Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, also known as Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman, Tess of the d'Urbervilles or just Tess, is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1891. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British illustrated newspaper, The Graphic. It is Hardy's penultimate novel, followed by Jude the Obscure. Though now considered a great classic of English literature, the book received mixed reviews when it first appeared, in part because it challenged the sexual mores of Hardy's day. The original manuscript is on display at the British Library, showing that it was originally titled "Daughter of the d'Urbervilles."
The novel is set in impoverished rural Wessex during the Long Depression. Tess is the eldest child of John and Joan Durbeyfield, uneducated rural peasants. One day, Parson Tringham informs John that he has noble blood. Tringham, an amateur genealogist, has discovered that "Durbeyfield" is a corruption of "D'Urberville", the surname of a noble Norman family, now extinct. Although the parson means no harm, the news immediately goes to John's head.
That same day, Tess participates in the...