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Extended Audio Sample Tess of the D’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, by Thomas Hardy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (82,160 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Thomas Hardy Narrator: Ralph Cosham Publisher: Craig Black Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Thomas Hardy’s novel of seduction and abandonment introduced his most memorable tragic heroine, the unworldly maiden Tess. On her morning journey to earn money for her impoverished family, Tess’ horse has an accident, forcing her to seek assistance from some newly rich relatives. There, she is vigorously pursued by Alec, who corners her in a field one night and takes advantage of her. After bearing a child who quickly dies, Tess meets and falls in love with Angel, a minister’s son who is infatuated with the image of Tess as the pure country maid. But when he learns the truth of her past, he shuns his new bride and leaves Tess once again to fend for herself in a world where she is only valued for her uses to others.

Explanatory Note to the First Edition of Tess of the D’Urbervilles:

“In respect of the book’s opinions and sentiments, I would ask any too genteel reader, who cannot endure to have said what everybody nowadays thinks and feels, to remember a well-worn sentence of St. Jerome’s: If an offence come out of the truth, better is it that the offence come than that the truth be concealed.”

Thomas Hardy, November 1891

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Quotes & Awards

  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles ranks as one of Hardy’s finest achievements.”

    Masterpieces of World Literature

  • “Lushly drawn, so sympathetically conveyed…Evocative descriptions are underpinned by a gripping story of love, loss, and tragedy.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Ralph Cosham’s narration of Hardy’s classic English novel captures the essence of naïve Tess, a poor, beautiful country girl. With textured characterizations and a seamless narrative, Cosham depicts Tess’ seduction and betrayal by Alec, a country nobleman. Cosham’s English accent and polished performance render the society and customs of the 1800s with a vividness that brings them to life…Cosham delivers the timeless appeal of Hardy’s tragic story of seduction and abandonment.”


  • “The tragic story of a woman wronged by two men and by the harsh, repressive society in which she lives. Hardy’s most striking and tragic heroine, Tess is a woman of intense vitality and innate goodness and the author’s favorite character.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “Now considered Hardy’s masterwork, [Tess of the D’Urbervilles] departed from conventional Victorian fiction in its focus on the rural lower class and in its open treatment of sexuality and religion.”

    Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature

  • “Defiantly subtitled A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, the novel expresses Hardy’s rejection of the conventional heroine of Victorian fiction.”

    The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English

  • “Hardy’s classic 1891 novel, about a young woman’s attempt at redemption following a scandal, demonstrates his fatalistic view regarding free will.”

    Library Journal

  • “[Tess of the D’Urbervilles is] Hardy’s finest, most complex, and most notorious novel…The novel is not a mere plea for compassion for the eternal victim, though that is the banner it flies. It also involves a profound questioning of contemporary morality.”

    Patricia Ingham, author of The Brontës

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Isobel | 2/15/2014

    " it was quite good i think. i'm not good at rating out of 5. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Alana Taylor | 2/13/2014

    " I have mixed feelings on this book. there are things i extremely dislike about the story. I was determined to finish it at all cost of my sanity trying to find some way to understand where Tess was coming from. When i finished it i appreciated it for what it was, a classic story of abuse, love gone wrong and crappy ass parenting. with that said maybe some day in the future ill give it another whirl "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Debra Nagy | 2/9/2014

    " This is a great classic that questions the morals and values of Victorian England. Beautiful imagery throughout the novel, and a wonderfully tragic tale. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Hiba | 1/27/2014

    " To say that Tess of the D'urbervilles is one of the most chauvinistic books I've ever read would be a complete understatement. This book made me want to tear my hair out and just bitch slap the hell out of everybody. I'd rather poke my eye out with a fork that to read this book ever again... Pardon my french, but this book fucking suck ass "

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