Thursday, 2 March 2017

Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

For me one of the best parts of reading 19th century British literature is imagining the author's 19th century British experiences and perspectives. Compared to what we now enjoy just over 100 years later, Thomas Hardy's were extremely limited. It's fascinating to picture him, hunched over his desk -- in Higher Brockhampton, Dorset, England, where he lived for all but five of his 87 years -- under a dim, recently-invented electric light bulb, writing with an unperfected, recently-invented ballpoint pen, or possibly with a revolutionary yet antediluvian typewriter. Under such conditions, employing his collective historical knowledge and exceptional talent, he produced dozens of short stories, hundreds of poems and 15 great novels, among them the 1889 masterpiece Tess of the D'Urbervilles.