Two on a Tower, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


This is the "Penguin English Library Edition" of "Two on a Tower" by Thomas Hardy. 'Then they proceeded to scan the sky, roving from planet to star, from single stars to double stars, from double to coloured stars...'.

Hardy's atmospheric, moving story of star-crossed lovers shows human beings at the mercy of forces far beyond their control, setting a tragic drama of human passion and conflict against a background of vast stellar space and scientific discovery. "Two on a Tower" tells the story of Lady Constantine, who breaks all the rules of decorum when she falls in love with the beautiful youth Swithin St Cleeve, her social inferior and ten years her junior.

Together, in an ancient monument converted into an astronomical observation tower, they create their own private universe - until the pressures of the outside world threaten to destroy it. "The Penguin English Library" contains 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780141199436



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DESCRIPTION: In this novel, set in Wessex, the rich Lady Constantine lives a boring existence, also a chaste one, forced on her by an absent husband who may indeed be dead. But then she meets young Swithin, a naively ambitious astronomer, who shares with her his passion for the stars.

MY REVIEW: One of the reasons I love this story is that the characters were incredibly unique for their era. The main female lead (Lady Constantine) is ten years senior to the male lead (Swithin).

The other element I loved is how astronomy is a large part of the telling of the story: "This slightly-built romance was the outcome of a wish to set the emotional history of two infinitesimal lives against the stupendous background of the stellar universe, and to impart to readers the sentiment that of these contrasting magnitudes the smaller might be the greater to them as men."

Hardy was a fatalist who could sympathize with the plight of women in an era where their pursuit of pleasure cold render them ruined, either by unwanted pregnancy and/or societal disdain and disgrace.

He saw the yearning to be a sensual being, but all the many limitations that would prevent a woman from being able to thoroughly pursue her pleasure.

Classic angst. Yearning. Agony.

He played out a popular theme, an undying theme, in this story - the one told of two 'star-crossed' lovers.

It's time for a re-read...

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