The Well-Beloved

The Well Beloved Set on the Isle of Slingers this novel follows the exploits of Jocelyn Pierston a sculptor who falls in love successively with three generations of island women seeking female perfection just as h

  • Title: The Well-Beloved
  • Author: Thomas Hardy
  • ISBN: 9780543903327
  • Page: 323
  • Format: Paperback
  • Set on the Isle of Slingers, this novel follows the exploits of Jocelyn Pierston, a sculptor who falls in love successively with three generations of island women, seeking female perfection, just as he strives to realise the ideal woman in stone.

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      Published :2019-08-22T10:53:53+00:00

    1 thought on “The Well-Beloved”

    1. The Well Beloved is Hardy’s last novel (or his penultimate, depending on how you count); and it has a distinctly elegiac, valedictory feel about it. The ostensible theme is beauty and the artist’s—and lover’s—desire to possess and appropriate it; but it is also about ageing and memory and the vanishing of youth. There is something of a presentiment of Proust about this novel, and I wasn’t surprised to learn that Proust knew The Well Beloved and liked it. He has an interesting comment [...]

    2. OKCUPID BYLINE: Pretentious sculptor seeks a pretty island wench, her daughter, and her granddaughter, to idolise pointlessly for over forty years with a view to never touching or kissing ever. No smokers or catfishers. Brunettes preferred.

    3. As a means of justifying his transient lusts, 20 year-old sculptor Jocelyn Pierston has invented a metaphor--that of the "Well-Beloved." The Well-Beloved never takes permanent home in a single individual woman. First she is here in the buxom laundress, next she is there in the world-traveling heiress, and so on. The book is broken into 3 sections. In the first, predictably, when Pierston is in his twenties, the Well-Beloved is most fleeting. Tripping from one lust-worthy female to the next, then [...]

    4. I loved this book. It gives a completely different approach to love than I've ever read or imagined not that you love a person, but the spirit of your well beloved will take their shape. It may stay in that form, or for jocelyn, it continually leaves one physical form and inhabits another constantly. Definitely an interesting concept. I find Thomas Hardy a bit hard to read, but he has the most amazing stories. It's definitely worth the read.

    5. After watching Tess of the d'Urbervilles, I decided I’d have to read more by the author Thomas Hardy. What truly impressed me was Hardy’s ability to create such interesting characters and to explore human nature, especially within the confines of the social mores and expectations of Victorian British society. Interestingly, rather than focusing on the wealthy of the period, he focuses on the more common rural class. I love how he gently but harshly criticizes the expectations of Victorian so [...]

    6. Rather a weird Hardy I loved the setting and the language, as always, was great, but the protagonist was quite unlikable and distinctly creepy, and there was only so long I could suspend my disbelief.

    7. The Well-Beloved was Hardy’s last novel – serialised in 1892, and published in novel form in 1897. Following the furore that surrounded the publication of Jude the obscure in 1895, Hardy turned his back on novel writing, and devoted himself to his poetry for the remaining thirty years of his life. The Well-Beloved is a work that Hardy himself revised several times, in 1897 for the novel’s publication, and again in 1903 and 1912. The edition I read uses Hardy’s revised 1912 text. Coincide [...]

    8. Intellectually I realised I probably shouldn't like this book as much as I did but I really enjoyed it. While the main character was a little silly I thought his idea of the beloved was interesting. I liked it on a spooky level, the idea that women were being possessed by the one he loved who kept moving. It had a touch of a ghost story. The fact that he was in love with something so ephemeral, and yet in reality became so obsessed with one woman he rejected that he became so infatuated with her [...]

    9. Artistic quality of time and the power of love. Three different women in three different periods of the architect Stephen's life. Three Marcias. At 20, 40 and 60. (im)possibility to catch the fugacity of through moment through love experience. An Architect of love, love time. Impossibility to construct a relationship that last through time, never completely the same. An error at 20 retaken at 40 0r 60. Never completely the same.Refreshing look at himself back at the time of errors. Nice little n [...]

    10. Thomas Hardy produces a fairly short but interesting novel about a man who is cursed with falling in love with three generations of women, mother-daughter-granddaughter. Jocelyn Pierston is first introduced as a 20 year-old who is about to embark on a highly successful career as a sculptor. On a return trip to his native town, he reunites with Avice Caro, the same age, and they agree to marry. A chance encounter with another woman, coupled with Avice not arriving when she said she would, takes h [...]

    11. Ah, my well-beloved Hardy! According to the introduction, this was the last novel he ever wrote, before moving on to just poetry, fed up with the scandal caused by Jude the Obscure. It shows, this novel is not as narrative, as intricately plotted as others of his: it really just wants to present a thesis, a preconceived idea: what if a man falls in love over his life with three different women from the same family? However, he falls in love with them while they are young and pretty, even if he i [...]

    12. It was an absurd premise, yet Hardy came through, as he always does. The star-crossed lover Jocelyn starts out an idealistic young man, yet the long, dull march of time catches up to him in the end. I can't help but think this last of Hardy's novel is a reflection of his life at old age. The conclusion is especially sobering, yet welcomed, for it seems true, the best we can hope for in old age. Like "Far from the Madding Crowd" and "Tess of the D'Urbervilles", this is classic, sobering Hardy. Pe [...]

    13. This novel takes a look the temperament of a man in search of his perfect woman. Rather than being about that perfect woman it is more about the man who seeks her and his fickle heart. I have a tendency to believe that this novel was somewhat autobiographical of Thomas Hardy from what little I have read about his life.

    14. A splendid late Hardy novel[1897 (revised from a 1892 serialization)], linked in spirit to 'Tess' and 'Jude'. Very interesting stucture as the hero is involved with mother, daughter, grand-daughter, each of them 20ish, in his 202, 40s, and 60s. Semi-autobiographical feel, about the spirit of love, art, and the search for a partner in one's own image.

    15. This comparatively short novel was first published as a serial in 1892. It is known now in the revised version of five years later, which in a way makes it later than Jude the Obscure and thus Hardy's "last" novel. Typically as to Hardy's body of work, it portrays a tragic romance that challenges traditional sexual morals such as, in this case, monogamy. Added to this is a poetic sense of fate, giving the storyline a touch of magical symmetry, like that of a fairy-tale or a folk legend. At the c [...]

    16. I find that whenever I pick up a work by Hardy, I know I’ll be reading something good. I’ve read many of his stories, and so far I’ve yet to be disappointed. His “last” novel is certainly not an exception.I really liked that you get two stories in one with this book. It’s kind of like watching a remake of a film: It allows you to analyze the different takes on a scene, the subtle changes in the plot, and various modifications in the dialogue. In that way, I thought reading this book [...]

    17. Atonement By MarriageThis novel, which depicts a young man's lifelong search for the feminine Ideal, represents the latter end of Hardy's literary output, as he was turning to the poetic genre. First appearing in serialized form in the London News in 1892, this story was written between TESS and JUDE. By the time it assumed final book form in 1897 it had undergone extensive revision. This is the heart-wrenching story of a passive native of the Isle of the Slingers, just south of London (accessib [...]

    18. I read a Penguin Classic edition that contained not just The Well Beloved, but also The Pursuit of the Well Beloved. But I did not read the original version but only this one. Hardy wrote the book between Tess and Jude, but heavily modified it after the publication of Jude.The book is quite difficult to interpret. My introduction was by Patricia Ingham, which was a fairly conventional pomo-feminist interpretation. The book is about how men view women, at least in part, and the text exists in two [...]

    19. We read Thomas Hardy today because he's still relevant, but perhaps the issues that made him relevant in his time, due to the changing nature of the world, are different than the things that make him relevant in our time. The relevancy of The Well-Beloved, dealing with the superficial nature of romantic love, makes it feel like a novel written for modern times. In my mind, this is the primary strength of the book.As is so often seen in men of our times, Jocelyn Pierston favors young women. In hi [...]

    20. This novel is the story of Jocelyn Pierston, a sculptor who is searching for his well-beloved and seems to fleetingly find it in three generations of the same family. This well-beloved isn't just the girl of his dreams with whom he'll settle down to raise a family etc, oh no, it could never be that simple in Hardy's world. Heres a quote to descibe the elusive nature of the well-beloved :"To his well-beloved he had always been faithful; but she had had many embodiments.Each individuality known as [...]

    21. It's a bit of a weird story. A famous sculpture is in search for the well-beloved, or his ideal woman. The well-beloved is represented in the story as some kind of an ethereal being who inhabits women's bodies temporarily which leads the main character to fall in love with a woman, then abandon her for another only to be abandoned too by the other. The first woman moves on and marries someone else and has a daughter with him before she eventually dies. The sculptor who is still single returns to [...]

    22. LIke all Hardy novels, this novel has landscape at its centerpiece. However the thematic landscape is far narrower, and more concentrated than most Hardy novels. It concerns the protagonist's moral and emotional odyssey as he confronts the fragility of romantic love. His transformation lies in how he responds to this quality. In this novel like many of his others, Hardy creates some arresting female characters to which the protagonist is a foil. This novel is worth reading if only to meet them. [...]

    23. I read this in preparation for a group read on Facebook. My rating might change once I see it through other eyes. I feel it to be allegorical and if not, a tale of a terribly self-involved man. His definition of love is puerile, although he can act honorably on occasion.

    24. 19th century novelists spent a lot of time thinking about relationships, and even though society has changed dramatically since then, many of their insights are still useful. My copy of this novel contains two different editions: the 1892 serialized version, and the edited 1897 novel version with a slightly different plot. Both versions offer an interesting look at the costs of obsession: we can't ever truly understand why we sometimes become fixated on certain people, but what do we do with tha [...]

    25. At times, this novel was thoroughly engaging. It focuses on ideals of beauty and art, on time and gender in an original and provoking way. Though ultimately remains too unbelievable to really allow the reader to connect. It treads the line between realism and pure fantasy and this confusion within itself seems to result in an alienation of the reader. At no point was I fully invested in plot or character and this restricts the emotional responses any reader can experience. It was an interesting [...]

    26. Okey dokey – have read about a third of the way through Hardy’s The Well-Beloved. I’ve no idea if this novel is representative of his other works? But it is not what I expected at all. Very odd, ethereal, otherworldly - I suppose in part engendered by a mythic Wessex. Feels like a fairy tale fable. And I can see why Proust was drawn to it; and having read another of his favourite books by George Sand - François le Champi – well, there’s a definite affinity between the two novels; both [...]

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