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Thread: Gaps in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

  1. #1
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    Gaps in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

    I have just finished reading this book and found that there are still quite a lot of things that I would like to know more about. For example, why did Hardy choose to skip all of Tess's pregnancy? I am sure there could have been many beautiful words written about that, and pregnancy is a huge thing! It would have marked many changes in Tess's character and also in people's perceptions of her. Although she would have still been beautiful, her once immaculate appearance would certainly have changed! How would her family have reacted?

    There is of course, the scene at The Chase which is left ambiguous. At first I thought that this was because he couldn't go into the brutality due to the society of the time. Now I think there are other possible reasons too. For does it really matter whether Tess was raped or seduced; should either make her any less pure as a woman?(or as a human being)

    Are there any other 'gaps' in the text that anyone can think of? Any events or themes that are mentioned but not fully developed? I'm interested to hear what you think. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Registered User muhsin's Avatar
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    Help in rephrasing your question a lilttle bit more? Because, I have also throughly read the book,there then, I even rated it as the one of the well written novels I have ever read in all my born days.

    Thus, your criticism really does suprise me. By the way, it's now comfirmed to me that different people different views. Any way, am waiting. May be I shall re-read it so as to find it simple/possible to respond your's great having thought of something like this.
    The source of any bad writing is the desire to be something more than a person of sense--the straining to be thought a genius. If people would say what they have to say in plain terms, how much eloquent they would be.

  3. #3
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    I noticed some of these gaps, also, stillill (and welcome to the forum, by the way ).
    This book slightly confuses me, as I have nearly completed it for the second time, and I suppose I expected something more similar to Jude The Obscure, where no details appear excluded. Why Hardy left out the details of the pregnancy I wondered, too, yet the baby's death (Sorrow) seemed very accurately described. Considering many of the dark undertones of Tess, and others noticing her odd many with the baby, perhaps hints at which seemed more shocking a relevant for her: the baby's death rather than its birth.
    That jump from having no children, and Tess and Alec constantly arguing, to Tess having a child confused me, too, but made some partial sense when really thinking of it; some chapters proceed with so much description and detail, and others scatter about sporadically. Beautiful novel, nonetheless.

  4. #4
    I didn't think anything would have been gained by describing in details Tess's pregnancy....She's already miserable....It's a miserable situation....What's the point?....Nothing happened that was the key to the plot during the pregnancy.

    But regarding Tess's arrest and imprisonment....It is clear that her sister and Angel are taking her advice(they are holding hands when she is executed) and starting a relationship....It would have been interesting to see the genesis of that in more detail.

  5. #5
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    These gaps can no doubt be explained by the restraints placed on all writers in Hardy's day regarding topics that were considered more or less indecent. Most of Hardy's novels were first serially published in popular magazines, and he had more than a few fights with editors over material they considered indecent, or not suitable for a family audience.

    I have more time now and wanted to elaborate on the above. According to a Note on the Text by David Skilton that is included in my Penguin Classics edition of Tess, Hardy sought publication in at least three magazines -- Murray's, MacMillan's and Graphic -- the first two rejecting the manuscript on "moral grounds" and Graphic, which eventually serialized the novel, requiring Hardy to do extensive rewriting. Skilton notes that Hardy "'carried out this unceremonious concession to conventionality with cynical amusement.'" Hardy had to delete the scene depicting Tess' seduction as well as all references to her child. Hardy had similar experiences with the initial serial publication of Jude the Obscure and those experiences led him to stop writing novels. He concentrated on writing poetry after that.
    Last edited by rmd; 11-24-2007 at 03:03 PM.

  6. #6
    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Gaps in characterising Alec. At the beginning of the novel it looks like Hardy's attempted a characterisation but then it all descends into pantomime villain.

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