Jude: The Obscure [NOOK Book]

Overview

The novel develops multiple intertwined themes. Most controversially, during England's Victorian era, Hardy criticized revered institutions like marriage and Christianity. He also criticizes the bourgeois values associated with marriage through the tragedy of his star-crossed lovers, Jude and Sue, whose attempts to defy social conventions for the sake of love leads to their misery.
Another major thematic focus of the novel is the issue of fixed class boundaries, particularly ...
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Jude: The Obscure

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Overview

The novel develops multiple intertwined themes. Most controversially, during England's Victorian era, Hardy criticized revered institutions like marriage and Christianity. He also criticizes the bourgeois values associated with marriage through the tragedy of his star-crossed lovers, Jude and Sue, whose attempts to defy social conventions for the sake of love leads to their misery.
Another major thematic focus of the novel is the issue of fixed class boundaries, particularly with regard to access to higher education for students from the working class. Although Jude wishes to attend the university, he can't afford to get his degree and is thereby shut out from having any economic mobility out of the working class. This theme of class was personal for Hardy since he, like Jude, was not able to attend university for financial reasons...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781470950347
  • Publisher: Lulu.com
  • Publication date: 11/11/2011
  • Sold by: LULU PRESS
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 905,079
  • File size: 579 KB

Meet the Author

Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
Victorian novelist and poet Thomas Hardy focused much of his work -- including classics like Far from the Madding Crowd (1874) and Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) on man's futile struggle against unseen forces. Of his rather unromantic outlook on life, Hardy once said, "Pessimism is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed."

Biography

Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840, in the village of Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester, a market town in the county of Dorset. Hardy would spend much of his life in his native region, transforming its rural landscapes into his fictional Wesses. Hardy's mother, Jemima, inspired him with a taste for literature, while his stonemason father, Thomas, shared with him a love of architecture and music (the two would later play the fiddle at local dances). As a boy Hardy read widely in the popular fiction of the day, including the novels of Scott, Dumas, Dickens, W. Harrison Ainsworth, and G.P.R. James, and in the poetry of Scott, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and others. Strongly influenced in his youth by the Bible and the liturgy of the Anglican Church, Hardy later contemplated a career in the ministry; but his assimilation of the new theories of Darwinian evolutionism eventually made him an agnostic and a severe critic of the limitations of traditional religion.

Although Hardy was a gifted student at the local schools he attended as a boy for eight years, his lower-class social origins limited his further educational opportunities. At sixteen, he was apprenticed to architect James Hicks in Dorchester and began an architectural career primarily focused on the restoration of churches. In Dorchester Hardy was also befriended by Horace Moule, eight years Hardy's senior, who acted as an intellectual mentor and literary adviser throughout his youth and early adulthood. From 1862 to 1867 hardy worked in London for the distinguished architect Arthur Blomfeld, but he continued to study -- literature, art, philosophy, science, history, the classics -- and to write, first poetry and then fiction.

In the early 1870s Hardy's first two published novels, Desperate Remedies and Under the Greenwood Tree, appeared to little acclaim or sales. With his third novel, A Pair of Blue Eyes, he began the practice of serializing his fiction in magazines prior to book publication, a method that he would utilize throughout his career as a novelist. In 1874, the year of his marriage to Emma Gifford of St. Juliot, Cornwall, Hardy enjoyed his first significant commercial and critical success with the book publication of Far from the Madding Crowd after its serialization in the Cornhill Magazine. Hardy and his wife lived in several locations in London, Dorset, and Somerset before settling in South London for three years in 1878. During the late 1870s and early 1880s, Hardy published The Return of the Native, The Trumpet-Major, A Laodicean, and Two on a Tower while consolidating his pace as a leading contemporary English novelist. He would also eventually produce four volumes of short stories: Wessex Tales, A Group of Noble Dames, Life's Little Ironies, and A Changed Man.

In 1883, Hardy and his wife moved back to Dorchester, where Hardy wrote The Mayor of Casterbridge, set in a fictionalized version of Dorchester, and went on to design and construct a permanent home for himself, named Max Gate, completed in 1885. In the later 1880s and early 1890s Hardy wrote three of his greatest novels, The Woodlanders, Tess of the d'Urbevilles, and Jude the Obscure, all of them notable for their remarkable tragic power. The latter two were initially published as magazine serials in which Hardy removed potentially objectionable moral and religious content, only to restore it when the novels were published in book form; both novels nevertheless aroused public controversy for their criticisms of Victorian sexual and religious mores. In particular, the appearance of Jude the Obscure in 1895 precipitated harsh attacks on Hardy's alleged pessimism and immorality; the attacks contributed to his decision to abandon the writing of fiction after the appearance of his last-published novel, The Well-Beloved.

In the later 1890s Hardy returned to the writing of poetry that he had abandoned for fiction thirty years earlier. Wessex Poems appeared in 1898, followed by several volumes of poetry at regular intervals over the next three decades. Between 1904 and 1908 Hardy published a three-part epic verse drama, The Dynasts, based on the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century. Following the death of his first wife in 1912, Hardy married his literary secretary Florence Dugdale in 1914. Hardy received a variety of public honors in the last two decades of his life and continued to publish poems until his death at Max Gate on January 11, 1928. His ashes were interred in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey in London and his heart in Stinsford outside Dorchester. Regarded as one of England's greatest authors of both fiction and poetry, Hardy has inspired such notable twentieth-century writers as Marcel Proust, John Cowper Powys, D. H. Lawrence, Theodore Dreiser, and John Fowles.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Far from the Madding Crowd.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      June 2, 1840
    2. Place of Birth:
      Higher Brockhampon, Dorset, England
    1. Date of Death:
      January 11, 1928
    2. Place of Death:
      Max Gate, Dorchester, England
    1. Education:
      Served as apprentice to architect James Hicks

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2005

    great

    i thought that this book was excellent. it was very sad and almost depresing. in the begining i thought that it was rather dull but once i got into it it was very good. also on the back of the book it says 'ends in one of the most shocking scenes in literary history' i didnt know what could be so shocking. but there was something. it was diffinitely worth reading. although i feel that this book is not as good as Thomas Hardys other novel 'Tess' which it is supposed to be better than, it was stil an amazing book by an amazing author.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2007

    Not Fit For Everyone

    Jude the Obscure is one of the most depressing novels in all of literature. Although I don't dispute that literature, like other art forms, need not be merely entertainment, the emotions evoked from this book, while a testament to Hardy's skill, are not for everybody. An author selects his audience, just as much as readers select their authors (if not more so). If you are inclined towards uplifting literature, or even works which permit the existence of hope, this book is not for you.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2007

    A clever and tragic read

    This book was the first I had ever read of Hardy's works and I loved it. It is rich with imagery and contains clandestine symbolism throughout the entire work, Hardy paints a perfect nightmare.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2006

    wonderfully tragic

    Unrealized dreams, emotionally and spiritually tortured lovers, unimaginable grief. Thomas Hardy does a great job of telling this wonderfully tragic story without sending the reader into a state of depression. After reading dozens of classics, a stunning and unexpected story development is a pleasant surprise.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    I agree with all the reviewers comments and would add the following....

    There are some books you read where the story leaves you soon after it is put down. Jude and his story, is not one of these. His hopes, dreams, goals, disappointments, loves and heartbreak, stay with you forever. Hardy appears to have been a man who challenged the inequities of his time through his great literary talent. The social underpinnings of the times are intricately woven into the lives of the meticulously defined characters and we are witness to the fallout and impact of the injustices of the times. Greed, jealousy, nepotism, elitism, status, expectations and more, negatively impacted Jude's life......but wait.....are we still not impacted today by these very traits? While some positive changes in the way society manages our lives have been made since Hardy's times, Read the book to see if you think if we are free of barriers to hardwork bringing success for all strata's of today's society.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2008

    For the lover of classic literature.

    I read this book to find out the big secret alluded to on the back cover. The novel is full of surprises and is very somber. It's a great read for anybody interested in the classics.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2004

    An Incredible Book

    I have always been a fan of the classics, and this is one of my favorites. It is a haunting story that never really leaves me. It is a sad, bleak story of an unfortunate man. I have always heard that you can achieve whatever you want in life if you work hard. I do believe that, but I also believe that some unlucky souls never get what they want out of life even if they've worked hard for it. This is the story of one of those people. It is a great, sad, bleak, haunting book, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the classics of literature.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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