Jude the Obscure

Front Cover
Penguin Books Limited, 1998 - Fiction - 484 pages
50 Reviews

'I'm an outsider to the end of my days!'

Jude Fawley's hopes of a university education are lost when he is trapped into marrying the earthy Arabella, who later abandons him. Moving to the town of Christminster where he finds work as a stonemason, Jude meets and falls in love with his cousin Sue Bridehead, a sensitive, freethinking 'New Woman'. Refusing to marry merely for the sake of religious convention, Jude and Sue decide instead to live together, but they are shunned by society and poverty soon threatens to ruin them. Jude the Obscure, Hardy's last novel, caused a public furor when it was first published, with its fearless and challenging exploration of class and sexual relationships.

This edition uses the unbowdlerized text of the first volume edition of 1895, and also includes a list for further reading, appendices and a glossary. In his introduction, Dennis Taylor examines biblical allusions and the critique of religion in Jude the Obscure, and its critical reception that led Hardy to abandon novel writing.

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User Review  - Lord_Boris - LibraryThing

This book was published in 1895 to such adverse criticism that Hardy didn't write another novel. Clearly it wasn't the done thing to question the institution of marriage, the influence of the church ... Read full review

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User Review  - AlisonY - LibraryThing

This Hardy novel tells the tale of Jude, a rural stonemason whose ambition is to better himself through the higher education of Christminster (Oxford), and his tragic love affair with his cousin Sue ... Read full review

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References to this book

The Flesh Made Word
Helena Michie
Limited preview - 1990
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About the author (1998)

Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840. In his writing, he immortalized the site of his birth—Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester. Delicate as a child, he was taught at home by his mother before he attended grammar school. At sixteen, Hardy was apprenticed to an architect, and for many years, architecture was his profession; in his spare time, he pursued his first and last literary love, poetry. Finally convinced that he could earn his living as an author, he retired from architecture, married, and devoted himself to writing. An extremely productive novelist, Hardy published an important book every year or two. In 1896, disturbed by the public outcry over the unconventional subjects of his two greatest novels—Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure—he announced that he was giving up fiction and afterward produced only poetry. In later years, he received many honors. He died on January 11, 1928, and was buried in Poet's Corner, in Westminster Abbey. It was as a poet that he wished to be remembered, but today critics regard his novels as his most memorable contribution to English literature for their psychological insight, decisive delineation of character, and profound presentation of tragedy.

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