Tess of the d'Urbervilles  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialized version, published by the British illustrated newspaper, The Graphic. It is Hardy's penultimate novel, followed by Jude the Obscure. Though now considered a great classic of English literature, the book received mixed reviews when it first appeared, in part because it challenged the sexual mores of Hardy's day. A copy of the book was burnt by the bishop of Wakefield, William Walsham How.


The novel was successfully adapted for the stage twice. An 1897 production by Lorimer Stoddard was a great Broadway triumph for actress Minnie Maddern Fiske who later starred in a 1902 revival and a 1916 motion picture of the production. Another adaptation by playwright Ronald Gow became a triumph on the West End in 1946 starring Wendy Hiller.

An Italian operatic version written by Frederic d'Erlanger was first performed in Naples in 1906, but the run was cut short by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The opera came to London in 1909 and was attended by Hardy.

It has also been adapted several times for television and film. The best-known example is Tess, filmed in 1979, directed by Roman Polanski. The most recent and faithful adaptation was the miniseries "Tess of the D'Urbervilles", produced by London Weekend Television and directed by Ian Sharp in 1998, starring Justine Waddell and Jason Flemyng.

The BBC recently commissioned their own adaptation, written by David Nicholls, to air in September 2008. The cast includes Gemma Arterton as Tess, Hans Matheson as Alec, and Eddie Redmayne as Angel.


Taglines used to advertise the film include:

  • "She was born into a world where they called it seduction, not rape. What she did would shatter that world forever."
  • "She was a poor man's daughter, an aristocrat's mistress, and a gentleman's wife. She was Tess, a victim of her own provocative beauty."

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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