A meteoric social rise and fall is at the heart of Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge. This stunning new Folio Society edition is part of our Wessex novels collection.
Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Illustrated by Peter Reddick
Preface by the author
A sorrowful tale about social mobility, Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles is part of the new Folio Society Wessex collection. Each edition is illustrated with Peter Reddick’s evocative woodcuts.
Tess Durbeyfield comes from a humble background, so when a flippant conversation in a tavern reveals that her family is descended from the noble d’Urbervilles, Tess’s father imagines a way to improve their fortunes. This sets in motion a classic coming-of-age tale that is full of Hardy’s characteristic highs and lows, fraught soul-searching and redemption, all set against the backdrop of the archetypal English rural idyll.
‘Hardy was first and foremost a landscape novelist, a landscape poet, who painted enduring pictures of a natural world – a real outdoor world – which forms the stage on which his characters live out their tragic lives.’
- The Hardy Society
Bound in cloth blocked with a decorative motif
Set in Baskerville
22 integrated black & white woodcut illustrations
Printed map endpapers
9˝ × 5¾˝
A long and sorrowful road
With a family of d’Urbervilles living conveniently close by, it is decided that Tess will visit them and appeal to their better nature in order to claim kinship. She sets off, blissfully unaware that, in reality, no blood ties exist between their two families – the local d’Urbervilles adopted, rather than inherited, their grand-sounding surname. The naïve Tess strikes up an unwise friendship with d’Urberville son Alec and this leads to the familiar story of a working-class girl seduced by a wealthy man. Although Tess’s innocence is severely tested and the outcome is grim, there is hope and fleeting chances of happiness for our protagonist.
Hardy offers no prescription for carefree rural living in his Wessex series. In this case, the stunning settings offset the misery that Tess endures simply to get by. She must deal with heartbreak, grief and shame as the plot unfolds, all the while knowing that her efforts to elevate the family’s social status have been in vain.
A new Folio Society collection
Tess of the d’Urbervilles is produced in series with the best of Thomas Hardy’s other Wessex novels – Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude the Obscure. The edition is illustrated with 22 of Peter Reddick’s delightful wood engravings and includes printed map endpapers depicting Wessex in glorious detail. Reddick’s corn-dolly motifs also appear on the cloth binding and are replicated on the slipcase. This is made from Fragrance of Grass paper, which is created using an ancient Chinese paper-making method that results in a unique appearance and texture.
About Thomas Hardy
About Peter Reddick
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