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Etched against the background of a dying rural society, Tess of the d'Urbervilles was Thomas Hardy's 'bestseller,' and Tess Durbeyfield remains his most striking and tragic heroine. Of all the characters he created, she meant the most to him. Hopelessly torn between two men—Alec d'Urberville, a wealthy, dissolute young man who seduces her in a lonely wood, and Angel Clare, her provincial, moralistic, and unforgiving husband—Tess escapes from her vise of passion through a horrible, desperate act.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) is one of the few writers to succeed as both a major novelist and a poet. He is the author of The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and Jude the Obscure. Several of his novels have been made into films, notably Far from the Madding Crowd (Schlesinger, 1967) and Tess (Polanski, 1979). (amazon.com)