Upon its first appearance in 1895, Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure shocked Victorian critics and readers with a frank depiction of sexuality and an unbridled indictment of the institutions of marriage, education, and religion, reportedly causing one Angli-can bishop to order the book publicly burned. The experience so exhausted Hardy that he never wrote a work of fiction again.
Rich in symbolism, Jude the Obscure is the story of Jude Fawley and his struggle to rise from his station as a poor Wessex stonemason to that of a scholar at Christminster. It is also the story of Jude’s ill-fated relationship with his cousin Sue Bridehead, and the ultimate tragedy that causes Jude’s undoing and Sue’s transformation. Jude the Obscure explores man’s essential loneliness and remains one of Hardy’s most widely read novels.
About the Author
Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in Dorchester, Dorset. He enrolled as a student in King s College, London, but never felt at ease there, seeing himself as socially inferior. This preoccupation with society, particularly the declining rural society, featured heavily in Hardy s novels, with many of his stories set in the fictional county of Wessex. Since his death in 1928, Hardy has been recognised as a significant poet, influencing The Movement poets in the 1950s and 1960s.
Paula Fox is the author of "Desperate Characters", " The Widow's Children", " A Servant's Tale", "The God of Nightmares", "Poor George", "The Western Coast", and "Borrowed Finery: A Memoir", among other books. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
"The greatest tragic writer among English novelists."