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Notes on :Thomas Hardy on Tess in America


The following compilations bring together for the first time some minor Hardy writings not currently in print; they are collected here by Rosemarie Morgan for TTHA with the kind permission of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.


Max Gate, Dorchester, Aug. 26th, 1892

TO the Editors of The Critic:--

A complaint has reached me from your pages to the effect that even in the revised and enlarged American edition of 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' I have thought fit to suppress the explanatory preface which appears in all the English editions.

I find it to be quite true that the preface is omitted; but you will perhaps allow me to assure your readers that such omission was not intentional on my part, but arose from circumstances of publication over which I had no control at the time.

I am now taking measures to attach to the American edition both the original preface and a new preface which is in preparation for the fifth English edition.I may add in this connection that the necessity for (at least) simultaneous publication in America of English books, to secure copyright, renders it almost impossible that the latest addenda of an author should be incorporated in the foreign imprint. Could even a fortnight's grace be allowed, final touches, given just before going to press on this side, would not be excluded from American copies as they now are in so many cases.

Yours faithfully,

T.H. Printed in The Critic, September, 1892

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THOMAS HARDY's EXPLANATORY NOTE TO THE FIRST EDITION

The main portion of the following story appeared--with slight modifications--in the Graphic newspaper and Harper's Bazar; other chapters, more especially addressed to adult readers, in the Fortnightly Review and the National Observer, as episodic sketches. My thanks are tendered to the editors and proprietors of those periodicals for enabling me now to piece the trunk and limbs of the novel together, and print it complete, as originally written two years ago.

I will just add that the story is sent out in all sincerity of purpose, as an attempt to give artistic form to a true sequence of things; and in respect of the book's opinions I would ask any too genteel reader who cannot endure to have said what everybody nowadays thinks and feels, to remember a well-worn sentence of St. Jerome's: "If an offence come out of the truth, better is it that the offence come out than that the truth be concealed." T.H. November, 1891.

 

"She flung herself down upon the rustling undergrowth of spear grass as upon a bed." (Harpers, 1892)

 

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