Abridged Classics: Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Dec 13th, 2010 | By | Category: Prose

Every once in a while, Eileen and Andrew knock me on the shoulder with their billy-club of friendship and say, “You’re up!”, and I fire up the world’s worst video-editing software, Abridge some Classics, and mortify the English professors who only ever tried to make me appreciate literature.

Obviously, I am not here to tell you that that trend has changed. Especially since we’re talking about Thomas Hardy, and even if you appreciate literature, you’ve probably given the occasional side-eye to Mr. Hardy, because he really loves making ladies miserable.

Case in point: Tess of the d’Urbervilles, recently made into a miniseries by the BBC. It’s four hours long, about three of which are taken up by the quiet, desolate sounds of somebody sobbing. The worthless parson/farmer Angel Clare, the worthless rapist Alec d’Urberville, the drunken milkmaids, the destitute mothers and sanctimonious fathers – all have their blubbery moment in the sun. However, it’s obviously Tess who suffers most, both in magnitude and sheer percentage of screen time. (Oh, is she onscreen? Bet she’s crying.)

And since the sheer amount of eye-water dropped during this made a normal Abridged Classic extremely tricky (it would have been 90% sobbing and rising violins), I went ahead and did what I had to do.

Below, Abridged Classics: Tess of the d’Urbervilles, helpfully “spell-checked” by my program to include a capital D, and containing a minute percentage of the weeping in this miniseries.

ETA: Almost forgot! Dear Hans Matheson, this is like the two hundredth asshole in a row that you’ve played. Just saying.


Genevieve is a prolific writer of speculative fiction living in New York, but you’ll never find her there because millions of people live there and Genevieve likes her privacy. Examples of her fiction can be found in Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Federations, and numerous other magazines and anthologies. Her first novel is forthcoming in 2011. Also? She has terrible taste in movies.

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