This is certainly an unusual piece of news – and certainly not two novels that I would expect to feature in the same story, but yes, it’s true. Fifty Shades of Grey, the hugely successful erotic novel has reportedly sent sales of Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy skyrocketing.
A spokeswoman for Amazon said that since May, when Fifty Shades of Grey was published, sales of Thomas Hardy’s classical novel have increased threefold. A spokesman for Waterstones said sales of the novel had doubled since the publication of Fifty Shades.
Interestingly, there are references to this wonderful Hardy novel in Fifty Shades that may have inspired this increase in sales. In Fifty Shades, character Ana Steele is completing an essay on Tess when she meets Christian Grey, the man who is responsible for millions of swooning women across the world. Grey later sends Steele an 1891 first edition of the novel.
I really am delighted that this novel has increased the sales of Tess of the d’Urbervilles. I read Tess over a year ago, and I was utterly enthralled from start to finish, particularly with the sensual but deeply innocent Tess Durbyfield. It’s fantastic that this novel has increased in popularity and it’s certainly deserving of the attention.
On the other hand, it’s a shame that it takes a badly written erotic novel to make people turn to the classics. It’s not like Tess has been an underground thing, the book’s been around for years and it’s maintained popularity. I find it strange that people are only reading this truly wonderful novel now – as a result of Fifty Shades.