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Jude the Obscure (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 14 Aug 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; Revised edition edition (14 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019953702X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199537020
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2.3 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'His style touches sublimity' --T.S. Eliot'The greatest tragic writer among English novelists' --Virginia Woolf --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A brooding tragedy which scandalised Hardy's contemporaries on first publication --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Kemp on 17 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback
The plot has been so much rehearsed and summarised that I do not think there is a requirement to repeat this once more. So, just a few thoughts on the novel. I have read much Hardy over the years, though hitherto had not got around to this – possibly somewhat put off by its reputation for unremitting gloom.
It is a well written and powerful story. For late nineteenth century, certainly candid in its discussion of society’s stultifying sexuality and matrimonial arrangements, thus its reputation when first published as considered, by some, to be an immoral work. The four main characters – Jude Fawley, Sue Bridehead, Phillotson and Arabella all have a combination of frustrating and sympathy-inducing characteristics; there are no real unreconstructed evil monsters in the quartet, and even though Arabella is a selfish and cunning minx, the reader does not feel entirely lacking in empathy with her and the situations she finds herself in.
The overall theme is very much the typical Hardy one whereby characters are battered around by force of circumstance and the utter unpredictability of nature and the universe. There is little they can do about it, except struggle to do they best they can and accept that there is no overall plan to life and no directing deity to provide a rationale or strategy for the suffering that poor folk in the late nineteenth century Wessex experienced.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By J. SCARROTT on 31 July 2006
Format: Paperback
When I received this book for Christmas last year, I looked at it and wondered if I would ever read it. Fortunately, I decided to about a month ago and did not regret it. It was a real hard-hitting read;don't be fooled by the blurb which sort of suggests it is a romantic sweet book as it is more powerful than that. It was one of few books that I can honestly say, when finished, left me with a shocked almost sad look on my face(and thats saying something as Iam an avid reader and not much hits me that much). The ending is completely unexpected which keeps you hooked. I highly recommend it.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Onegin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
If like me, your were put off Hardy by studying him at school or if you have in your mind's eye a writer obsessed with Wessex and a kind of moralising pastoralism, then try reading Jude. Here is a novel written with real emotional conviction and shot through with an anger which only comes from real experience. It is really a book about rebelling against conventions particularly about sexual morality and the aspirations of the artisan. Jude Fawley is an abandoned child who from his earliest years dreams of a richer fuller life both culturally and physically which he believes will be opened to him through higher education, symbolised by the distant spires of Christminster (Oxford). The passion with which Jude adores everything the venerable university stands for is only matched by his awareness of the futility of his dreams but that does not stop his hunger for books and learning which occupy his every free moment as he practices the trade of a stonemason. However, his sensual appetites override his academic ambitions and he finds himself imprisoned in a marriage devoid of the passion that brought it about. Meeting Sue Bridehead who he perceives as his soul mate underlines his captive state and they both come to question the very purpose of marriage resolving to live together without the need for a piece of paper. Yet the consequences of offending Victorian social codes are severe: from social exclusion to the loss of employment and indirectly the death of their children. Sue's response involves a return to the mindset she eschewed in her youth, Jude remains defiant bemoaning the fact that he was `fifty years ahead of his time' and coming to hold his beloved Oxford and its metaphysics in contempt. Rarely has the anguish of broken dreams had more resonance than here.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Philip Spires on 31 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
In the postscript to the preface of Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy quotes a German reviewer of the novel. Sue Bridehead, the heroine, was described there as "the first delineation in fiction of the woman ... of the feminist movement - the slight pale `bachelor' girl - the intellectualised, emancipated bundle of nerves" that modern conditions were producing. The book's reception `cured' Hardy of the desire to write another novel, and all of the above happened before the dawn of the twentieth century.

Jude The Obscure is a novel about relationships within marriage. Hardy's opinion was that legal ties between men and women ought to be breakable once the union had achieved dysfunction. It was an opinion that differed from that expected by the age. It prompted a bishop to burn the book, rather than the writer, who was unavailable at the time.

Thomas Hardy's Jude Fawley was adopted into a baker's family, and harboured an ambition to self-teach himself into a classical education in Christminster's learned colleges. His schoolmaster, Mr Phillotson helped a little. Jude's ambition was always somewhat far fetched, though he applied himself diligently to his studies and achieved a great deal. In his formative years, he also learned the stonemason's trade to allow the earning of a living. On a country walk he then took up with Arabella, the daughter of a pig farmer. Having found himself stuck, he tried to learn how to stick real pigs but somehow the penetration never came easy. The couple parted, apparently childless.

Sue, Jude's cousin and thus a co-member of a family reputed for its marital failures, was always a soul mate for the young man. But she never quite seemed up to the task of giving herself, giving of her self.
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