Jude the Obscure
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Filled with aspirations and dreams, Jude tries to overcome his obscure origins in Thomas Hardy’s tragic Victorian novel. Jude Fawley is a stonemason who dreams of studying at the university in Christminster, but he is trapped in a bad marriage and a life of working-class drudgery. When Jude’s wife moves to Australia, he gets a fresh start and throws himself into his studies in pursuit of his scholarly dream. In the university town he encounters his cousin Sue Bridehead, and despite the fact that she is married, the two cannot hide their developing passion for each other. After each divorces their respective spouse, Sue and Jude are finally free to be together, but Sue has no desire to remarry. They initially live a happy life with their two children, but their situation grows increasingly difficult and eventually catastrophic because they are not legally man and wife. As the story approaches its tragic climax, we are left with a deep understanding of the strict societal ties in Victorian England—which, try as they might, Sue and Jude cannot escape.
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Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was born in Dorset, England, to a working-class family who instilled the value of education in their young son from his earliest years. After completing his formal schooling, Hardy began work as an architect’s apprentice at the age of sixteen. He continued his apprenticeship for a few years, eventually leaving it to attend King’s College, London. Although Hardy gained recognition for his work in school, he still felt that another career was calling him and so returned to Dorset to become a writer. Hardy turned out a number of poems and novels in the years to come, among them Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, and Far From the Madding Crowd. Hardy’s writing drew both praise and criticism from his readers, with some of them applauding his brutally honest depictions of rural life and modern values, and others decrying his departure from traditionally conservative Victorian literature. Known for his brooding meditations on human desires and destinies, Thomas Hardy’s works remain some of the most highly regarded in English literature.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
they do thus?"--ESDRAS.
The schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry. The miller at Cresscombe lent him the small white tilted cart and horse to carry his goods to the city of his destination, about twenty miles off, such a vehicle proving of quite sufficient size for ...
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