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Angel Clare...

(31 Posts)
AphraBehn Sun 15-Sep-13 10:44:58

I know it's been discussed on here a few times but I've only just got around to reading Tess of The D'Ubervilles.

What a shit he is! I am really indignant about it. Haven't been this engrossed by a book for ages though.

WednesdayNext Sun 15-Sep-13 11:42:57

Well, he is and he isn't..

By today's standards he's a total shit, but for the time it was written, he was just typical of the time.

And a lot of Tess's suffering is self inflicted as a way to punish herself for her perceived wrongdoing. Angel would have financially supported her but she didn't accept it.

It such a gripping story though

MardyBra Sun 15-Sep-13 11:59:33

Yep. Sanctimonious little prick. Although very hot when Eddie Redmayne played him in the BBC adaptation.

KurriKurri Sun 15-Sep-13 12:03:33

Yes he is a shit, and I think Hardy thought he was a shit too, the book is argument against the double standards of the day. He rejects her because of her past, and because she is not a virgin, for someone who considers himself an educated man, his thinking is at best woolly at worst cruel, in my eyes he is worse than Alec because at least Alec knows he is a bad guy, Angel thinks he is good.

He comes close to being my most loathed character in literature grin

Have you read any other Hardy AphraBehn? If not I envy you reading him for the first time - and you have so many brilliant ones to come!

Greythorne Sun 15-Sep-13 12:15:36


But isn't that Hardy's point? He seesk to expose the hypocrisy and double standards. Angel Clare is not meant to be read as a man of his times and forgiven. He is meant to be read as a man of his hypocritical times who has horrible double standards.

WednesdayNext Sun 15-Sep-13 12:19:28

I never said that he was meant to be forgiven, only that he was typical of the time.

Hardy's point is that we're meant to see Tess as a victim of the times and the double standards.

His original title for the book was "A Pure Woman" and readers were invited to accept that this is what Tess was.

Greythorne Sun 15-Sep-13 12:22:16

Yes, quite. I do think Hardy thought she was not a fallen woman in the way his peers probably would have.

DuchessofMalfi Sun 15-Sep-13 13:36:55

Cruel double standards, when he wasn't a virgin and yet expected Tess to be.

What did you think of the ending? Do you think Angel, in any way, redeemed himself for his past behaviour towards Tess?

AphraBehn Sun 15-Sep-13 14:00:12

I haven't read the ending yet (although I do know how it ends) so can't comment on that. Good job I'm not expecting a happy ending!

I"ve just read the chapter after their wedding and think that Hardy is very critical but I am gasping at his hypocrisy, and selfishness.

Kurri I've read Far From The Madding Crowd and The Mayor of Casterbridge. Had always avoided Hardy as I thought I wouldn't enjoy them but I love his writing.

MardyBra Sun 15-Sep-13 18:10:53

"Good job I'm not expecting a happy ending".

Yes, that would be wise with Hardy. grin

KurriKurri Sun 15-Sep-13 18:22:05

First rule of Hardy Club -Never expect a happy ending grin
I see you haven't read Jude The Obscure yet - you'll need to stock up with tissues for that one! grin

Woodlanders is another one of my favourites, and for a really lovely 'curl up in an armchair at Christmas with your cocoa' read - Under The Greenwood Tree.

You've inspired me to re-read them all - I'm going to have myself a Hardy-a-thon! smile

DuchessofMalfi Sun 15-Sep-13 18:51:10

You have to be feeling strong to tackle Hardy. Tess made me cry. I just don't think I'm going to want to read Jude any time soon sad

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Sun 15-Sep-13 19:56:18

Far from the Madding Crowd has a happyish ending.

Jude is so sad - the "done because" bit is heartbreaking.

The Woodlanders is one of my favourites, although not a happy ending.

And yes, Angel Clare was horrible, although a product of his time and situation. Hardy was raging against the treatment of women.

Notmoreschoolholidays Sun 15-Sep-13 20:21:17

Angel is a total knobber! And although Hardy tries to expose the double standard of the day, he still isn't harsh enough to Angel.

Angel feels bad and comes back, says he's sorry blah blah blah, and then gets the reward of Tess' little Sister!!!! shock angry

I think Hardy should have made him die a lonely old hermit, wracked by grief and guilt, not given mini Tess for love and companionship. Yuk!

UptoapointLordCopper Sun 15-Sep-13 20:36:19

Tess is the most relentlessly miserable book I've ever read. Angel Clare is awful.

Jude the obscure - I haven't dared to reread it.... I thought I read somewhere that there was criticism about how Sue behaved in the end. They thought she wouldn't have done it. << attempting not to do a spoiler... >>

WednesdayNext Sun 15-Sep-13 22:02:07

But again, the marrying of Tess's sister shows Angel as a product of his times.

The ending is awful though. Heartbreaking.

I don't know that Angel does redeem himself. He tries, but I'm not sure he manages.

AphraBehn Mon 16-Sep-13 14:42:45

Have just finished it. Sobbed so much that my husband heard me from another room!

Need to gather my thoughts and post them...

AphraBehn Mon 16-Sep-13 14:44:33

Is moving on to Jude the Obscure straight away a bad move?
Do I need to read some happy fluff first?

KurriKurri Mon 16-Sep-13 14:49:19

Maybe a bit of fluff first - Jude is very very tough going in the sobbing department grin - Try Under The greenwood Tree - it's a rare cheerful one!

I know how you feel though - I find it hard to read Tess - I feel so sick with sadness for her and everything that happens to her, and so angry with the likes of Angel and Alec. - I love the Victorian novelists who tried to change attitudes - and Hardy does it so powerfully.

AphraBehn Mon 16-Sep-13 15:19:28

That's it Kurri, the sheer bloody injustice of it all. Hardy shows how little choice Tess has in any aspect of her life, even right at the beginning when she is made to go to the D'Ubervilles by her father. And of course everything that happens is deemed to be her own fault.
I loved how strong and self sufficient she tried to be but these bloody men just kept knocking her down.
Angel is still a shit, think he gained some self awareness rather than redemption and will live in guilt.

ExitPursuedByADragon Mon 16-Sep-13 15:25:04

Agree. Angel Clare is a self righteous git.

NotCitrus Mon 16-Sep-13 15:28:20

Jude the Obscure is the most depressing book in the English language. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Sanctimonious little prick sums him up well. Stupid cabbage leaf wearing hypocrite.

Hardy irritates the hell out of me nowadays though. So many of his characters, male and female, need a good slapping - Susan from 'Jude' needs the biggest. smile

wigglybeezer Mon 16-Sep-13 21:15:21

I studied Hardy in sixth year, it was heady stuff for a teenager, Tess is heart breaking. The film version starring Natassia Kinski is amazing (was it Polanski?). i still have all my copies somewhere, about due for a reread, especially Under the Greenwood Tree.

Similar themes to Hardy in my favourite Scottish novel Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibson, if you have never read it I can recommend it.

Balloonist Mon 16-Sep-13 21:44:27

Yes Angel is horrible but Tess's undoing was her mother's ambition for her in the first place which leads her off on that path. Everyone lets Tess down.

Some people think Tess is attracted to Alec ( non subtle predator that he is) and is courted by him for some time before he takes advantage (Polanski's film takes that angle). Some argue it's seduction rather than rape and that Alec takes advantage of Tess's ignorance. He does say he would support her if she got pregnant and I believe he does "love" her. Not trying to exonerate him but he's a more complex character than Angel.

Love "Jude". My mum told me never to read it which piqued my interest and I saved it till last. Jude Fawley is pretty much the ideal man- he was too good for Sue really (although I love what Sue has to say about marriage) and male and female relationships. Problem was Sue is too cerebral and Arabella too carnal and Jude was pretty much the whole package and needed someone who was his intellectual and physical match.

It's truly a devastating novel- the best one to finish on- hardy wrote it and gave up writing novels himself.

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