Jude the Obscure
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Jude the Obscure

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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  33,788 ratings  ·  1,647 reviews
Jude the Obscure, by Thomas Hardy, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classicsseries, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
All editions are beautifully designed and a...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Barnes & Noble Classics (first published 1895)
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karen
i have just discovered betterbooktitles.com, so i am including this, but it is a total spoiler, so be warned.

(view spoiler)

jude the obscure is one of my favorite books of all time. and reading the biography of him now is making me very antsy to reread this. it used to be part of my "summer reruns" ritual; to reread all my favorites each and every summer. then i got old and realized that kind of thing was a luxury i would have to give up, or risk missing out on all kinds of books...more
sckenda
Thomas Hardy spinal-tapped my id with “Jude The Obscure,” a grim story about a poor stonemason who struggled by force of will to attempt to ascend from orphan to self-taught scholar. Hardy’s tragic vision of a universe where humans are powerless to avert fate left me empty, silent, and stunned. Hardy criticizes Victorian marriage, the university system, and the church of legalism, but he was so discouraged by the reproach against "Jude," published in 1895, that he abandoned writing novels and de...more
Eric
Jan 22, 2011 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who feel better when they compare their life to Jude's.
Shelves: literature
If you like sunshine, unicorns, and lollipops, then you probably won't like this book. If it's raining and you're vaguely manic depressive or if you just want to sit around for a few hours and feel sorry for someone other than yourself - well, Jude's your man.

I can't fault Hardy's talents at controlling the mood. Even before it became horrendously horrendous, there was a pall of doom that hung over everything that poor Jude touched.
Dolors
Feb 28, 2014 Dolors rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Birds of sorrow
“God had created woman for the sole purpose of tempting and testing man. One must not approach her without defensive precautions and fear of possible snares. She was, indeed, just like a snare, with her lips open and her arms stretched out to man.” Guy de Maupassant, Clair de Lune.

I wonder who the real tragic protagonist in Hardy’s tale of doomed love and transcendental disillusion is. What seems evident according to the incriminating behavior of the female characters in the story is that wome...more
Christopher H.
A few days ago I finished Thomas Hardy's last novel, Jude the Obscure. I was completely overwhelmed and truly needed a few days to reflect upon the experience and collect my thoughts before attempting a review. Bear in mind too, that this is the first time that I have read Jude, and I sincerely believe that this novel may require a lifetime of reading and study in order to fully tease out and understand the import of Hardy's message.

First, a little background about the novel. This novel took Har...more
Jessica
Apr 03, 2008 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YOU, if you've finished all the chicken soup for the soul books already
Recommended to Jessica by: the guy at the crisis hotline
If I remember correctly, this book is a real laff riot, with a touchingly sweet and uplifting message. I think I read somewhere that Hardy was feted in the streets of his hometown Christminster and given the Feelgood Author of 1895 Award for this baby, and rightly so! What a heartwarming gift for someone who's feeling down, such as a student who's just lost his financial aid, or someone you know who's trying to make an unconventional relationship work despite social strictures. Okay, full disclo...more
Kim

This is one of the three novels by Thomas Hardy which I read when I was at school and university. While it's not the one that made me decide I didn't like Hardy - that honour goes to Tess of the D'Urbervilles - I was not motivated to read it again. However, thirty five years later I've developed a new appreciation for Hardy, thanks to a wonderful audiobook of The Return of the Native narrated by Alan Rickman. I'm now slowly working my way through his novels, including the ones I've read before....more
Martine
Jul 21, 2008 Martine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people in need of some good old-fashioned tragedy
If it weren't for the fact that it's somewhat whiny and depressing (and that's putting it mildly), Jude the Obscure would be an ideal book for secondary school pupils struggling with their book reports. See, the way Hardy wrote the novel, the reader is not required to think for himself about what the characters are like and why they suffer the misfortunes they do. Hardy spells it all out for him, mostly by having the characters analysing themselves and each other ad nauseam. Thus the reader is t...more
Lauren
Just about killed me. An incredible, crushing novel. Hardy writes what I feel. If I didn't know any better about Hardy, I'd think this novel was the 19th-century "Requiem for a Dream," the equivalent of an anti-emotional, anti-adultery PSA. That's how harsh it is. I know a lot of people were made to read it in high school, but then again, I had the weird childhood. The epitome of a tragic figure, Jude Fawley is shut down at every turn... or built up slightly, only to lose everything. The best ba...more
Esteban del Mal
I read this out of curiosity during my freshman year in college. When I approached my English 1A professor about doing a paper on it, she -- and I'm not joking here -- said, "Why would you want to write about a dead white male?" Taken aback, I dutifully bowed my pimpled head and submitted a paper on Ernest Gaines's A Gathering of Old Men.

Not to take anything away from Gaines, who I ended up admiring in his way, but Ms. F? You can suck it.
Drew
Jul 23, 2007 Drew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: men
Shelves: lit
Jude is every man. He is obscure, in that his choices make no sense, and yet complete sense. He manages to impregnate a local woman he has no aspirations to marry, and yet does. He abandons hope for a rewarding and successful career. Then he carries on with his cousin, mainly because she is a way out of his dull life. All along, we are reminded of what could have been, if only this man could settle for one woman. He meets the best end for a character I've ever read, and one that is more than app...more
Karen
HOLY COW that was depressing. Well done, but depressing. A Shakespeare tragedy... only lacking the passion and the violence.

3.5 STARS



“I may do some good before I am dead--be a sort of success as a frightful example of what not to do; and so illustrate a moral story.”

What can I say about this one…. It was sad. No… it was depressing Uhhhh, yes but more than that is was frustrating and down right tragic.

It is a classic. It is well written… of course it is, it is Hardy after all. But my rating on...more
Nate
Read this if you're looking for that final push towards suicide.
Crystal
May 30, 2011 Crystal rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only those who have read other Hardy novels
Shelves: fiction
So if you are a literary person and have read Thomas Hardy before, then go ahead and read this one. If you haven’t read any other Thomas Hardy works, PLEASE don’t start with this one. I took a class on Thomas Hardy literature because it was taught by one of my favorite professors. I visited “Thomas Hardy” country in the southern westerly region of England because it was an opportunity to travel abroad. I’ve read several of Hardy’s novels – but none were quite as depressing and dark as this one....more
Alex
A few years ago I was about to start Jude the Obscure, and I was also about to get divorced, and everyone was like nooooo, do not read this book while you're depressed anyway; it is the bummer of all bummers. So I didn't. I read it just now instead.

And I'm not sure that advice was crucial. One of the messages of the book is that one shouldn't stay in a marriage that's not the right marriage; in a way, this might have been reassuring, right?

One of the other messages is "But society will beat you...more
Chrissie
Maybe Thomas Hardy can write, but I didn't like this book. To say otherwise is just not true.

Just as the book description clarifies, through this book Hardy criticizes the three institutions - marriage, religion and education - during Victorian times. Although I agree with his criticism, he exaggerates; he finds example that go beyond a fair analysis. Some of the characters are good and some evil, as in all novels, but Hardy goes beyond this and throws in characters that are mentally instable....more
Orsolya
Jude the Obscure is one of my favorite novels of all time. It doesn't matter which time era the story is presented, it makes sense. Remarkably, it was written during a time with far more sexual restraint than we know today and definitely resulted in Hardy going "out with a bang".

There is more to a man than the outright sexual pleasures and need to plant his seed, and Jude clearly show the ties between the primal urges and that of loneliness and desire for love and acceptance. He makes some imma...more
Jasmine
so... right... um...

this book is basically what you would get if madame bovary gave birth to werther and then he went out on a walk with thomas mann, that is if none of them had a sense of humor... basically then we have what would be left of madame bovary if you took out the funny. unless I just somehow missed everything funny in the book, but that seems basically impossible.

Reading this book is kind of like picking up a stick and poking a corpse with it to try to get the corpse to wake up. I...more
Laura
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

This is the last novel written by Thomas Hardy. In this book, the author describes the life of Jude Fawley, a working-class men who dreams of becoming a scholar.

The central themes of the plot are the unhappy marriages, the Christianity values and the social unrest.

Since I have read the main novels written by Thomas Hardy, it is hard to tell each one is my favorite. But I certainly will add Jude the Obscure in my main list of favorite books.

A TV serie...more
Chris
To say that the book is bleak is to say that the sun is warm. Bleak is the entire point of Jude the Obscure. In fact, most of Thomas Hardy's works can be summed up with that same word.

Characters in Hardy's books make bad decisions. As a reader, you "watch" them make bad decisions, and you know that there will be consequences. But Hardy never lets you believe that all of the misery in your life is self-inflicted - because even when his characters try to make the right decision, they will inevitab...more
Dorothy
This one killed my Hardy reading streak. Jude is the male version of Tess of the D'Urbervilles: witless, gullible, and uber-dramatic. He wallows in self pity while stumbling through his highly improbable, moronic existence, which reads like a twisted version of "A Series of Unfortunate Events." Suicide? It's a given. Adultery? You bet. Incest, polygamy and infectious disease? Yes indeedy. I was so hardened by the grisly events of previous chapters that I found myself rejoicing as the characters...more
C.
More like 3.5.

I felt misled about this book. It wasn't nearly as dark and depressing as it claimed to be, and as such was disappointing to me. Also it seemed to be less about Jude's struggles to get into a university (indeed he seemed to give up rather easily to my mind) as promised by the blurb, than about his romantic trials and tribulations, particularly those involving Sue Bridehead, whose character, incidentally, drove me up the wall. A more pathetic, snivelling, 'quivering', despicable cre...more
Lynne King
This is my favourite Thomas Hardy book. I actually forgot that I had it. This was quite remarkable for the era and I must write a review on this. It's one of my books that when I started it, I just couldn't put it down. It's very "dark" but splendid in writing style.

Richard G
Sinking into the abyss.
Sarah
As with Tess, this book concerns the injustices inherent to conventional society with particular emphasis on marriage and religion. Unlike Tess, it's written primarily from the male perspective -- and perhaps more closely reflects Thomas Hardy's own point of view.

I found it validating and infuriating by turns. At times, it was disheartening. I very much related to Sue but couldn't quite discern Hardy's tone in regard to her. (I wish reviewers would stop calling her a frigid narcissist!) The one...more
Bethan
This one was interesting. Rather different to what I would expect from a 19thC novel. I experienced it as a sort of brown Romeo and Juliet set in nineteenth century Wessex. Jude Fawley is an ordinary man with ambitions to go to university at the nearby Christminster (based on Oxford) but he falls into a hasty marriage with the coarse Arabella. The marriage does not work out and Jude falls in love with his cousin, Sue, an educated woman. Sue, in her turn, falls into a marriage based on hasty grou...more
Ted
i've avoided thomas hardy for most of my life: first from ignorance, then on the advice of a few friends whose taste i trust. then i read an inspirational article in the tls this summer, on the relationship -- both personal and working -- between hardy and henry ibsen, which directed me towards jude the obscure. the description i found there led me to hope that the novel's themes (anticlericism, the emerging modern person, etc) would be right up my alley. so i took the dive.[return][return]i wis...more
Lisa
Reading Thomas Hardy's prose is like eating a tub of icrecream.
Each bite is deliciously complex, you savor it while wanting more. You try to read as quickly as possible to see what happens; yet as slowly as possible to prevent it from ending. And when you are done, you wish you had another.

The content however is in perfect juxtaposition to the melodic prose. Hardy focuses on emotional strife, difficult social circumstances, complex characters and societal prejudices.

Jude Fawley is raised by his...more
Claire
this book annoys me to an incredible degree, forced to study Hardy at college, i developed a loathing for his novels that has never faded. perhaps the most trying element is 'young father Time' and idea that 'dun because we are too menny' - what on earth was Hardy thinking? a child can spell 'because' but not 'done' or 'many'?

his poetry is all right, mind.

the best thing I ever learnt about TH was that when he was born, the midwife thought he was dead and chucked him into the bin. From which he w...more
Gary the Bookworm
Jude is an enigma to me. For all his radical ideals and lofty aspirations he is tragically under the influence of the two women in his life. He is twice tricked into marriage by one of them and willingly submits to the tempestuous cravings of the other because he views her as his soulmate and true wife, although they shun the institution of marriage. Jude and Sue are flower children. It is their undoing that they lived 70 years before their time. They manage to eke out a few years of happiness b...more
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All About Books: Week 29 - Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy 60 38 Apr 25, 2014 12:08PM  
Movie adaptation 4 63 Apr 14, 2014 07:31AM  
Why do we need to read the books of Thomas Hardy ? 11 102 Feb 17, 2014 10:49AM  
Could things have been different if ...? (spoilers) 13 83 Jul 19, 2013 10:40AM  
  • The Mill on the Floss
  • Phineas Redux
  • The Diary of a Nobody
  • Nightmare Abbey
  • East Lynne
  • Martin Chuzzlewit
  • Sybil, or the Two Nations
  • The Egoist
  • Germinal (Les Rougon-Macquart, #13)
  • The Bostonians
  • The Law and the Lady
  • Born in Exile
  • The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
  • Aurora Floyd
15905
Thomas Hardy, OM, was an English author of the naturalist movement, although in several poems he displays elements of the previous romantic and enlightenment periods of literature, such as his facination with the supernatural. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain. The bulk of his work, set mainly in the semi-fictional land of Wessex, delineates char...more
More about Thomas Hardy...
Tess of the d'Urbervilles Far from the Madding Crowd  The Mayor of Casterbridge The Return of the Native  The Woodlanders

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“People go on marrying because they can't resist natural forces, although many of them may know perfectly well that they are possibly buying a month's pleasure with a life's discomfort.” 231 likes
“But no one came. Because no one ever does.” 193 likes
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