A Pure Woman

  • F. B. Pinion


To judge by Hardy’s reactions, the two expressions in Tess which caused most contemporary agitation and misunderstanding were the sub-title ‘A Pure Woman’ and the Aeschylean reference at the end: ‘“stice” was done, and the President of the Immortals … ad ended his sport with Tess.’ They are related, and they still seem to be misunderstood. Occasionally a critic writes as if Hardy believed in a malevolent Deity or Cause of Things, and more often critics write of Tess’s relations with Alec d’Urberville as if purity and innocence were irrelevant criteria.


Fine Side Irrelevant Criterion Rich Fertility Regrettable Result Hostile Criti 
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  1. 1.
    For the gradual ennoblement of Tess’s character by Hardy, see J. T. Laird, The Shaping of ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ (Oxford, 1975).Google Scholar

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© F. B. Pinion 1977

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  • F. B. Pinion

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