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Thomas Hardy: Jude the Obscure (Unabridged) (Read by Neville Jason) (Naxos Complete Classics) [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Thomas Hardy
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
RRP: 50.00
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Book Description

29 April 2013 Naxos Complete Classics
Sexually innocent Jude Fawley is trapped into marriage by seductive Arabella Donn, but their union is an unhappy one and Arabella leaves him. Jude's welcome freedom allows him to pursue his obsession with his pretty cousin Sue Bridehead, a brilliant, charismatic free-thinker who would be his ideal soul-mate if not for her aversion to physical love. When Jude and Sue decide to lead their lives outside marriage they bring down on themselves all the force of a repressive society. This fearless and outspoken story caused a furore on its publication, and was Hardy's last novel.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 14 pages
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; Unabridged edition (29 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843796783
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843796787
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,511,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

After disastrous first marriages, Jude Fawley and Sue Bridehead find love which Sue is reluctant to tarnish by marriage, a decision for which society cruelly marginalises them. Through the doomed trajectory of their lives, Hardy sympathetically explores the fault lines in Victorian attitudes to marriage and in the couple's vain attempts to sustain their 'highest and purest love'. --Rachel Redford, The Oldie

Book Description

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected... 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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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Modern Hardy 7 Mar 2007
By Eugene Onegin TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jude the Obscure 12 Feb 2006
By P
Format:Paperback
Like many, I read Hardy novels at school rather than through choice. I was put off by his ability to take what seemed like pages to describe a tree!! This book was a gift and I am so grateful for it.
Jude's story is beautiful, heart-breaking, plausible and sincere. His desire to live a content life, demanding very little from society, is thwarted by poverty - and women! I shared his hope, his frustration, his sense of loss and his love for Christminster. I feel richer for having spent my time with Jude and plan to return to Hardy as a grown-up to see what it can offer me today. Do yourself a favour, read this book.
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Format:Paperback
Prescient and groundbreaking in 1914, anachronistic and plodding in 2014.

I raced through the first 250 pages in a ten hour reading fest. It is of course beautifully written and the story builds well to this stage. Jude gets the girl and all is well, pretty much. However the portents of doom hover over Jude and Sue, and Arabella emerges as the the kind of bitter twisted jealous creature who we might find in Eastenders or some similar soap opera. At this point, just after the emergence of 'Little Father Time' I lost interest. I was quite happy with the rural idyll, the artisan and his bohemian female partner. They were a breath of fresh air. However I had no desire to experience their fall.

Hardy, of course, is, like Dickens et al, taking a swipe at social injustice and that bastion of unenlightenment the institutions of religion and the law. At times this is rather unsophisticated and obvious, almost like a sermon against religion. Fair enough, but it makes dreary reading.

The highlight for me was Sue jumping out of an upstairs window to escape the (not very) amorous advances of her husband.

Jude the Obscure could be strap-lined 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions' as the male characters are constantly 'doing the right thing' only to be manipulated and frustrated by the women. This Schopenhauerian view of the world is rather simplistic. Women do have to be more practical, unless like Sue they have no interest in procreation, and this might explain why they place more emphasis on selfishness and are less high-minded than the men in Hardy's novel.

In summary I'd suggest that Jude the Obscure is dated. Hardy writes beautifully and makes many excellent observations about the inequities of human existence, but we know all this and I feel he might have been better making this book uplifting rather than moving it towards such a depressing conclusion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Thomas Hardy, in Jude the Obscure creates a character who is important, not only because Jude is struggling for a better life, but because he is human. Jude often becomes sidetraked from his true goal, but often begins to fight as soon as he realizes what he has done. The story is beautifully well written, with characters the reader can sink their teeth into. Hardy is a master of the human condition, he understands the underlying principles of life and portrays them vividly so that we all can learn important lessons from reading his work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Perfect
Published 1 month ago by Sallly Pond
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Happy
Published 1 month ago by peter
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't be fooled.
Yep, this seller is selling these ebooks, which are taken without permission from the free site, GlobalGrey. All his books are from that website, and are available there for free.
Published 1 month ago by Naji
1.0 out of 5 stars This person (Sotger) has taken books from my site (globalgrey) ...
This person (Sotger) has taken books from my site (globalgrey) (where they are completely free) and which I worked hard on formatting, and is selling them on Kindle, passing them... Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. Tahir
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
The OUP editions are always lovely to read because they include really useful notes on chronology and a great critical introduction. Read more
Published 3 months ago by sarahs92
1.0 out of 5 stars The Characters are humans
Which is the best part. All downhill from there. Apparently more words are required, in fact this will double the length of the review, possibly more, which is appropriate.
Published 6 months ago by Ferdia
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Hardy
Depressingly Good. Thomas Hardy at his very best presented in a distinctive volume that looks good on anyone's shelf, well done.
Published 7 months ago by Marcus Gregorius
2.0 out of 5 stars Heaven help me
another worthy writer and another dreary book. Just read it because it was on the book club list but it was awful
Published 8 months ago by Maude1963
2.0 out of 5 stars SAD
It is no surprise to most readers that this is the gloomiest of Hardy's many gloomy books. Read it for a real view of rural ambition.
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. R. L. Gillett
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Hardy novel!
Having decided to read Hardy novels I hadn't read as a teenager, I went for the big guns & this certainly does not disappoint. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Kate from London
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