Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles was first published in Britain in The Graphic, where it appeared in weekly instalments between July and November 1891. Simultaneously the story appeared in America in Harper’s Magazine and in the Sydney Mail in Australia.
The planned publication by the newspaper syndicate Tillotson and Son, under the title Too Late Beloved, fell through, as it was felt certain scenes such as the seduction and the midnight baptism would offend readers. After this the text was refused by Murray’s Magazine and Macmillan’s Magazine, though some of the omitted material was published separately, with the names of the characters changed. The publication in The Graphic retained the cuts, which were reinstated when the novel was published as a book in 1892.
Shown here is the sequence where in the book version Angel Clare carries each of the milkmaids across the stream in his arms (Chapter 23). In the version for The Graphic (Chapter 21) Clare uses a wheelbarrow - as opposed to carrying the girls which was felt to be too suggestive and intimate. However, the girls are still seated facing him, on the back part of an open-backed barrow, and still have their arms around his neck. As one of the milkmaids, Marian, is carried in the barrow, there is a clear description of their bodies: Clare’s ‘slim figure’ is described as ‘the mere stem to the great nosegay suggested by hers [Marian’s figure]’.
- Article by:
- Margaret R Higonnet
- Fin de siècle
Margaret R Higonnet considers how Thomas Hardy uses the character of Tess to complicate conventional ideas of modesty and desire.