Author(s): Thomas Hardy
This is the "Penguin English Library Edition" of "Jude the Obscure" by Thomas Hardy. 'As you got older, ...you were seized with a sort of shuddering, he perceived. All around you there seemed to be something glaring, garish, rattling, and the noises and glares hit upon the little cell called your life, and shook it, and scorched it. If he could only prevent himself growing up! He did not want to be a man.' Jude Fawley, the stonemason excluded not by his wits but by poverty from the world of Christminster privilege, finds fulfilment in his relationship with Sue Bridehead. Both have left earlier marriages. Ironically, when tragedy tests their union it is Sue, the modern emancipated woman, who proves unequal to the challenge. Hardy's fearless exploration of sexual and social relationships and his prophetic critique of marriage scandalised the late Victorian establishment and marked the end of his career as a novelist. "The Penguin English Library" - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
Formerly a prize-winning architectural student, Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) went on to become a prolific novelist and poet. Jude the Obscure caused outrage upon publication in 1895 - dubbed 'Jude the Obscene' by some, it was publicly burnt by the Bishop of Wakefield - and its negative reception induced Hardy to turn his efforts exclusively to poetry, making Jude the last novel he wrote. It is now recognised as a work of astounding literary and emotional power, a huge part of its strength lying in the uncomfortable explorations of sex, class and education that caused such outrage upon publication. Hardy's novels Under the Greenwood Tree, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, Two on a Tower, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Tess of the D'Urbervilles are also published in the Penguin English Library.