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Jude the Obscure : Penguin Classics - Thomas Hardy

Jude the Obscure

Penguin Classics

Paperback Published: 2nd September 1998
ISBN: 9780140435382
Number Of Pages: 528
For Ages: 18+ years old

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Jude Fawley, the stonemason excluded not by his wits but by poverty from the privileged world of Christminster, finds fulfilment in his relationship with Sue Bridehead. Both have left earlier marriages. Ironically, when tragedy tests their union it is Sue, the modern emancipated woman, who proves unequal to the challenge. Hardy's fearless exploration of sexual and social relationships and his radical critique of marriage scandalised the late Victorian establishment and marked the end of his career as a novelist. He then turned to poetry, having created in his last heroine, Sue Bridehead, an extraordinarily complex woman, an English Emma Bovary or Anna Karenina. This new Penguin Classics edition reprints the unbowdlerized first volume edition of 1895 of Jude the Obscure together with Hardy's 'Postscript' of 1912.

About the Author

Thomas Hardy was born in a cottage in Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester, on 2 June 1840. He was educated locally and at sixteen was articled to a Dorchester architect, John Hicks. In 1862 he moved to London and found employment with another architect, Arthur Blomfield. He now began to write poetry and published an essay. By 1867 he had returned to Dorset to work as Hicks's assistant and began his first (unpublished) novel, The Poor Man and the Lady.

On an architectural visit to St Juliot in Cornwall in 1870 he met his first wife, Emma Gifford. Before their marriage in 1874 he had published four novels and was earning his living as a writer. More novels followed and in 1878 the Hardys moved from Dorset to the London literary scene. But in 1885, after building his house at Max Gate near Dorchester, Hardy again returned to Dorset. He then produced most of his major novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891), The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (1892) and Jude the Obscure (1895). Amidst the controversy caused by Jude the Obscure, he turned to the poetry he had been writing all his life. In the next thirty years he published over nine hundred poems and his epic drama in verse, The Dynasts.

After a long and bitter estrangement, Emma Hardy died at Max Gate in 1912. Paradoxically, the event triggered some of Hardy's finest love poetry. In 1914, however, he married Florence Dugdale, a close friend for several years. In 1910 he had been awarded the Order of Merit and was recognized, even revered, as the major literary figure of the time. He died on 11 January 1928. His ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey and his heart at Stinsford in Dorset.

Industry Reviews

'His style touches sublimity' --T.S. Eliot'The greatest tragic writer among English novelists' --Virginia Woolf

A Morality Tale


Follows the misfortunes of a small group of young people during the Victorian era as they unsuccessfully challenge the expectations and morals of the times. Drawing from his own life, Hardy writes a depressing tale with a sad, ignominious ending which was controversial at the time but reflects how much society has changed in the interim. Interesting as social commentary.

Geelong, AU


Jude the Obscure

3.0 1


Acknowledgementsp. vi
General Editor's Prefacep. vii
Map of Hardy's Wessexp. viii
Introductionp. xi
Note on the Textp. xxii
Select Bibliographyp. xxvi
A Chronology of Thomas Hardyp. xxix
Jude the Obscurep. 1
Explanatory Notesp. 399
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780140435382
ISBN-10: 0140435387
Series: Penguin Classics
Audience: General
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 528
Published: 2nd September 1998
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.1 x 13.0  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.36
Edition Number: 2

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