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Jude the Obscure (Barnes & Noble Classics…
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Jude the Obscure (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (edition 2003)

by Thomas Hardy (Author), Amy M. King (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,847104636 (3.87)2 / 431
Member:Dylan_Ford
Title:Jude the Obscure (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Authors:Thomas Hardy (Author)
Other authors:Amy M. King (Introduction)
Info:Barnes & Noble Classics (2003), 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:books-owned, classics, favorites

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Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

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English (101)  French (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
Well, that was depressing.

Beautifully written, scathing commentary by the author on religion and marriage in Victorian England... hard to believe Hardy wrote something so forward-thinking in this time period, and easy to see why it was so badly received then. The novel feels unflinchingly honest, brutal, and sad. Poor Sue. Poor Jude.

If you like fun stories with happy endings, this is not the book you’re looking for. ( )
  sprainedbrain | Aug 12, 2018 |
With all the hype surrounding “Jude the Obscure”, I had high hopes, though sadly my hopes weren’t realised.

I prefer some of Hardy’s lesser-known tomes to this one.

I enjoyed parts of this novel, but it didn’t appeal greatly to me overall. I like the humour, but the depressing stuff really did depress me.

Arabella is my favourite character. She’s very believable and it confirms my belief that Hardy’s female characters are better crafted than his male ones.

Can’t remember many specifics, unfortunately, as I’m reviewing this nearly six years after reading it, but as it’s Thomas Hardy, I’d like to give it a second read some time. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Jul 24, 2018 |
Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure," tells a story of Jude, an "obscure" man. Obscurity is antithesis of definitive, solid, firm. Jude does not come off as a man with set values or belief system. The usual Individual vs. Society theme is explored. What does a man have to do to attain success and be regarded with respect from society? How should a man act in society? The main character is not a success but it sends a message. ( )
  majestic131 | Feb 25, 2018 |
Oh la, how to begin? Can I say I am ecstatic to be finished with Jude and Sue and their woeful lives? Can I also say I am so glad to get out of the cold rain of a story steeped in an uncomfortable blend of pragmatism, melodrama, farce and the dourest view indeed of most human endeavors? Jude Fawley (Folly) and Sue Bridehead (Hmmm) are cousins and when they meet they like one another, for Jude it is instant love both sacred and profane. He tumbles off of the path he set himself as a lad, to study and achieve a place and a degree at Oxford, the great university town that is the crown of Wessex. The melodrama comes in when Sue and Jude are both warned that marriage in their family always ends in tragedy and disaster. They don't marry one another, oh no, they stubbornly ignore their hearts and marry disastrously, but back to melodrama and plot twisting, those marriages fail, but wait the drama goes on and on . . . And in between all this Sue and Jude debate and discuss and, amazingly, convince me that they do love and understand one another but are such total ninnies that they will mess up their own chance of happiness.

But here's the thing, the novel is chock full of ideas--serious ones that, in the right book group or classroom could lead to endless discussion. Sue is something special and something new (although it did occur to me she would have gone to be a nun in the old days and would have perhaps been happy enough) a woman who wants to think and do for herself. That she cannot sustain her independence is one of the mysteries that haunts the core of the story. That she is terrified of sexual intercourse, and, even with Jude probably cannot enjoy herself,is a given. For all we like a strong fictional heroine and etc. the reality is that most of us, men and women, are weak and in the face of societal convention and disapproval most of us do wilt under scrutiny. Hardy gives us a real and heart-breaking person in Sue. Jude was slightly less real to me, his utter vulnerability to the machinations of Arabella, his first wife, stretched my credibility. He so readily and naively gives up his dreams for sex, although not having ever been a lustful young adult male, what do I know? And there is never any hint anywhere that any couple are conjugally loving--there is no sense with Arabella that sex is anything other than a transaction that gets her what she wants--a man for appearances. For all her moral appearance, she is far more immoral (and so is everyone else by implication) than poor Jude and Sue with their attempts to live up to their pure ideals.

Hardy puts intellectual striving and sexual desire at firm odds. Marriage, he sees as a social contract the purpose of which is utterly crass and damaging to both men and women, given how prone we are to making bad mistakes with our hearts. He also points out that men consider women something to possess, that marriage is a contract that ensures a form of possession, and that the contract of marriage does assume that the woman will do her duty (It is a given that any man who marries will be game.) In return the man will, supposedly, protect her and their children. There are some horrifying passages where the friend of Sue's first husband advises him to break her spirit if he gets the chance. In the end, this good man, Phillotson is just about convinced and it is left ambiguous just how stern he will be with her. Sue's aversion to getting married, which starts out seeming perverse, by the end seems like good sense, at least for her.

Of course I am not at all sorry to have read the novel. I don't know when I will tackle another Hardy, for this makes three, of which [The Return of the Native] was one I most enjoyed, but probably that was due to the brilliant reading of it by Alan Rickman. (the other was Tess) I have to give this book ****1/2 stars because of what it is, what Hardy presents us with and made me think about, however unwillingly. Rating this sort of book seems idiotic to me, by the way, but so be it.

Some quotes:
beautiful writing: "the fresh harrow-lines seemed to stretch like the channelings in a piece of new corduroy . . ."

On the architecture of Oxford: These were the ideas in modern prose which the lichened colleges presented in old poetry. Even some of those antiques might have been called prose when they were new. They had done nothing but wait, and had become poetical. How easy to the smallest building; how impossible to most men."

Here is a moment that illustrates the sometimes pedantic motion of Jude's thoughts: "Strange that his aspiration--towards academical proficiency--had been checked by a womn, and that his second aspiration--towards apostleship--had also been checked by a woman. 'Is it,' he said, 'that the women are to blame; or is it the artificial system of things, under which the normal sexual impulses are turned into devilish domestic gins and springes to noose and hold back those who want to progress?'

"Sue held that there was not much queer or exceptional in them: that all were so. 'Everybody is getting to feel as we do. We are a little beforehand, that's all in fifty, a hundred years these two {a bridal couple she and Jude are observing} will act and feel worse than we.' I think that rates as mildly prophetic.

As Sue disinegrates later in the novel Hardy has Jude ask, "Is it peculiar to you, or is it common to woman? Is a woman a thinking unit at all, or a fraction always wanting its integer?" Yowza. It's a perfect metaphor in that it is setting the logic of math against the illogic of art and emotion. ( )
2 vote sibyx | Jan 28, 2018 |
Jesus ( )
  Dylan_Ford | Oct 12, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (152 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
Monzó, QuimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parker, Agnes MillerIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reddick, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sisson, C. H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sisson, C. H.Contributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sisson, C. H.Introductionsecondary 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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486452433, Paperback)

Hardy's masterpiece traces a poor stonemason's ill-fated romance with his free-spirited cousin. No Victorian institution is spared — marriage, religion, education — and the outrage following publication led the embittered author to renounce fiction. Modern critics hail this novel as a pioneering work of feminism and socialist thought.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:07 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Hardy's last novel caused a public furore when it was first published, with it's fearless and challenging exploration of class and sexual relationships. This edition uses the unbowdlerized first-volume text of 1895, and 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 it's critical reception that led Hardy to abandon novel writing.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140435387, 0141028890, 0141199830

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