Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Thomas HARDY

Item#: 83741 We're sorry, this item has been sold

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“SHE WAS DOOMED TO BE SEEN AND MARKED AND COVETED BY THE WRONG MAN”: TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES, FIRST EDITION, MIXED ISSUES

HARDY, Thomas. Tess of the D’Urbervilles. A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented. (London: James R. Osgood, McIlvaine, 1891-92). Three volumes. Octavo, early 20th-century three-quarter brown polished calf gilt, raised bands, tan morocco spine labels, marbled edges.

First edition, mixed issues, of “unquestionably one of the greatest novels written in the last century… among the immortal works of English literature” (Rosenbach 29:188).

With his novel Tess, Hardy first came into conflict with the dictates of conventional Victorian morality. After two editors had asked Hardy for changes, he decided instead “not to offer the novel intact to the third editor [Arthur Locker of the Graphic] on his list… but to send it up with some chapters or parts of chapters cut out, and instead of destroying those to publish them, or much of them, elsewhere… till they could be put back in their places at the printing of the whole in volume form” (Seymour-Smith, 411). Some of the excised chapters appeared in the Fortnightly Review and the National Observer. “The subtitle [‘A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented’] was important to Hardy’s purpose… The publication of the novel created a violent sensation. Some reviewers were deeply impressed, but most considered the work immoral, pessimistic, extremely disagreeable, and as Henry James wrote, ‘chockful of faults and falsity” (Drabble, 972). Tess was serialized in the newspaper Graphic from July 4 through December 26, 1891 (see Webb, 62), “deliberately modified to suit the delicacy of editors” (DNB). This first edition in book form, published at the end of November 1891, restored the scenes that were altered or omitted for serial publication. Scarce first issues of Volume II (with XXV for XXXV on page 199) and Volume III (with “road” instead of “load,” third line up, page 198). Volume I is the 1892 second issue (with page 45, line 14 ending “her skin is as” rather than “her skin is”). Sadleir 1114. Webb, 24-27. Wolff 2993.

Marks of handling (especially Volume I), occasional spot of foxing. An extremely good copy.

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