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Thread: Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    George Town Tasmania Australia

    Tess of the D’Urbervilles.


    I first came across Thomas Hardy in grades 11 and 12 in Burlington Ontario. His novels The Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of the D’Urbervilles were the novels we studied in those last two years at Burlington Central High School. I was a good student, near the top of my class, but I remember finding Hardy: heavy, cumbersome, difficult reading, although nowhere near as difficult as the Shakespeare play we also studied each year. I did not come across Hardy again until some thirty years later in the early 1990s when I taught matriculation English at a technical and further education college in Perth Western Australia. Again, it was Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

    And so it was, when I saw this novel brought to life by some of Britain’s best young acting talent, filmed in the U.K. in 2008 and shown on ABC11 this week, I could not help but reflect and so wrote this prose-poem. Greek humanism and not Christian revelation, in the end, stands out in Hardy. It is a road I would have gone down myself had I not discovered a new Flame-Voice and Its extreme solutions, a new prophet placed in Israel’s oven where the heat consumes everything but compassion.2-Ron Price with thanks to (1)ABC1 TV, Sunday 8:30, 11 April 2010 and (2)Roger White, Occasions of Grace, George Ronald, Oxford, 1992, p.102 and p.97.

    How could one forget your words:
    happiness is but one occasional....
    episode in a general drama of pain!
    No wonder I found you ponderous at
    the age of 16 when the oils of youth
    were bulging out...seeking to grease
    and light my life beyond that world
    of sport, school, girls and endlessly
    familiar stuff that was my life then.

    Your reputation for extreme pessimism,
    your pessimistic pantheism, precedence
    of feeling over thought.....religious and
    metaphysical uncertainties...a nostalgia
    for the things of everyday, a longing for
    lost faith, seeing change as superficial in
    your world—its doomed stronghold of
    ancient ways of life, morbid in a way, but
    also sublimely compassionate: your many-
    sided personality, Thomas, very attractive.

    Your sense of dignity, of awe and a power
    of endurance in a timeless universe: what a
    grand and strange place which we glimpse
    only momentarily through the accidents and
    coincidences, the tragic fate and a series of
    kicks on the long road, long haul to disaster:
    no light at the end of your tunnel, eh, Thomas?

    Ron Price
    16 April 2010
    Updated and edited
    On: 1/10/'11
    Last edited by RonPrice; 01-10-2011 at 12:31 PM. Reason: to edit this prose-poem
    married for 42 years, a teacher for 35 and a Baha'i for 50

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    I had to read this bloody book in year 12.

    3 pages to describe a hill. We had to analyse the use of red in the book. Thomas Hardy is still a swear word in our house

    The story of Tess is great & tragic, and Alec well he was an arsehole. I just didn't go for Hardy's writing style.

  3. #3
    walli's Avatar
    walli is offline Winner - Most Consistent Member Award 2009 Committed forum member

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    Apr 2007
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    I had to read it in year 11, and I read it before we started it at school, which I'm glad about - I liked it much more BEFORE we dissected it in English Lit!
    Not anymore, Dear...

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    George Town Tasmania Australia
    Yes, sadly, the analysis of books in English classes turns many.most readers off Hardy. "Such is life," as the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly is reported to have said on the way to the gallows in 1880.-Ron
    married for 42 years, a teacher for 35 and a Baha'i for 50

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    George Town Tasmania Australia

    Thomas hardy and his notebooks

    I also found Hardy difficult at high school but, later in life, I came back to him. The following prose poem tells a little about my interest, interest as a writer and poet. Hardy saw himself mostly as a poet.-Ron Price, Australia
    I have a faculty...for burying an emotion in my heart or brain for forty years, and exhuming it at the end of that time as fresh as when interred.-Thomas Hardy, Notebooks, in The World of Poetry: Poets and Critics on the Art and Functions of Poetry, Clive Sansom, selector, Phoenix House, London, 1959, p.26.

    Some would say that’s not a good idea, Thomas;
    confusing burying with repressing is understandable.
    For me burying is an unconscious process
    associated with memory, so that remembering
    is like creating something anew,
    not always mind you, experiencing it
    for the first time, again and again.

    If I have any gift as a poet it is this
    and it extends from strong experiences
    to minute observations. This is the fresh
    centre of richness which feeds imagination,
    feeds the present with charged particles,
    with blood and bone, with glance & gesture
    & the poem rises & goes forth like a phoenix
    from the ashes where emotion lies buried,
    exhumed fresh & tasted as if in some other
    world by some other me, as if for the first time.

    17 September 1995
    Updated for Aussie Phorums
    On: 1/10/'11
    Last edited by RonPrice; 01-10-2011 at 12:07 PM. Reason: to add some words
    married for 42 years, a teacher for 35 and a Baha'i for 50

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