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The Well-Beloved

Thomas Hardy

Book Overview: 

'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.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Caro as a retort. But don't vex me about her, and make me do such an unexpected thing as regret the falseness.'

She shut her mouth tight, and her face flushed.

The next morning there did come an answer to the letter asking her parents' consent to her union with him; but to Marcia's amazement her father took a line quite other than the one she had expected him to take. Whether she had compromised herself or whether she had not seemed a question for the future rather than the present with him, a native islander, born when old island marriage views prevailed in families; he was fixed in his disapproval of her marriage with a hated Pierston. He did not consent; he would not say more till he could see her: if she had any sense at all she would, if still unmarried, return to the home from which she had evidently been enticed. He would then see what he could do for her in the desperate circumstances she had made for herself; otherwise he would do nothing. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

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. T

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 Britis

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 constan

Hullo! I have a question for you all. Well, why is Hardy so good? How is he so good at writing? Here we have "The Well-Beloved", his last novel. It is the 2nd Hardy's novel I have read (after "Under the Greenwood Tree"), and it was excellent. It was better written than "UtGT", but I like "UtGT" more

This was a bizarre little novel, following a sculptor on a lusty lifetime pursuit for his 'well-beloved'. This term describes, in essence, his ideal female partner and he, over the years, finds such a figure in three generations of women.

The subject matter made me feel a little queasy to read about,

Η αμηχανία που αισθάνομαι είναι τεράστια και δεν ξέρω αν καν μπορώ να μεταδώσω τα ελάχιστα για το βιβλίο που διάβασα. Κατ’ αρχάς, είναι ειδικό βιβλίο και δεν απευθύνεται σε όλους: << Όταν έβλεπε κάποιους απ’ τους συνομηλίκους του πως τους φθονούσε, υποθέτοντας ότι αισθάνονται όπως έδειχναν ότι αισθ

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.

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 vanish

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 m

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 heires

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