Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) wanted his last novel 'to deal unaffectedly with the fret and fever, derision and disaster, that may press in the wake of the strongest passion known to humanity, and to point, without a mincing of words, the tragedy of unfulfilled aims'. First published in its present form in 1895 (although post-dated 1896) after ...Read MoreThomas Hardy (1840-1928) wanted his last novel 'to deal unaffectedly with the fret and fever, derision and disaster, that may press in the wake of the strongest passion known to humanity, and to point, without a mincing of words, the tragedy of unfulfilled aims'. First published in its present form in 1895 (although post-dated 1896) after appearing as an abridged serial, the work was met with as much opprobrium as admiration. Critics wrote reviews entitled 'Jude the Obscene' and 'Hardy the Degenerate' because of the novel's explicit content and deliberate attacks on the education system and marriage laws; even Hardy's wife took personal offence. Sparse and bleak, the story follows Jude Fawley, a promising self-taught scholar and village stonemason, as he navigates with increasing difficulty between the prejudices of the class system and two very different women: his wife, Arabella, and his ethereal, disturbed love, Sue Bridehead.Read Less
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New. Tight binding with clean text. New. Edges of cover have slight wear. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 480 p. Contains: Illustrations. Barnes & Noble Classics (Paperback). Audience: General/trade. Virginia Woolf called him "the greatest tragic writer among English novelists, " but Thomas Hardy was so distressed by the shocked outrage that greeted "Jude the Obscure" in 1895 that he decided to quit writing novels. For in telling the story of Jude Fawley, whose many attempts to rise above his class are crushed by society or the forces of nature, Hardy had attacked Victorian society's most cherished institutions--marriage, social class, religion, and higher education. A poor villager, Jude Fawley longs to study at the elite University of Christminster, but his ambitions are thwarted by class prejudice--and an earthy country girl who tricks him into marriage by pretending to be pregnant. Entrapped in a loveless marriage, he becomes a stonemason and falls in love with his cousin--the intellectual, free-spirited Sue Bridehead, who is also unhappy in marriage. Sue leaves her husband to live with Jude and eventually bears his children out of wedlock. Their poverty and the weight of society's disapproval begin to take their toll on the couple, forcing them into a shattering downward spiral that ends in one of the most shocking scenes in all of literature. A stunning masterpiece, "
I've been meaning to reread this for years. I first read it in high school, and maybe it was just my teen angst talking, but I loved it. It's extremely depressing, but affected me in a way that few books can.
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