Hardy's first published work, Desperate Remedies moves the sensation novel into new territory. The compelling story and the machinations of the evil Aeneas Manston also raise the great questions underlying Hardy's major novels, and this edition shows for the first time that the sensation genre was always Hardy's natural medium. Based on first edition text, and includes later prefaces and the Wessex Poems 'dissolved' into prose. - ;'She was swayed into emotional opinions concerning the strange man before her; new impulses of thought...entered into her with a gnawing thrill.' Hardy's first published work, Desperate Remedies moves the sensation novel into new territory. The anti-hero, Aeneas Manston, as physically alluring as he is evil, even fascinates the innocent Cytherea, though she is in love with another man. When he cannot seduce her, Manston resorts to deception, blackmail, bigamy, murder, and rape. Yet this compelling story also raises the great questions underlying Hardy's major novels, which relate to the injustice of the class system, the treatment of women, probability and causality. This edition shows for the first time that the sensation novel was always Hardy's natural medium. -
When country-girl Grace Melbury returns home from her middle-class school she feels she has risen above her suitor, the simple woodsman Giles Winterborne. Though marriage had been discussed between her and Giles, Grace finds herself captivated by Dr Edred Fitzpiers, a sophisticated newcomer to the area - a relationship that is encouraged by her socially ambitious father. Hardy's novel of betrayal, disillusionment and moral compromise depicts a secluded community coming to terms with the disastrous impact of outside influences. And in his portrayal of Giles Winterborne, Hardy shows a man who responds deeply to the forces of the natural world, thought they ultimately betray him.
Jude Fawley, the stonemason excluded not by his wits but by poverty from the world of Christminster privilege, finds fulfilment in his relationship with Sue Bridehead. Both have left earlier marriages. Ironically, when tragedy tests their union it is Sue, the modern emancipated woman, who proves unequal to the challenge.