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Desperate Remedies (1871)

von Thomas Hardy

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4911638,720 (3.55)51
'She was swayed into emotional opinions concerning the strange man before her; new impulses of thought...entered into her with a gnawing thrill.'Hardy's first published work, Desperate Remedies moves the sensation novel into new territory. The anti-hero, Aeneas Manston, as physically alluring as he is evil, even fascinates the innocent Cytherea, though she is in love with another man. When he cannot seduce her, Manston resorts to deception,blackmail, bigamy, murder, and rape. Yet this compelling story also raises the great questions underlying Hardy's major novels, which relate to the injustice of the class system, the treatment of women, probability and causality. This edition shows for the first time that the sensation novel wasalways Hardy's natural medium.… (mehr)
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woman pressure to marry unacknowledged son of benefactress who has been her father's first love, complications--is his first wife truly dead?
  ritaer | Aug 19, 2021 |
Although this read more like a Gothic Romance than the typical Hardy it was still a very enjoyable read with a mostly happy ending for the romantic couple. As with many of the Gothic Romance novels, there was a great deal of coincidence to make the plots work out and,of course, the dark secrets finally revealed. I did expect Miss Aldwych to have a much darker secret in her bizarre treatment of both Cytherea and Manston but all was revealed and the happy ending achieved. Plus, I have now read all of Hardy's prose. I have been advised to try his drama The Dynasts but I may wait a bit to return to Hardy, I t has been a very good experience but I have other authors I would like to dig into.
  amyem58 | Aug 18, 2021 |
This is Hardy's first published novel and it displays a number of themes that became staples of his prose works: an affair of the heart thwarted by circumstance, the effects of low social mobility, coincidence influencing the course of protagonists' lives. It does not bring social commentary to the fore-front, however. Instead the reader is propelled through the story by an urge to solve mysteries, one of which is not entirely cleared up until the final pages.

It is interesting to contrast the heroine, her family and lover with other characters in the book; the former are bland and vague, somewhat stereo-typical in comparison to the more minor, rural charcters who come to life instantly through Hardy's intimate knowledge of the local dialect. The scenes where they appear are used in large part to convey local gossip without having to have a major protagonist awkwardly have to express the information or learn it in a manner otherwise unrelated to the plot.

Desperate Remedies sits neither in the top rank of Hardy's novels, nor in the bottom; it has the great merit of not having been interfered with by editors but it lacks the anger that seethes through the major Tragedies and the ironic wit displayed by the endings of The Woodlanders or A Laodician but it is certainly worth the time of any Hardy fan. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Personajes al borde del abismo, J.M. Guelbenzu en Babelia 16.04.2018 https://elpais.com/cultura/2018/04/10/babelia/1523379506_580519.html
  Albertos | Apr 16, 2018 |
“Desperate Remedies” differs greatly from all other works by Thomas Hardy. This is his attempt at "the sensational novel", and I for one feel he succeeds well.

While Hardy’s genius isn’t at its greatest here, he still delivers a quality narrative with plenty of engaging scenes and an interesting plot. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Mar 22, 2018 |
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'She was swayed into emotional opinions concerning the strange man before her; new impulses of thought...entered into her with a gnawing thrill.'Hardy's first published work, Desperate Remedies moves the sensation novel into new territory. The anti-hero, Aeneas Manston, as physically alluring as he is evil, even fascinates the innocent Cytherea, though she is in love with another man. When he cannot seduce her, Manston resorts to deception,blackmail, bigamy, murder, and rape. Yet this compelling story also raises the great questions underlying Hardy's major novels, which relate to the injustice of the class system, the treatment of women, probability and causality. This edition shows for the first time that the sensation novel wasalways Hardy's natural medium.

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