A Pair of Blue Eyes (Wordsworth Classics)

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9781853262777: A Pair of Blue Eyes (Wordsworth Classics)
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With a new Introduction by Cedric Watts, Research Professor of English, University of Sussex.

A Pair of Blue Eyes, though early in the sequence of Hardy's novels, is lively and gripping. Its dramatic cliff-hanging episode, for example, is at once tense, ironic, feministic and erotic.

With settings in Wessex and London, the novel also has some strongly autobiographical features, as the blue-eyed heroine, Elfride Swancourt, is based largely on Emma Gifford, who became Thomas Hardy's first wife. Elfride's vivacious nature attracts several lovers, but she is beset by sexual prejudice, and the ensuing ironies reveal the constraints of her times.

A Pair of Blue Eyes provides an engaging and moving experience for today's readers.

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About the Author:

Thomas Hardy, (2 June 1840 - 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist, in the tradition of George Eliot, he was also influenced both in his novels and poetry by Romanticism, especially by William Wordsworth. Charles Dickens is another important influence on Thomas Hardy. Like Charles Dickens he was also highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focussed more on a declining rural society. While Hardy wrote poetry throughout his life, and regarded himself primarily as a poet, his first collection was not published until 1898. Initially therefore he gained fame as the author of such novels as Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895).

Synopsis:

"A Pair of Blue Eyes" is celebrated for its central scene which shocked and stimulated Victorian readers. Forever after it caused Hardy to be embroiled in arguments concerning the sexual morality of his novels in which he strove to show the stifling effects of social conventions on the human spirit. Rich with biographical echoes, this novel reveals the full emergence of the schematic ironies which characterize Hardy's later great works, and gives a suggestion of the tragic philosophy that came to dominate all he wrote. The loving nature of the heroine, Elfride Swancourt, pervades this novel, which has a singular unpolished charm.

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