Tess of the d'Urbervilles first saw the light of day back in 1891. It was published in a censored form. Thomas Hardy, the author, created a true masterpiece, a novel that will never lose its appeal to the wide audience around the world. However, back in the 19th century, the critics used to "scold" it for being too controversial and provoking.
The book talked about the sexual morals of the UK in a different way, and people were simply not ready to look at it all from a different angle. But today, in the 21st century, it's considered to be one of the best fictional stories of its time. By the way, it's worth mentioning that there were numerous theatrical adaptations of the novel. Furthermore, over the course of more than 100 years, different directors tried their best to capture the very essence of Hardy's resonating story.
There even was an opera in 1906, and that shows that despite the fact that the world didn't fully grasp the author's genius, they did really love to talk about it and to put it in different forms. Another great thing about Tess of the d'Urbervilles is that it's like a portal into the 19th-century England with all its vices and virtues. It's safe to say that if you want to "breathe the air" of that age, Hardy's novel is one of your best "tickets".
The author wrote a lot about the confrontation between the traditional, old ways and the new ways and the people that were standing on both sides of the "frontier". Yes, this is a pretty complex and sophisticated book, but, it most certainly does deserve a place on your shelf of immortal masterpieces. You don't even have to fully understand what Thomas Hardy's message was to enjoy the intricacies of the controversial-yet-beautiful universe that he created.