The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved and the Well-Beloved (Penguin Classics)

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9780140435191: The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved and the Well-Beloved (Penguin Classics)

In The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (1892) and The Well-Beloved (1897), Hardy writes two different versions of a strange story set in the weird landscape of Portland.The central figure is a man obsessed both with the search for his ideal woman and with sculpting the perfect figure of a naked Aphrodite. The pursuit finally fixes on three women called Avice Caro—grandmother, mother and daughter—in a way that mixes tragedy and high farce.

The books were written one before and one after his "last" novel, Jude the Obscure (1895). Both stories are richly ambiguous but the first shows the successful exercise of masculine power and the second shows women triumphant. The double work, coming at the end of Hardy's long career as a novelist, anticipates modernist writing by offering not merely alternative endings but alternative plots. This edition is the first to provide both separate texts and separate commentaries.
In her introduction, Patricia Ingham explores Hardy's preoccupation with contingency and 'might-have-beens' in female-male relationships.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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About the Author:

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) wrote novels and poetry, much of which is set in the semi-imaginary county of Wessex. His novels include Far From the Madding Crowd (1874), The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge(1886), Tess of the D'Urbervilles(1891) and Jude the Obscure (1895). He published his first volume of poetry, Wessex Poems, in 1898 and continued to publish collections of poems until his death.

Patricia Ingham is Senior Research Fellow and Reader at St Anne's College, Oxford. She has written on the Victorian novel and on Hardy in particular. She is the General Editor of all of Hardy's fiction in the Penguin Classics and has edited Gaskell's North and South for the series.

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