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Jude the Obscure (Penguin Classics) Paperback – September 1, 1998
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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-John Owen, Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
"Jude the Obscure" is not an indictment of education, marriage, family, or religion, but rather Hardy's bitter commentary on how society misuses these institutions to defend its shaky beliefs and practices. Jude Fawley, the title character and society's puppet, is a young man trying in vain to transcend his environment. A stonemason by trade, he dauntlessly studies Latin and Greek with the rigorous mind of a classical scholar in preparation for entering the ivy-covered Gothic halls of Christminster, a college town supposed to evoke Oxford. Two things stand in his way: He is too poor to afford the tuition, and he marries an ignorant farm girl named Arabella who discourages his academic aspirations.
Separated from Arabella but still legally married, Jude begins a relationship with his pretty cousin, Sue Bridehead, after he moves to Christminster to be nearer his goal, supporting himself with various stonemasonry jobs. Sue marries Jude's former teacher, Richard Phillotson, many years her senior, also rejected by Christminster and now a local schoolmaster.Read more ›
Jude Hawley is born into a changing world-- a world that's changed enough that a poor boy can dream about a university eduction and a professional future. However, it hadn't changed enough for that dream to yet be realizable. Hawley instead is entrapped into a hasty marriage and sacrifices his dreams of further education. Even after the marriage is dissolved by the wife removing herself to Australia, Jude continues to be haunted for the rest of his life by his early mistake-- dooming himself and his true love to a lifetime of misery.
The book is bleak. The characters (Jude and Sue, primarily) can't live with the choices that law and religion demands, but they can't live outside them either and their attempts to do so only drive them down deeper. The central thesis of the book, and the one that was so shocking a the time, was that these moral and legal strictures prevented people from fulfilling their dreams and living happy lives. Jude the Obscure challenges the sanctity of marriage by building a tragedy about people trapped by its convention.
An important and challenging book. It continues to be relevant today.
After exiting a short-lived dismal marriage Jude then meets and falls in love with his cousin who ultimately leaves her husband and moves in with him. There is no "happily ever after" in this novel. Sue, his lover, has sexual problems that need the ministrations of Dr. Ruth, who unfortunately was not available at the time. Sex is repellent to her, and so she and Jude live fairly platonic lives; lives that are not made easier by society's negative reaction to their living in "sin".
Jude and Sue are nice, if not psychologically whole, individuals. You wish them well, but Thomas Hardy has decided to sacrifice them to his philosophical views. He burdens the poor couple with society's repressive attitudes toward women, the lower classes, and marital nonconformity. A novel that begins with the hope of springtime, ends in a winter of despair.
It is a pessimistic, depressing story that examines Victorian sexual and societal mores, and for this it was condemned by many critics. Hardy was so affected by this criticism that he never wrote another novel. Instead he successfully turned to poetry, although his pessimism was again apparent in some of his verses (Read for instance his elegant poem "God's Funeral"). Some of the novel is a bit melodramatic, but that is a common trait of many works of the period. My credulity is strained somewhat by the basically non-sexual relationship of Jude and Sue.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a story about people who are unwilling to live according to society’s mores, and suffer accordingly. The primary baneful choice throughout the book is marriage. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lazarus
I didn't know anything about the story, but I was interested because of the author. I have to say that it is a very sad story to say the least. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tippy
Pretty good book! It's hard to find one to get immersed one lately and while it wasn't riveting, it held my attention long enough to finish it. Maybe because it was kind of slow?Published 3 months ago by C. Greene
My favorite Victorian realist novel. Like most of Hardy's works, it is profound and adult oriented so I would not recommend this for younger readers as there are references to sex... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Chrisalis
Well-written but I'm always bummed when a book ends and I never enjoyed the characters. They persevered, more or less, but could never find happiness together or apart. Read morePublished 10 months ago by ddaugherty