Thomas Hardy: A Sourcebook (Routledge, 2003)

Patricia Ingham, Thomas Hardy, Authors in Context (Oxford University Press, 2003)

Michael Irwin, Reading Hardy’s Landscapes (Macmillan, 2000)

Dale Kramer, Thomas Hardy: The Forms of Tragedy (Wayne State University Press, 1975)

Dale Kramer (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Hardy (Cambridge University Press, 1999)

Lawrence Lerner and John Holmstrom (eds.), Thomas Hardy and his Readers: A Selection of Contemporary Reviews (Bodley Head, 1968)

Scott MacEthron (ed.), Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Source Book (Routledge, 2005)

Philip Mallett (ed.), Thomas Hardy in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Rosemarie Morgan, Women and Sexuality in the Novels of Thomas Hardy (Routledge, 1988)

Rosemarie Morgan (ed,), The Ashgate Research Companion to Thomas Hardy (Ashgate, 2010)

Michael Millgate, Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited (Oxford University Press, 2004)

Francis O’Gorman, Blackwell’s Critical Guide to the Victorian Novel (Blackwell, 2002)

Norman Page (ed.), The Oxford Reader’s Companion to Hardy (Oxford University Press, 2000)

Ralph Pite, Thomas Hardy: The Guarded Life (Picador, 2006)

Jane Thomas, Thomas Hardy, Femininity and Dissent: Reassessing the ‘Minor’ Novels (Palgrave, 1999)

Jane Thomas, Thomas Hardy and Desire (Palgrave, 2013)

Claire Tomalin, Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man (Viking, 2006)

Paul Turner, The Life of Thomas Hardy: A Critical Biography (Blackwell, 2001)

Peter Widdowson (ed.), Tess of the d’Urbervilles: New Casebooks (Macmillan, 1993)

Keith Wilson (ed.), A Companion to Thomas Hardy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)

 

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterMelvyn Bragg
Interviewed GuestDinah Birch
Interviewed GuestFrancis O'Gorman
Interviewed GuestJane Thomas
ProducerSimon Tillotson

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