Free eBook The Well-Beloved download

by Thomas Hardy

Free eBook The Well-Beloved download ISBN: 1406924911
Author: Thomas Hardy
Publisher: Hard Press (November 3, 2006)
Language: English
Pages: 146
Category: Imaginative Literature
Subcategory: Classics
Size MP3: 1888 mb
Size FLAC: 1892 mb
Rating: 4.3
Format: doc azw txt mbr

The Well-Beloved: A Sketch of a Temperament is a novel by Thomas Hardy, serialized in 1892, and published as a book in 1897. The main setting of the novel, the Isle of Slingers, is based on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, southern England

The Well-Beloved: A Sketch of a Temperament is a novel by Thomas Hardy, serialized in 1892, and published as a book in 1897. The main setting of the novel, the Isle of Slingers, is based on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, southern England. Many of Hardy's novels were set in Dorset. The Well Beloved is one of Hardy's last novels. It was first published in three-part serial form in 1892, and then revised and re-published as a book in 1897, after Hardy's last novel Jude the Obscure (1895).

A Supposititious Presentment Of Her. 4. The Incarnation Is Assumed To Be True.

The well beloved, . The Well-Beloved, . 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20. The Well-Beloved.

Home Thomas Hardy The Well-Beloved. In thinking how best to do this Pierston recollected that, as was customary when the summer-time approached, Sylvania Castle had been advertised for letting furnished. The well beloved, . A solitary dreamer like himself, whose wants all lay in an artistic and ideal direction, did not require such gaunt accommodation as the aforesaid residence offered; but the spot was all, and the expenses of a few months of tenancy therein he could well afford.

То́мас Ха́рди - крупнейший английский писатель и поэт поздневикторианской эпохи. Основные темы его романов - всевластие враждебной человеку судьбы, господство нелепой случайности. Место действия - вымышленный Уэссекс на юго-западе Англии.

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Jocelyn Pierston, celebrated sculptor, tries to create an image of his ideal woman - his imaginary" Well-Beloved"- in stone, just as he tries to find her in the flesh. Powerful symbolism marks this romantic fantasy that Hardy has grounded firmly in reality with a characteristically authentic rendering of location, the Isle of Slingers, or Portland as we know it.

Thomas Hardy (2nd June 1840 - 11th January 1928), celebrated poet and writer, was born in a modest thatched cottage near Dorchester in the West country, to a builder father.

Thomas Hardy (2nd June 1840 - 11th January 1928), celebrated poet and writer, was born in a modest thatched cottage near Dorchester in the West country, to a builder father

Thomas Hardy This is the last novel that Thomas Hardy wrote although the story was serialized in a somewhat different form about five years before.

Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. This is the last novel that Thomas Hardy wrote although the story was serialized in a somewhat different form about five years before. I thought this book was lighter in tone than Jude the Obscure.

User reviews
It was pretty slow until the last third of the book. There was an overcast feeling throughout because the main character grappled with a psychological burden that comes across in Hardy's other books but less obviously. There's no doubt that the writing style is superior but I found myself having to concentrate and still it didn't grab me until the end. It was the ending that made it a worthwhile read.
The Well-Beloved sounds very modern; it's got that brilliant minimalist prose Hardy does so well, and reminds me of many novels about twenty-something commitment-phobes. Jocelyn Pierston (sp? sorry - I just returned it to the library) has an "ideal" type of woman in mind (and the ideal keeps changing) so that no real female ever fit the bill. Consequently, he remains unmarried - and lonely - and he's forever (patronizingly) fidgeting with the lives of his discarded muses to the point that he actually harms some of them. One of the weaknesses of the novel is that the protagonist is supposed to be a brilliant sculptor. However, he is never shown pursuing his art. This reminds me of Philip Roth's main character in "Everyman," a professional (late-life) painter. Though Hardy was an architect, like Roth he has not captured the character of a visual artist. As both a novelist and a painter I know what it means to be a passionate visual artist. There are "quirks" in such people - ways of literally seeing the world - that these otherwise great writers have missed entirely, giving proof to the contention that a writer should write about what he/she knows. Both books left me with a sense of their emptiness, though I also gave Roth high marks at his Amazon site for "Everyman." Despite the lack in both novels, these writers know how to burn words into paper, mind and soul. Just to be in their presence, even to read a lesser novel, is to hear what it is to write. Too bad their protagonists don't make us see what it is to sculpt or paint.
Jude the Obscure is often called Thomas Hardy's last novel, but 1897's The Well-Beloved came two years later. The latter would be significant for this alone, but it has many other points of artistic and historical significance; also, though far from Hardy's best, it is quite good in itself. All fans and critics should read it, not least because it was the last novel one of the world's greatest writers chose to give us and almost his last piece of fiction.

The book has an interesting and complex publishing history. Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles was rejected by his chosen serial publisher on sexual grounds, and he chose to cancel the contract and submit another serial later. The trouble he continued to have with Tess convinced him that his next novel, Jude the Obscure, would also be rejected, so he put it aside and wrote The Well-Beloved as the serial replacement instead. As this suggests, it appeared at a very important point. It was serialized just as Tess, which catapulted Hardy to worldwide fame and ignited a firestorm of controversy, was published as a novel. Though undeniably lesser, The Well-Beloved indeed shares much with Tess and Jude, not least in thematic terms. All three paint an extremely bleak picture of domestic life, particularly marriage, and otherwise heavily criticize other Victorian society aspects, sexual mores especially. Jude parallels are especially strong; some of The Well-Beloved narrator's marriage critiques were slightly modified and used in Jude, and there are obvious similarities between the books' heroines and their married interactions. All this would make the book invaluable to hard-cores and scholars as a snapshot of Hardy's thought and artistic concerns of the time even if it had no literary merit.

The Well-Beloved is also of historical interest for reasons not directly related to Hardy. Most notably, it deals with contemporary concerns and events in a way Hardy had not previously done. A proto-feminist, he had long been concerned with women's issues, and the times were finally beginning to catch up. Modern feminism was beginning in earnest, as many 1890s novels - e.g., Kate Chopin's The Awakening - reflect in various ways. Hardy was of course no exception. He famously said in a contemporary letter that his goal was - I am paraphrasing - to destroy the doll in English fiction in order for England to have any kind of fiction at all. The Well-Beloved is an early attempt, certainly less overt than Tess and Jude but leaning in their direction. The three main female characters are certainly not models of current feminism but stand far above Victorian clichés as bold women with independent streaks, individual touches, and some clear merits. Hardy is famous for his heroines, and the book's three Avices are among his most overlooked. His novels had idealized women almost from the start but in a way very different from other Victorian writers, much less the social ideal. This has fascinated feminists and had a profound influence on later writers like D. H. Lawrence and Marcel Proust. The Well-Beloved is the epitome of this tendency. The Avices are not Hardy's strongest, most independent, or most conventionally appealing heroines but are his most idealized. They are almost otherworldly in their attributes and, most importantly, their significance. It is mesmerizing to see how he works them into his narrative, and those interested in his life and thought will appreciate them as a glimpse into the mind of a man far ahead of his time.

Though obviously tame by later standards, the book was also astonishingly frank about related sexual issues. In an era when statues were covered and it was not even socially permissible to mention legs or ankles, it referred openly to premarital sex and its consequences, treats marriage with a lightness remarkable even now, and has several instances of cohabitation. This is of great interest as a portrait of an era. Laughable as it now is, many thought the book nothing less than pornographic. One critic infamously accused Hardy of sex mania, saying "Mr Hardy has once more afforded a dismayed and disgusted public the depressing spectacle of genius on the down grade." Particularly amusing are the euphemisms Hardy was forced to use; for example, he refers to the actual rural England practice of sex between couples with marriage contingent on pregnancy as the "ratification of their betrothal, according to the precedent of their sires and grandsires." There is also a good deal of sexual symbolism; as always with Hardy, Freudians will have a proverbial field day. Yet, also as always with him, these elements never overwhelm the story. Hardy clearly had a didactic purpose by now but was never preachy and very rarely heavy-handed. He makes what he has to say arise naturally - forgetting to do so being a fatal sin that many writers, especially late in their careers, unfortunately commit. Hardy is notable for avoiding it and, here as nearly everywhere, should serve as a model.

Related and at least as important is the book's central idea - that a man can have an ideal "Well-Beloved," perhaps more spirit than real, that manifests itself in individual women, causing the man to love them with a slavelike passion, but can switch to another woman without warning. It may last for days or years, and there may be long periods between, but the man is as loving and faithful as possible when it is there yet loses all interest as soon as it goes, causing an endless cycle. Many saw this as a mere ploy to exploit the "sex mania" Victorians seemed obsessed with, and it is now easy to assume Hardy was simply using it as a euphemism for unpopular ideas now considered commonplace. However, this sells him very short as both artist and thinker. It is in many ways the coalescence and culmination of various ideas pursued throughout his career. On one level, as noted, it is the apex of his female idealization. On another, perhaps more subtly, it is another instance of the fatalistic streak that increasingly dominated Hardy's fiction and became even more overt in his poetry. Based on Percy Shelley's "One shape of many names," the evil force inhabiting tyrants throughout history that enslaves the masses, it is Hardy's way of dramatizing what he later called "Love the Monopolist" and is another manifestation of what he eventually termed the "Imminent Will" - the blind force, slowly gaining consciousness, that rules the universe. Men have no control over The Well-Beloved; they can neither resist it nor make it stay. Some may still say this is a convenient way of skirting moral issues, which Hardy surely realized to his convenience, but he would not have thought in such simplistic terms.

As this suggests, the book has a fantastic quality distinctly opposed to Hardy's usual realist/naturalist fiction, and he indeed classed it with his "Romances and Fantasies." Other novels in this category - e.g., A Pair of Blue Eyes - have a similar air of unreality, but this is alone in being essentially allegorical. Hardy is famous - or infamous, depending on whom you ask - for complex plotting and exploitation of melodramatic coincidence, but this exceeds all others in being so implausible that it is almost impossible to accept at face value. His denouncers always assume that he lacked the skill to plot without relying on such things and that he uses them for shock value - in short, that he is amateurish. In fact, though, anyone who knows anything about him is well aware that it was very conscious artistically and philosophically - Hardy's way of dramatizing a universe where people are no more significant than any other element and just as much the prey of fate's "purblind doomsters." This is especially so here; Hardy had jotted down the Well-Beloved concept several years prior, also exploring it in contemporaneous poems, and thought of the book as a "fantastic little tale." Adding to the sense of unreality are light-hearted chapter titles that poke fun at the events and protagonist in a way Hardy never did elsewhere in fiction and rarely in poetry.

The Well-Beloved is in fact what no other Hardy novel is - an allegory. Hardy's painstaking attention to realist detail and some of his other characteristics make him an unlikely allegorist, but he succeeds admirably. The subject also ties the book to its era - the artistic ethos, shown by works like Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray to be a hot topic. The book is subtitled "A Sketch of A Temperament," and so it is - Hardy's depiction of one kind of artistic temperament, perhaps what he saw as the ideal or even the only one. The sculptor protagonist, Jocelyn Pierston, symbolizes all artists, The Well-Beloved symbolizes his muse, and his attempts to translate them into sculpture symbolize how artists transmute muse into art. All this is fairly obvious; the real interest comes in how Hardy shows the process' effect on everyday life and how the two play off of, and often conflict with, one another. Fantastical as it is, many see the novel as one of Hardy's most autobiographical, and there is much to support this. Those interested in his life and techniques will thus find much to engross them, but the important thing to focus on is his general point. Hardy unfortunately never formally formulated his aesthetic theory to the degree of many other Victorian writers, and this, his most purely aesthetic novel, may be the closest he ever came; fans and critics will want to read it for this alone.

Thankfully, though, there is far more. Different as it is from his other works in many ways, there is also much to attract fans. Chief among these is a profound sense of place. Perhaps no one equals Hardy in not only describing settings so realistically that verisimilitude is astonishingly vivid but also in making them an integral part of the story; setting for him is never mere backdrop. Most of the book is set in the Isle of Slingers, which is closely based on the Isle of Portland in Hardy's native Southwest England. Though not usually considered one of Hardy's Wessex novels, this shares many elements with those acclaimed works. The scene is lovingly and painstakingly portrayed, seeming to truly come alive in a way later fiction has rarely even approximated and certainly never equaled. Hardy's trademark pathos is also very present; lack of realism makes it hard to identify with the characters as strongly as in most Hardy works, but they gain our sympathy, and the book takes us on a roller coaster ride of emotions. We also get a good sense of why Hardy was arguably Victorian fiction's suspense master - not his least influential characteristic. His masterly characterization is also on strong display, and the social and artistic commentary gives readers plenty of substantial meat.

Yet the novel is clearly below Hardy's top tier. At about 150 pages, it is much shorter than all his novels except Under the Greenwood Tree and The Trumpet-Major, and it lacks the major works' ambition. The latter's epic sweep and full tragic hit are missing, and there is an awkwardness to some of the prose that had been missing since his first few novels. Anyone expecting another Tess or Jude will be disappointed.

Hardy clearly knew this and probably would have been the first to admit that he gave the serial relatively little effort. It was written quickly under deadline pressure and interrupted by preparations for the novel publication of Tess; this probably accounts for the length as well as picking up an old idea and the possible heavy autobiographical reliance. Jude was clearly prioritized; Hardy finished it and saw it through novel publication before returning to The Well-Beloved. He revised all his books for novel form, but The Well-Beloved got by far the most numerous and drastic changes - another Tess/Jude connection. Hardy never found a serial publisher willing to print those works as written and was forced to print bowdlerized versions, restoring them only in novel publication. Though immensely popular, both were widely denounced as immoral; the furor became so great that Hardy decided to abandon novels.

However, he still had The Well-Beloved to publish in novel form and finally began the task five years after the serial. Hardy bravely refused to compromise his art to public decorum throughout his sixty-year writing career, but the Tess/Jude explosion left him disgusted and cynical. Wishing to avoid further controversy and return to poetry, his real literary love, he thus engaged in an extraordinary act of self-censorship, altering and removing most or all of what he thought might offend. He removed the harshest marriage and monogamy critiques and considerably toned down sexual suggestiveness, for instance moving premarital sex references from dialogue to narration and deleting the mention of Pierston kissing Marcia's underwear when he dries her clothes.

Several other significant changes seem unrelated; Hardy likely changed his idea of what the novel should be after finally giving it due attention and seemed to want it more cleanly rounded for final publication. These changes ranged from deleting chapter one - which some speculate Hardy thought gave too much of himself away - to changing name spellings. Yet the extent of the changes is often exaggerated. One often sees the claim that the two versions are practically different novels, and many recent editions have both in full. However, the great majority is identical or nearly so, and the middle section is almost unchanged. True fans and scholars will of course want both, but those wishing to avoid repetition can safely restrict themselves to the serial's first nine and last six chapters. Aside from removing controversy, the changes are of little significance until the latter. As desire to avoid controversy was clearly not the driving force behind this changed final section, it indisputably stands as Hardy's final vision. However, as with the lesser changes made to other works, one can easily debate if this was for the better. The final ending arguably arises more naturally, but the original is clearly more in line with Hardy's tragic vision and determinism. If the third Avice's refusal to marry Pierston in the final version is more believable for her character, so is the latter's attempted suicide in the serial, and Marcia's original return is certainly far more plausible. More importantly, the original ending's dark concatenation of circumstances drives Hardy's bleak message home in a far more biting and grandly sweeping way than the somewhat abrupt and inconclusive final ending. Perhaps he thought it too heavy-handed or wanted to end his fiction career on a more positive note. It would be hard to blame these impulses, but I find the first ending indisputably superior artistically, and I cannot shake the feeling that Hardy begrudgingly compromised his vision in the final for insufficient, if unknown, reasons. At any rate, it is surely true that the final words - his closing statement in and on a quarter century of fiction - were written with not only his past work, and Tess/Jude particularly, in mind but also the future: "At present he is sometimes mentioned as `the late Mr Pierston' by gourd-like young art-critics and journalists; and his productions are alluded to as those of a man not without genius, whose powers were insufficiently recognised in his lifetime."

Hardy himself was of course insufficiently appreciated in life, or at least at the time, and it is a testament to his far-seeing vision that he was confident time would mitigate his era's unfair prejudices. His reputation is now higher than ever, and he remains well-read and immensely influential. The Well-Beloved is a minor part of his legacy but an essential one for fans and critics, while its significant differences from his other work also mean those not normally keen on his fiction may well be pleasantly surprised.

As for this edition, it is ideal for most because it is not only inexpensive but has both versions of the story; an excellent introduction with substantial background on Hardy, the novel, and the historical context plus some initial analysis; and useful notes. It is one of the best versions available.
Far be it for me to argue with a professor emeritus at the prestigious U. of Nottingham, and a highly regarded literary scholar, but I have an axe to grind with Norman Page about a notation. Regarding this passage on page 81:

"It was a young hand, rather long and thin, a little damp and coddled* from her slopping."

Page says "the meaning [of coddled] is obscure - possibly `warm' or `heated' is meant."

Anyone who cooks would recognize the word as meaning waterlogged in warm-to-hot water, as in a coddled egg. Ann Avice is, after all, a laundress, so she would naturally have dishpan hands.

I'd send this note to the publisher, but I can't locate the company online.

Otherwise, this is one of Hardy's finest novels, different in many meaningful ways from his previous novels. It's a must-read for a lover of Hardy, possibly more autobiographical even than "A Pair of Blue Eyes."
As much as I love to read, I wasn't very convinced about this book when my dad picked it out. But I can now say it's one of the best books I have ever read. It's sad yet honest, beautifully written. I recommend this book highly.