A brooding tragedy which scandalised Hardy's contemporaries on first publication
Jude Fawley is a young man who longs to better himself and go to Christminster University. However, poverty forces him into a job as a stonemason and an unhappy marriage. When his wife leaves him Jude moves to Christminster determined to follow his dream. There he meets and falls for his free-spirited cousin, Sue Bridehead. The couple refuses to marry much to the disapproval of the society around them. In this heartbreaking story Hardy shows the devastating effects of social prejudice and oppression.
The novel caused outrage when it was published in 1895 and, as a result, was the last novel Hardy ever wrote.
“To no tragic novelist do we surrender more completely at the last...one of the most compassionate of all writers...you feel a kind of agony of helpless tenderness in the writer for all troubled souls”
“Hardy may have been born in 1840 shortly after Victoria came to the throne, but he speaks to the 20th century rather than the 19th.”
“Visceral, passionate, sylvan...anti-hypocrisy, anti-repression..dealing with love, death, with young people with everything before them, dealt a cruelly stacked hand... Hardy reaches deeper, into our wildest recesses. In a safe world, he speaks to our animal side.”
“A classic outsider novel. An anthem to misery.”
Katy Guest, The Independent