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The Well-Beloved

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By: (1840-1928)

'The Well-Beloved' tells the story of Jocelyn Pierston and his love for three generations of women - the grandmother, her daughter and grand-daughter over a period of forty years. Pierston is seeking for perfection in his choice of lover and in doing so lets opportunities for happiness pass him by. However, at the end of his life, he finds some kind of contentment in compromise.

First Page:

THE WELL BELOVED

A SKETCH OF A TEMPERAMENT

By Thomas Hardy

PREFACE

The peninsula carved by Time out of a single stone, whereon most of the following scenes are laid, has been for centuries immemorial the home of a curious and well nigh distinct people, cherishing strange beliefs and singular customs, now for the most part obsolescent. Fancies, like certain soft wooded plants which cannot bear the silent inland frosts, but thrive by the sea in the roughest of weather, seem to grow up naturally here, in particular amongst those natives who have no active concern in the labours of the 'Isle.' Hence it is a spot apt to generate a type of personage like the character imperfectly sketched in these pages a native of natives whom some may choose to call a fantast (if they honour him with their consideration so far), but whom others may see only as one that gave objective continuity and a name to a delicate dream which in a vaguer form is more or less common to all men, and is by no means new to Platonic philosophers.

To those who know the rocky coign of England here depicted overlooking the great Channel Highway with all its suggestiveness, and standing out so far into mid sea that touches of the Gulf Stream soften the air till February it is matter of surprise that the place has not been more frequently chosen as the retreat of artists and poets in search of inspiration for at least a month or two in the year, the tempestuous rather than the fine seasons by preference... Continue reading book >>


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