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During the initial serialization of the novel, the term "cliff-hanger" was coined, referring to one of the more exciting events that occurs on the precipice of the 'Cliff without a Name.

While the personal terror described by Hardy is palpable, as a geologist myself I just had to marvel as I read the following-- "By one of those familiar conjunctions of things wherewith the inanimate world baits the mind of man when he pauses in moments of suspense, opposite Knight's eyes was an imbedded fossil, standing forth in low relief from the rock.

It was a creature with eyes. The eyes, dead and turned to stone, were even now regarding him. It was one of the early crustaceans called Trilobites. Separated by millions of years in their lives, Knight and this underling seemed to have met in their death.

A Pair of Blue Eyes

It was the single instance within reach of his vision of anything that had ever been alive and had had a body to save, as he himself had now. There is no place like a cleft landscape for bringing home such imaginings as these. Typical of Hardy's fiction, Fate and Chance play a prominent role in this novel too. As for me; well, I am taking Far From the Madding Crowd off of the shelf now for a re-read over the next few days.

It is time to spend some more time with 'Gabriel Oak' and 'Bathsheba Everdene. View 2 comments. Jun 26, Sara rated it it was amazing Shelves: classics , aty-challenge , literary-fiction , 19th-century-literature , romance , victorian. What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. Her first is a young impressionable boy himself and her second a more worldly, but dare I say no more emotionally developed, man of letters.

At a number of junctions in the novel, Elfride might save herself a bad experience by being honest, but she elects to withhold the truth, for easily understandable reasons, and it is her undoing. Li What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. Like Tess, she is doomed to heartbreak by the unreasonable expectations of men and the societal pressures put upon women.

Review: A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy – She Reads Novels

Hardy never fails to surprise me with his understanding of the female characters he paints. They are full-bodied and thoughtful, and they breathe life. His men are so often cruel in exacting standards that a saint would be hard to live up to and that beg for the rules to be bent, if not broken. All the elements of such a development were there, the chief one being hopelessness--a necessary ingredient always to perfect the mixture of feelings united under the name of loving to distraction. I found here the same elements that have always made me such a avid fan of Thomas Hardy.

When first produced in its serial form, it ended on a scene in which a major character is literally hanging from the side of a cliff by fingernails, and readers had to wait for the next installment to discover the fate ahead. A lovely read for any fan of Thomas Hardy, which can rank alongside many of his other works for both plot, interesting characters and style. It seems to be less known, but I have no idea why, since it delivered for me on all levels.

View all 10 comments. Yet another story of love and life by Hardy, he advocates for women and understands them in ways i don't know how but he does, and he is a wizard with words and he knows the sunset and the moonlight and everything in between as passionately as humanly possible. A tremendous read.

View 1 comment. Oct 18, Leslie rated it really liked it Shelves: england , classics. Curse you Thomas Hardy!


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Curse you for tearing my heart out and making me cry like a dummie over fictional characters. I thought I was so smart and knew what was going to happen and you ripped the rug out from under me. You left me without my happy ending. Curse you! And the saddest thing is that I am no newcomer to Hardy. I've read your work before. As I cracked this one open I thought of my teenage favorite, Return of the Native. I should have thought of Tess! Yeah, you heard me.

Poor TEss and Poor Elfride! But at least, even though you are a man, your sympathies do obviously lie with the poor misused females. I can tell you hated that Mr KNight as much as me. You did.

Alright, I'm done ranting and raving now. The least you could do is pop up beside me in your ghostly self as it is now and hand me a tissue at just the right moment. I had to fumble for one. Feb 21, Duane rated it really liked it Shelves: reviewed-books , rated-books , english-calssics. It is partly autobiographical, with the heroine Elfride based on his first wife Emma Gifford. It is a short, romantic novel with interesting characters and many twists and turns that are unexpected, especially the ending.

Well written as are all of Hardy's novels. Mar 19, Dolors rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in This is a novel I would highly recommend to everybody, not only to Hardy's fans. The story is so nicely unfolded and detailed that you can almost feel the wind in that spellbinding cliff scene. This is a simple story, don't expect great literary references or witty remarks. But it is told with so much gentleness and the characters are very well portrayed and developed.

North American Victorian Studies Association

Elfride, though, is not as the other Hardy's heroines, she is young, gullible and has grown up protected by her father. I though This is a novel I would highly recommend to everybody, not only to Hardy's fans. I thought she was too innocent and easily impressed and lacked resolve and character.

But what can you expect from a barely 18 year old who hasn't been shown to the world? She is not to blame Stephen, I like immensely. He's got but a true heart through all the story, he is consistent in his love and protects Elfride when the time comes even if it breaks his heart. He is a complicated character but I found him fascinating. The initial passages where he meets Elfride are funny and they seem so natural you find yourself falling in love with him too. You've got the three key pieces for a tearing love triangle, where there's no good or bad characters, just love and the unfairness of life.

Though written well before the famous "Tess of the D'Urbervilles", the story contains many similarities to his best known masterpiece. The moral issues regarding the treatment of women in the late eighteenth century , their unconscious power over men and the struggle to overcome social backgrounds are present in this story. A piece not to be missed and treated unjustly because it hasn't been noticed as it deserves. Apr 06, Bruce rated it really liked it.

A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy (FULL audiobook) - part (1 of 8)

Before he turned to the exclusive writing of poetry late in his life, Thomas Hardy wrote a series of marvelous novels, some of which many of us were introduced to early in our lives. His novels were written during the Victorian period, a period in which his views were profoundly at odds with the progressive optimism so prevalent within the general public.

She falls in love with the young architect Stephen Smith who has been sent from London to plan renovations to the church. But he is really from this same rural town, the son of a mason. Elfride then falls in love with the somewhat older Harry Knight, a scholar and former mentor of Stephen. But when he learns that she has had a previous lover his jealousy grows, and he eventually abandons her.

Later, Smith having returned to England, he and Knight meet and discover that they have been in love with the same woman, at which point each decides to return to the village and renew his suit.

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This was my second Hardy novel. Both of them were a bit of a slow start, though this one hooked me much faster than The Return of the Native.