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Tess of the d'Urbervilles A Pure Woman - HARDY, Thomas (1840-1928) - 1891. 
Osgood, McIlvaine, London, 1891.. FIRST EDITIONS, FIRST ISSUES (many sets are mixed issue). 3 volumes; octavo, all half-titles present. Elegantly bound in recent half scarlet morocco with five raised bands, spines decorated in gilt, marbled sides and endpapers, top edge gilt. Internally clean, externally fine. An attractive copy. Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Hardy's twelfth published novel, was begun in 1889, eventually serialized in the Graphic (after being rejected by several periodicals) from 4 July to 26 December 1891 and in order to get past magazine censorship, Hardy was forced to cut some of the more sexually explicit passages. When Osgood, McIlvaine published the complete text of Tess in book form (December 1891), critics were both impressed at its brilliance and horrified at its unconventional moral stance. How could a murderess ever be a pure woman, many asked? The novel, which was surprisingly successful, went through a number of editions in the first few years and assured Hardy's financial future. After the notoriety of Tess, and his final novel Jude The Obscure (1895), Hardy gave up trying to write novels to please a mass audience and returned to poetry, his first love.
[Bookseller: Adrian Harrington Rare Books]
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