Jude the Obscure (Barnes & Noble Classics) - Thomas Hardy.mobi
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Jude Fawley is a rural stone mason with intellectual aspirations. Frustrated by poverty and the indifference of the academic institutions at the University of Christminster, his only chance of fulfilment seems to lie in his relationship with his unconventional cousin, Sue Bridehead.
From Library Journal
Jude the Obscure created storms of scandal and protest for the author upon its publication. Hardy, disgusted and disappointed, devoted the remainder of his life to poetry and never wrote another novel. Today, the material is far less shocking. Jude Fawley, a poor stone carver with aspirations toward an academic career, is thwarted at every turn and is finally forced to give up his dreams of a university education. He is tricked into an unwise marriage, and when his wife deserts him, he begins a relationship with a free-spirited cousin. With this begins the descent into bleak tragedy as the couple alternately defy and succumb to the pressures of a deeply disapproving society. Hardy's characters have a fascinating ambiguity: they are victimized by a stern moral code, but they are also selfish and weak-willed creatures who bring on much of their own difficulties through their own vacillations and submissions to impulse. The abridgment speeds Jude's fall to considerable dramatic effect, but it also deletes the author's agonizing logic. Instead of the meticulous weaving of Jude's destiny, we get a somewhat incoherent summary that preserves the major plot points but fails to draw us into the tragedy. Michael Pennington reads resonantly and skillfully, his voice perfectly matching the grim music of Hardy's prose, but this recording can only be recommended for larger public libraries.
-John Owen, Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, CA
Author Thomas Hardy espoused Shakespeare's dictum (from King Lear): "As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport." He particularly exhibits this pessimism in Jude the Obscure, his tragedy about Jude Fawley, a stonemason torn by ambitions both intellectual and carnal, and Sue Whitehead, an early feminist whom Jude loves and who sometimes loves Jude. A compelling novel is made more so in this audio version by the outstanding work of Frederick Davidson. Always dependable, Davidson here excels in his use of measured dramatics; his consistent differentiation of a large cast of characters from varying social, educational and, therefore, dialectal groups; and his obvious personal involvement in the miseries of the two main characters. T.H.
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Novel by Thomas Hardy, published in 1894-95 in Harper's New Monthly as Hearts Insurgent; published in book form in 1895. Hardy's last work of fiction, Jude the Obscure is also one of his most gloomily fatalistic, depicting the lives of individuals who are trapped by forces beyond their control. Jude Fawley, a poor villager, wants to enter the divinity school at Christminster (Oxford University). Sidetracked by Arabella Donn, an earthy country girl who pretends to be pregnant by him, Jude marries her and is then deserted. He earns a living as a stonemason at Christminster; there he falls in love with his independent-minded cousin, Sue Bridehead. Out of a sense of obligation, Sue marries the schoolmaster Phillotson, who has helped her. Unable to bear living with Phillotson, she returns to live with Jude and eventually bears his children out of wedlock. Their poverty and the weight of society's disapproval begin to take a toll on Sue and Jude; the climax occurs when Jude's son by Arabella hangs Sue and Jude's children and himself. In penance, Sue returns to Phillotson and the church. Jude returns to Arabella and eventually dies miserably. The novel's sexual frankness shocked the public, as did Hardy's criticisms of marriage, the university system, and the church. Hardy was so distressed by its reception that he wrote no more fiction, concentrating solely on his poetry.
Rosellen Brown is the author of Half a Heart, The Autobiography of My Mother, Tender Mercies and Before and After. She lives in Chicago.
Book Dimension :
length: (cm)19.8 width:(cm)12.6