- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised ed. edition (Sept. 1 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140435387
- ISBN-13: 978-0140435382
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: 74 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #474,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Jude the Obscure Paperback – Sep 1 1998
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'His style touches sublimity'
'The greatest tragic writer among English novelists'
About the Author
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) immortalized the site of his birth—Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester—in his writing. 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 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.See all Product description
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-8 of 74 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Hardy’s point is that each of these societies deceive themselves into thinking that they are a culmination that their philosophies both legal and moral have some eternal significance. Instead, they are just temporary manifestations that will fade away on an eternal landscape. Jude works as a stone mason. His job entails the carving of gravestones and the repair and replacement of the rotting stones in the churches and college buildings of Christminster. These buildings are a metaphor for the conceit of their inhabitants. They claim an ancient right, but they are not eternal but only temporary and require a continual renewal to prevent the rot of time. Their purpose has degraded over time from the education of the worthy to the service of powerful and the privileged. Jude through his own effort has demonstrated that he is a worthy scholar and yet he is excluded from the4 possibility of advancing his knowledge because of his class and his poverty.
Religion, as well, has become a set of rigid morals that have become just a mask for intolerance and prejudice. Sue Bridehead is driven into insanity by the intolerance of those around her. The intolerance caused the death of her children. The intolerance drove her into a loveless marriage when she was manipulated by a man only for his own interest. This religion is but one of many which have been held on her Wessex moor. Sue was attracted to the classical myths. The current religion will pass as the previous ones did.
I could go on about this. But Thomas gray would seem to have summed up something of Hardy’s point in his elegy.
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
I always avoided Jude the Obscure, largely due to its title that just doesn't appeal to me (although I like it better now after understanding its references). But with several long driving trips planned, I thought it would be worth giving it a shot with the unabridged CDs narrated by Jenny Sterlin for Recorded Books. I am happy I made that choice. I'm not sure I would have been able to finish reading the book, with its painful portrayals of how Jude Fawley and his cousin, Sue, struggle with trying to overcome the flesh to live spiritual lives. The morality that Thomas Hardy portrays isn't quite that simple, suggesting that perhaps the road to happiness includes more fleshly satisfactions than those who are committed to living in the spirit might enjoy. Ms. Sterlin's reading kept those conflicts fresher and more interesting for me than the printed page would have done.
I found the book much more appealing in the beginning as Jude explored his dream of becoming a learned man . . . up until the time he met the manipulative flirt, Arabella.
From then on, I found myself instead admiring the astonishing plot design more than I was immersed in feeling as though I identified with the characters or was attracted by Thomas Hardy's philosophies.
Should you decide that Jude the Obscure is a must for your reading list, do yourself a favor and enjoy this reading.
Want to see more reviews on this item?