"A Pair of Blue Eyes" is celebrated for its central scene which shocked and stimulated Victorian readers. Forever after it caused Hardy to be embroiled in arguments concerning the sexual morality of his novels in which he strove to show the stifling effects of social conventions on the human spirit. Rich with biographical echoes, this novel reveals the full emergence of the schematic ironies which characterize Hardy's later great works, and gives a suggestion of the tragic philosophy that came to dominate all he wrote.
The loving nature of the heroine, ElfrideSwancourt, pervades this novel, which has a singular unpolished charm.
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