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About the book
  • Published: 2 September 1998
  • ISBN: 9780140435382
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $14.99

Jude the Obscure




Thomas Hardy's last novel, Jude the Obscure is a fearless exploration of the hypocrisy of Victorian society, edited with an introduction by Dennis Taylor in Penguin Classics.

Jude Fawley's hopes of an education at Christminster university are dashed when he is trapped into marrying the wild, earthy Arabella, who later abandons him. Moving to Christminster to work as a stonemason, Jude meets and falls in love with his cousin Sue Bridehead, a sensitive, freethinking 'New Woman'. Refusing to marry merely for the sake of religious convention, Jude and Sue decide instead to live together, but they are shunned by society, and poverty soon threatens to ruin them. Jude the Obscure, with its fearless and challenging exploration of class and sexual relationships, caused a public furore when it was first published and marked the end of Hardy's career as a novelist.

This edition uses the unbowdlerized first-volume text of 1895, and includes a list for further reading, appendices and a glossary. In his introduction, Dennis Taylor examines biblical allusions and the critique of religion in Jude the Obscure, and its critical reception that led Hardy to abandon novel writing.


If you enjoyed Jude the Obscure, you might also like Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, also available in Penguin Classics.

  • Pub date: 2 September 1998
  • ISBN: 9780140435382
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $14.99

About the Author

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy was born on 2 June 1840. His father was a stonemason. He was brought up near Dorchester and trained as an architect. In 1868 his work took him to St Juliot's church in Cornwall where he met his wife-to-be, Emma. His first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, was rejected by publishers but Desperate Remedies was published in 1871 and this was rapidly followed by Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874). He also wrote many other novels, poems and short stories. Tess of the D'Urbervilles was published in 1891. His final novel was Jude the Obscure (1895). Hardy was awarded the Order of Merit in 1920 and the gold medal of the Royal Society of Literature in 1912. His wife died in 1912 and he later married his secretary. Thomas Hardy died 11 January 1928.

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