• Reading Levels 3 - 5

Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Published in 1891, this ageless tale bought Thomas Hardy his first taste of fame and fortune, but it was not without its critics. His sympathies with his beloved protagonist, Tess, agitated social sensibilities of the time, as did his decision to subtitle the book “A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented". Modern critics, more palatably, have dubbed it an early feminist work which grapples with Victorian society’s viciously patriarchalA society in which adult men have a monopoly on power. In these societies, men tend to hold all political positions, and women and children are also expected to obey the men in their families. moral code whilst reflecting contemporary anxieties about industrialisationA period of social and economic change that transforms an agricultural society into an industrial one. and the destruction of a simple way of life.

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