About the BookJude the Obscure is a haunting love story and a raging indictment of Victorian society. In addition to its literary qualities, the novel is a rich source of social history, accurately reflecting the encroachment of the modern, developing world on the rural traditions of England. Of all the creations of Thomas Hardy, Jude is the most outspoken, the most powerful and the most despairing. The novel caused an uproar, and the Pall Mall Gazette castigated it as 'dirt, drivel and damnation'. Even Hardy's friend Gosse found it 'grimy' and 'indecent'.
Jude Fewley, a young Wessex villager of exceptional intellectual promise, conceives the ambition of studying at Christminster. But he is trapped into marriage by the coarse, beautiful barmaid Arabella Donn, who makes him think he has got her pregnant, and shortly afterwards deserts him. His academic ambitions being thwarted by poverty and indifference of the authorities at Christminster, he finds fulfillment in his relations with his cousin Sue Bridehead. Sue has also deserted her husband and now lives with Jude. But, as social outcasts living in abject poverty, both are extremely unhappy...tragedy...strikes...children are killed....About the Author/s Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), poet and novelist, was born in Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester in Dorset. He was the son of Thomas Hardy, a builder and master mason, and his wife Jemima. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to a local architect, John Hicks. In 1862 he went to London to pursue his architectural career and also began writing at this time. He returned to Dorset in 1867 to become assistant to John Hicks. In 1874 he gave up architecture for writing and married his first wife Emma Gifford. In the same year Far From the Madding Crowd was published and met with considerable success. In 1878 Hardy moved back to London. His reputation as writer grew and he became a well-known figure in London’s literary circles. In 1885 he returned to Dorset and over the next three years he published The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), which many regard as his greatest tragic novel, The Woodlanders (1887) and his first collection of short stories, Wessex Tales (1888). He published Tess of the D’Urbervilles in 1891 and Jude the Obscure in 1895. Hardy greatly enjoyed the admiration of London’s literary and aristocratic society, but resented the constant carping of reviewers of his “pessimism” and “immorality”. The hostile criticism of his last two major novels led him to abondon fiction and devote himself to poetry which was always his first love. He published eight volumes of poetry during 1898 to 1928. Emma died in 1912 and Hardy married Florence Dugdale in 1914. Thomas Hardy died on 11 January 1928.