Posted by Constanza on September 16, 1998 at 14:00:51:
I don't know how to put it very well, because I am a rather prudish person...but, anyway, here I go.
I think it is incredible the way Hardy manages the "sexual tension" between Tess and Angel. At the outset, their relationship is basically "spiritual" and they don't seem to regard each other as a man and woman but rather as a "human beings". Then there is that scene where Angel carries Tess over the pond, and although they don't kiss and they barely touch it is quite "charged"; then there comes Angel's declaration and the proposal and Tess' refusal and the "atmosphere" gets even more "charged".
The funny thing is that they don't even kiss, and at best they hug and yet their sexuality is so evidently there and all the time. It sort of surprises me, because I haven't found it in other books by Hardy (I've read The Return of the Native, Far from the Madding Crowd, Under the Greenwood Tree and The Trumpet-Major) and I think it must have been quite shocking for Victorian sensibilities.
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