Tess Durbeyfield has become one of the most famous female protagonists in 19th-century British literature. Betrayed by the two men in her life - Alec D’Urberville, her seducer/rapist and father of her fated child; and Angel, her intellectual and pious husband - Tess takes justice, and her own destiny, into her delicate hands. In telling her desperate and passionate story, Hardy brings Tess to life with an extraordinary vividness that makes her live in the heart of the reader long after the novel is concluded.
"Davina Porter Does It Again!"
In a remote corner of early Victorian England, where traditional practices remain untouched by time, Bathsheba Everdene stands out as a beacon of female independence and self-reliance. However, when confronted with three suitors, among them the dashing Sergeant Troy, she shows a reckless capriciousness that threatens the stability of the whole community. Published in 1874, and an immediate best seller, Far From the Madding Crowd established Thomas Hardy as one of Britain's foremost novelists.
"Country tales and voices."
Eustacia Vye is cut off from the world in her grandfather's lonely cottage. Clym Yeobright seems to offer everything she dreams of: passion, excitement and the opportunity to escape. However, Clym's ambitions are quite different from hers, and marriage only increases Eustacia's destructive restlessness.
"Might Be My Favorite Audiobook of All Time!"
Read by Juliet Stevenson and Simon Callow, A Literary Christmas is a seasonal anthology that collects together poems, short stories, and prose extracts by some of the greatest poets and writers in the English language. Like Charles Dickens’ ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, they are representative of times old and new - from John Donne’s Elizabethan hymn over the baby Jesus to Rudyard Kipling’s "Christmas in India", from Thomas Tusser counting the cost of a Tudor feast to Laurie Lee’s "Cider with Rosie".
"Marvelous, with one very avoidable flaw"
The story of Tess, daughter of a poor peddler, is one of heartbreak and sorrow, deception and indecency. When sent to live with a wealthy family, the D'Urbervilles, who are not who they appear to be, Tess endures many hardships and abuse, while trying to make a fortune with the family to whom she believes she is related to. The abuse leads to her getting pregnant by a man named Alec.
Set in the Dorset landscape familiar to Hardy novels, The Woodlanders concerns the fortunes of Giles Winterborne, whose love for the well-do-do Grace Melbury is challenged by the arrival of a dashing and dissolute doctor, Edred Fitzpiers. When the mysterious Mrs Charmond further complicates the romantic entanglements, marital choice and class mobility become inextricably linked.
"Thomas Hardy lesser known work"
Hardy's third novel, A Pair of Blue Eyes, follows the story of Elfride Swancourt. The daughter of the rector of Endelstow, a sparse, sea-swept parish in Cornwall, Elfride is caught between two suitors of very different backgrounds: Stephen Smith, a young architect restoring the old parish church; and the respectable, older man of London society, Henry Knight. The blue-eyed and high-spirited protagonist must untangle the conflicting messages of her heart and her mind.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles is the 19th century novel lately thought to be one of the inspirations of E .L.James' Fifty Shades of Grey. It depicts the life of an impressionable, naive, somewhat educated young woman who yearns to be free to live her own life, but finds herself constricted by the bonds of the sexual, religious and socially hypocritical customs that have surrounded her from birth.
When the great Thomas Hardy published this heart-wrenching novel, he had no idea it would be his last. But the book stirred so much controversy and protest, Hardy vowed to never write fiction again. Jude the Obscure tells the story of a stonemason, tricked into a loveless marriage, who craves a formal education and a finer existence. Separated from his wife, Jude begins a new life with his cousin, and the couple defies social convention at every turn.
"A sad and world-changing book"
Sexually innocent Jude Fawley is trapped into marriage by seductive Arabella Donn, but their union is an unhappy one and Arabella leaves him. Jude's welcome freedom allows him to pursue his obsession with his pretty cousin Sue Bridehead, a brilliant, charismatic free-thinker who would be his ideal soul-mate if not for her aversion to physical love. When Jude and Sue decide to lead their lives outside marriage they bring down on themselves all the force of a repressive society.
The Woodlanders is vintage Hardy. The story revolves around the young woman Grace Melbury, who returns to the leafy world of Little Hintock and soon finds herself at the center of a number of tragic events. In penetrating, incisive, and beautiful prose, Hardy tells a moving tale of unrequited love as fate and the constraints of society thwart the happiness of our heroine. The leafy world of Blackmoor Vale and the hamlet of Little Hintock are all lovingly described by Hardy, who named The Woodlanders as the favorite of all his novels.
"A Masterpiece of writing and narration!"
When John Durbeyfield discovers a family connection to the ancient Norman family, the D'Urbervilles, the fate of daughter Tess is transformed. Sent by her ambitious parents to visit her wealthy D'Urberville cousins, Tess attracts the attention of the unscrupulous Alec. Seduced and discarded by him and alone in the world, she finds work as a milkmaid, and the love of Angel Clare. Yet his love cannot accept the truth about Tess's past.
"Peter Firth gets this book"
His last and most controversial novel, Jude the Obscure provoked such widespread and bitter attacks that Hardy claimed it caused him to stop writing novels. The primary causes of the uproar involved Hardy’s frank treatment of sexual themes and his unconventional portrayal of the pillars of Victorian society: the British university system, marriage, and religion. Today, many consider this to be Hardy’s finest work.
The fifth volume in CSA Word's massively popular complete and unabridged ‘Short Stories’ collection is bound to please. With something for everyone this collection of classic stories read by only the best-suited and most established readers will delight the ears as a vintage wine excites the gullet; The Vintage Collection is audible gold. Features eye-catching typographical series design.
"Superb Collection and Production"
Thomas Hardy brings us an England that once existed but no more. It is rural, traditional, pastoral - a society of mannered conduct that flows like a deep river where powerful currents eddy and swirl. In this powerful novel of love and disillusion, Hardy's heroine is torn between the three men in her life. Passionate but capricious, her romantic involvements have fascinated generations of readers.
"respite from the madding crowd"
Michael Henchard, drunk at a country fair, sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas. The following day, in despair and remorse, he forswears alcohol and sets out to redeem himself. In time, he becomes a respected merchant and eventually the mayor of the town. But Fate is not to be so easily appeased, and Henchard finds his past actions resonate through and destroy his plans for the future.
Christmas brings out the best and the worst in us, as can been seen in this evocative anthology. Among what Thomas Love Peacock calls the "many poetical charms in the heraldings of Christmas," there are eulogies by saints and diatribes from curmudgeons. Here, Christmas is expounded by divines, sung by rustics, deplored by philosophers, made mystical in stories and summed up in a line by the poet Elizabeth Jennings: "The hush, the star, the baby, people being kind again."
Michael Henchard gets drunk at a fair and sells his wife and child for five guineas to a sailor. Henchard proves to be violent, selfish, greedy and crude, yet at the same time he is magnanimous and humble.
Richard Burton reads from Hardy and Donne, and performs a wonderful unabridged version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (along with Robert Hardy and John Neville).
"A truly great voice reading some excellent poems"
Gabriel Oak is a young shepherd. With the savings of a frugal life and a loan, he has leased and stocked a sheep farm. He falls in love with a newcomer eight years his junior, Bathsheba Everdene, a proud beauty who arrives to live with her aunt, Mrs. Hurst. She comes to like him well enough and even saves his life once, but when he makes her an unadorned offer of marriage, she refuses; she values her independence too much and him too little.