A Pair of Blue Eyes

A Pair of Blue Eyes

by Thomas Hardy


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Thomas Hardys Third published novel, and the first not published anonymously. The book tells the story of a love triangle of Elfride Swancourt.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780368715310
Publisher: Blurb, Inc.
Publication date: 10/03/2019
Pages: 444
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.99(d)

About the Author

Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), English poet, dramatist, and novelist, was born on the Egdon Heath in Dorset. He studied in Dorchester and apprenticed to an architect before leaving for London, where he began to write. Unable to find a public for his poetry, which idealized the rural life, he turned to the novel and met with success as well as controversy. The strong public reaction against some of his darker themes turned him back to writing verse. Today several of his novels are considered masterpieces of tragedy.

Anna Bentinck is a British actress who trained at Arts Educational Schools and has worked extensively for BBC Radio. Winner of four AudioFile Earphones Awards, she has provided voices for many audiobooks and such animated series as 64 Zoo Lane. Her film credits include Alice in Wonderland and To the Devil a Daughter.

Date of Birth:

June 2, 1840

Date of Death:

January 11, 1928

Place of Birth:

Higher Brockhampon, Dorset, England

Place of Death:

Max Gate, Dorchester, England


Served as apprentice to architect James Hicks

Table of Contents

General Editor's Preface vii(1)
Map of Hardy's Wessex
Map of Locations in A Pair of Blue Eyes
Introduction xi(12)
Acknowledgements xxiii(1)
Note on the Text xxiv(3)
Select Bibliography xxviii(3)
A Chronology of Thomas Hardy xxx
Appendix 372(2)
Explanatory Notes 374

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A Pair of Blue Eyes 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Renz0808 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel centers on Elfride Swancourt a beautiful young woman with the ¿blue eyes¿ that the book alludes to. When she meets a young aspiring architect who is socially inferior but ambitious with potential as he gets older, Stephen Smith she finds that she enjoys the attentions that he gives her and she feels that she is falling in love with him and commits herself to marry him. But when her father finds out about Stephen¿s humble background he demands that she never see him again. Stephen leaves Elfride to make his fortune in India and Elfride meets an older more established, intelligent respectable man, Henry Knight, which forces her to look inside herself and determine what her true feelings are. She is torn between doing what is right and what her heart wants her to do. This is the second Hardy book that I have had the pleasure to read. The first was Far from the Maddening Crowd which is one of his later books and what most critics feel to be one of his masterpieces. A Pair of Blue Eyes is one of his earlier works and despite this I found myself really enjoying the plot. I was also interested to learn that this book was where the term ¿cliffhanger¿ originated from because in one of the scenes Henry Knight is literally left hanging from a cliff. As with most Hardy novels things do not always turn out how readers would wish it to and the ending is very sad but despite this I found it hard to put the book down. I enjoyed all of the character descriptions and his descriptions of the landscape are so accurate and detailed that it is easy to imagine you hanging from the cliff with Henry as well.
SheReadsNovels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm loving Thomas Hardy more and more with every book of his that I read. A Pair of Blue Eyes was one of his earliest books, originally serialised in Tinsley's Magazine from September 1872 to July 1873. Although this is not generally noted as being one of his better novels and is certainly one of his least well known, there was something about it that appealed to me - and I would even say that of all the classics I've read so far this year, this might be my favourite.A Pair of Blue Eyes is the story of Elfride Swancourt, a vicar's daughter living in a remote corner of England, who is forced to choose between two very different men. One of these, Stephen Smith, is a young architect whom she meets when he is sent by his employer to survey the church buildings. At first, the vicar approves of Stephen and encourages his daughter to spend time with him. It soon emerges, however, that Stephen has been hiding an important secret from the Swancourts; something that could put his relationship with Elfride in jeopardy. Later in the book, another man arrives at Endelstow Vicarage - Henry Knight, an essayist and reviewer from London - and Elfride has to make a difficult decision.As you might expect with this being a Hardy book, nothing goes smoothly for any of the characters. I would describe A Pair of Blue Eyes as being similar in some ways to the later Tess of the d'Urbervilles, though not as dark and bleak - and not quite as tragic either.The descriptions of scenery in this book are stunningly beautiful and bring the setting vividly to life. If you're familiar with Hardy you'll know that he sets most of his works in the fictional region of Wessex in the southwest of England. This story actually takes place in Off-Wessex or Lyonesse, which equates to Cornwall. I had no problem at all in picturing the lonely vicarage, the windswept hills, and the dark cliffs towering over the sea below. Speaking of cliffs, it is thought that the term 'cliffhanger' originates from a scene in this book, though I'm not going to say any more about it than that!Another interesting aspect of this book is that it's loosely based on Hardy's relationship with his first wife, Emma Gifford, though unfortunately I don't know enough about Hardy to have picked up on all the allusions and references to events in his own life.I found A Pair of Blue Eyes very easy to read. I thought the pacing and flow of the story were perfect and the pages flew by in a weekend. It's so sad that this book has been ignored and underrated to the point where, until not long ago, I hadn't even heard of it. Maybe it won't appeal to everyone and it might not be the best introduction to his work, but I loved it and would highly recommend it to all Hardy fans.
Luli81 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a novel I would highly recommend to everybody, not only to Hardy's fans. The story is so nicely unfold 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. Elfride, though, is not as the other Hardy's heroines, she is young, gullible and has grown up protected by her father. 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.Mr. Knight. 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.
milti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
hardy's softest and best portrayal of human nature and the relationship between man and woman.
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I lovey doved this book it is very well written and has been so very well praised. Love it very nice.
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Could not read at all