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Desperate Remedies by Thomas Hardy
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Desperate Remedies (original 1871; edition 2014)

by Thomas Hardy (Author)

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4791438,610 (3.56)46
'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.… (more)
Member:safari45
Title:Desperate Remedies
Authors:Thomas Hardy (Author)
Info:Sovereign (2014), 552 pages
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Desperate Remedies by Thomas Hardy (1871)

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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 |
“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 |
Hardy's first novel, typical of him for the descriptions of the countryside and weather and love entanglements, but unusual in that it developes into a mystery with an increasingly fiendish villain.

But within the story Hardy sheds light on the social and economic horrors of the day. He sympathetically portrays the plight of Cytheria, whose only option is to become a lady's companion, dependent upon an eccentric employer, and then forced into marriage when illness threatens destitution for her brother. ( )
  LARA335 | Feb 13, 2017 |
A late 1800's English countryside romance of sorts that is chock-full of curious mysteries that kept me in the dark until clarified at the end. And this book has deceit, death, bigamy, murder, suicide, and of course, the big country manor house. Slightly convoluted with a full slate of remarkable coincidences, but interesting enough that i was eager for the end to answer all my questions. Better than i expected. ( )
  jeffome | Oct 29, 2014 |
I have joined a Thomas Hardy reading group and this is the first book we have read because it was the first one he published. In form it is somewhat like Woman in White by Wilkie Collins rather than Hardy's better known books which are character studies more than anything. The last third of the book really picks up and became quite a page-turner.

Cytherea Graye goes to be a maid/companion to Miss Aldclyffe. When Miss Aldclyffe was young she had met and was loved by Miss Graye's father but, for unknown reasons, she had refused his offer to marry. Shortly after Cytherea arrives at Knapwater House, Miss Aldclyffe's father dies leaving Miss Aldclyffe in possession of a considerable estate. She hires a steward named Manston and is anxious for Cytherea and Manston to marry. Cytherea though has fallen in love with Edward Springrove, a colleague of her architect brother. The Springroves are tenants of Miss Aldclyffe's and Cytherea learns that Edward is engaged to his cousin. She then takes Manston more seriously. However, Manston is not a single man and his wife turns up one evening. Then, during a fire, the wife disappears and is deemed to have died in the fire. So the way appears clear for Cytherea and Manston to marry. And that's when it starts getting interesting.

Unlike a lot of Hardy, there is a happy ending so keep reading. ( )
  gypsysmom | Nov 23, 2011 |
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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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