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Jude the Obscure (1895)

by Thomas Hardy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,642117650 (3.87)2 / 453
Jude the Obscure tells the story of a stonemason, tricked into a loveless marriage, who craves a formal education and a finer existence. Separated from his wife, Jude begins a new life with his cousin, and the couple defies social convention at every turn.
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English (112)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (116)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
Jude the Obscure is the last of Thomas Hardy’s novels. Its hero Jude Fawley is a lower-class young man who dreams of becoming a scholar. The two other main characters are his earthy wife, Arabella, and his intellectual cousin, Sue. Themes include class, scholarship, religion, marriage, and the modernization of thought and society.

In two parts on Lenovo and in Groove Music.
  Gmomaj | Oct 5, 2020 |
This is a novel of despair. It paints a sad picture of a young man with a dream and what happens when that dream dies. Because of class, marriage, etc. because of circumstances Jude's hopes of a university education are crushed. The reaction to Thomas Hardy's last novel was fierce and swift. The book was banned, ostracized, and in a few cases burned. Hardy never wrote another novel, switching his focus to poetry. ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
Jude is definitely the most complex character Hardy puts into any of his novels (at least, any of his novels I've read to date). A smart, ambitious, hard-working man, Jude's virtues make him a hero you can't help admiring. This makes his long, slow decline to a tragic end all the more heartbreaking. But, each step in his path toward doom feels authentic. He falls in love with the wrong woman because he's young and foolish. He fails to get into college because he's poor and can't afford the tuition, and can't compete for a scholarship against wealthier young men who've had the advantage of tutors and guidance, in contrast to his self taught education. He's a man who stuffs his head with knowledge, but who makes his living as a stonecutter, and the contrast between all his beautiful knowledge and the grinding hardship of his daily labor increasingly becomes unbearable.

The book felt relevant and timely to me. We live in an era of seemingly equal opportunities, but wealth and poverty continue to have an overwhelming grip on people's abilities to take advantage of these opportunities. Hardy was aware--and angry--that an intelligent, hard-working, honest man would be barred by his poverty from rising in the world. Hardy is also plainly angry at the morality of his day, the fact that the world would judge so harshly people who fell in love but didn't choose to shackle that love in the chains of marriage.

I should say that, by the end of the book, I felt as if Hardy had stacked the deck a bit too much against Jude. It would have been too much to ask for a happy ending for the character, but Hardy seems to twist the knife by having Jude's wife leave him dead in his bed to go out and immediately start flirting with other men who might support her. Still, I put the book down feeling as if I'd read something important and truthful, and I can think of no better compliment to give this book. ( )
  James_Maxey | Jun 29, 2020 |
Nobody turns a phrase like Hardy. The man has a true gift with language. As for the story, a lot is to be desired. That is not to say I don't appreciate what Hardy is doing. To perhaps a very large extent he is indicting religion by pitting faith against reason, sentiment against logic, the church against the human mind, dogma against the soul's inclination toward self-exploration. Suicide and martyrdom remain constant threads through the novel, threads I haven't quite studied enough to understand fully. And Sue: Is she an inconsistent, impetuous child? Or an example of what happens when the human spirit is stifled by the institution? She is, on one hand, the most exasperating character I have ever encountered in literature and, on the other, one with whom I completely identify. ( )
  TheaJean | Jun 2, 2020 |
What a beautifully depressing book. I kinda want to call him the Job of Marriage. Or rather, the Jude of Marriage, because, let's face it, he is or should be an archetype. :)

For those of you not acquainted with Thomas Hardy, he's primarily a poet but he is best known for his novels. And, if I might be so bold, for good reason. He's almost Dickensonian in his command of the pathos, but more than that, he's a naturalist with his thumb on the pulse of the times.

Those times, the 1890's, presaged the Roaring Twenties in a big way, giving us all, in bright glaring colors, the horrors of what we call MARRIAGE.

What free love? No free love. The deadly social structure of the times forced everyone into bad matches for no better reason than custom. And custom rules all. If you're stuck in endless misery and want to get out of it, doing so only brings approbation, poverty, loss of dreams, and ultimately a fate worse than death.

Death is a wonderful release.

Ah, the joys of Marriage.

We can read this book today with a HUGE sigh of relief. We can point to it and feel good about ourselves because at least we didn't have to live through THIS tragedy.

I can see all the young kids growing up during WWI reading this novel and going, "SCREW THIS" right before they ushered in the Flappers. Free love, yo!

Truly, a classic novel. Everyone should have the "joy" of it. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (151 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Hardyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bayley, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, RosellenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hynes, SamuelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luciani, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, J. HillisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monzó, QuimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parker, Agnes MillerIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reddick, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sisson, C. H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sisson, C. H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sisson, C. H.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorne, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watts, Cedric ThomasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Jude (1996IMDb)
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"The letter killeth"
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The schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Jude the Obscure tells the story of a stonemason, tricked into a loveless marriage, who craves a formal education and a finer existence. Separated from his wife, Jude begins a new life with his cousin, and the couple defies social convention at every turn.

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Average: (3.87)
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140435387, 0141028890, 0141199830

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