Tess of the D’Urbervilles

New Course: Hardy: Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Key Information:

Name: Hardy: Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Tutor: Ms Karen Hewitt (Tutor at the Department of Continuing Education, University of Oxford)

Number of Modules: 8

Module List:

  1. Victorians, Hardy and Fallen Women
  2. Choices and the Chase
  3. Is There Life After Sixteen?
  4. Treacle and Other Oddities
  5. More Light Than Heat
  6. Endurance Among the Stones
  7. Wandering Preachers and Fanatics
  8. Fate or Chance or Justice?


In this course, Ms Karen Hewitt (University of Oxford) explores Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. As we move through the course, we think about the social context of the novel—particularly Victorian ideas about female sexuality—and the ways in which Hardy approached, evaded and dealt with these problems in his early portrayal of Tess. After that, we think about Hardy’s poetic imagery, the way he sees the world, his attitudes to nature and man’s impact on the world around him, before ending with religion and the meaning of life—particularly the response of Tess and those around her of what Tess calls “the ache of modernism”.

Relevance to Specification:

This course is designed for students reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles, which is a prescribed text for all three major A-Level exam boards (OCR, AQA, Edexcel)