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Archived Group Reads 2014 > Jude The Obscure - Book 4 At Shastron (week 4)

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Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Please post your comments about Book 4


message 2: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Wow.

Wow, wow, and wow.

We knew, or at least had good reason to suspect, that the Phillotson marriage was not likely to be the strongest marriage, but this. Whew!

I'm going to separate some comments into individual posts to make them easier to respond to.


message 3: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Interesting that Renee just posted in the Book 2 thread (message 24) about Sue's statuary -- lovers, and not only lovers, but adulteres.

But it would seem that for Sue, such physical love may be something she admires in statuary, but when it comes to the actuality, no.

A question I didn't find the answer to, but maybe it was there and I just missed it, is whether the Phillotson marriage was ever consummated, or whether Sue is still a virgin. (If she is, she will be one of the few young woman of her age who has lived in a relationship of affection with three different men and slept with none of them.)

Is her horror at Philloston entering her bedchamber based on a terrible sexual experience with him, or is it based on her terror of facing the sex act in earnest?

I simply can't figure her out. As Renee pointed out, she is very much acquainted with the concept of physical love -- and in fact nobody who had educated themselves in the classics could have any doubts about that. But then, what is going on with her?


message 4: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments I have tremendous respect for Philloston. He is obviously trying his hardest to find some way to make their marriage work, but in the end he realizes that he's up against forces that are simply too powerful for him to resist. But not the forces that he (and Jude) thinks they are. Still, he is willing to accept the consequences -- and they turn out to be severe -- of approving of her leaving him in favor of his lover.

I suspect that if he had refused to let her go and she had gone anyhow, against his will, he would not have lost his job. He might have been seen as weak, unable to control his wife, but it's not immoral to have your wife run away from home. But he doesn't force her to that, and he doesn't force her to remain in a marriage that is a sham to her. He does the decent (inter-personally) but indecent (societally) thing and pays the price of losing both wife and job.

But still, I have to respect him for it. In the end, his love for her was sufficient to do what was needed to make her happy, even at enormous cost to him.


message 5: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Poor Jude. He finally gets what he wants, freedom from Arabella and the chance to live with (and even to marry) Sue, but it turns out to be a matter of "be careful of what you wish for, your wish may come true."

Is living with Sue without physical relations even more frustrating than not living with her but dreaming of how it would be if he could?

So far, nothing has worked out for him. Not his marriage. Not his attempt to become a scholar. Not his attempt to become a curate. Not his finally having Sue come to him.

What is he doing wrong?


message 6: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments I realize that my perspective on Sue and Phillotson may be a gender-based perspective. I wonder what the woman here think of Sue. Do you think she did the right thing to leave Phillotson for Jude when she never intended to live carnally with Jude? What is it that makes her act as she does? What do do you think she should have done? If she had gone to live with Jude in the first place, not married Philloston, do you think she would have had relations with him then? Was it something Phillotson did, or is it in Sue herself?


message 7: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Everyman wrote: "...or is it in Sue herself..."

Is Hardy able to get us close enough (inside her head?) to Sue to understand? If not, is that a strength or a weakness of the story as told? For me, Hardy does not, and I suspect that is one of the reasons I struggle with this book. But maybe that is the way life is. We must simply be present to some things without understanding.


message 8: by Peter (last edited May 11, 2014 07:27AM) (new)

Peter Everyman wrote: "Interesting that Renee just posted in the Book 2 thread (message 24) about Sue's statuary -- lovers, and not only lovers, but adulteres.

But it would seem that for Sue, such physical love may be..."


Wow back Everyman

I understand and appreciate your separate posts. There is much to talk about. We are far enough in the book now to see how intricate Hardy is in the writing of this novel. For me, at any rate, I am fascinated by how he carries and evolves his motifs/themes forward through the use of structure and symbol. Initially you mentioned in Book One a comment about Adam and Eve/Garden of Eden. Then we had Jude sitting underneath a picture of Sampson and Delilah and a picture of Dido, then Renee commented about the statuary of Venus and Apollo in Book Two.

And now, in Book Four, we have a trapped rabbit. I'll try and explain. The evening of the funeral we have Jude and Sue attempting to sleep, in separate cottages, when Jude hears "the cry of a rabbit caught in a gin" and he realizes the rabbit "will bear its torture till the morrow when the trapper will come and knock it on the head." To me, this part is reflective of Jude and Sue. They are trapped by two loveless marriages, and they too yearn for escape. Both Jude and Sue hear the cry of the trapped rabbit, and both wish to free the rabbit. Jude goes out, finds the rabbit, and kills it. If only their situation was so easily remedied. Hints and references to the Garden of Eden, to Sampson and Delilah, to Dido and to Venus and Apollo all bear the stigmata of a love that has gone wrong, and the consequences of such a situation. When Jude and Sue discuss the necessary killing of the rabbit through Sue's bedroom window (what would Freud say!), and then the next day, upon parting, share a passionate kiss that was "a turning point in Jude's career" we see Hardy both gathering and furthering his intricately plotted novel. In an earlier post you quoted Glouster's "As flies to wanton boys ..." as a way to perceive Hardy's universe. Could Hardy's world now also include rabbits?


message 9: by Peter (new)

Peter Lily wrote: "Everyman wrote: "...or is it in Sue herself..."

Is Hardy able to get us close enough (inside her head?) to Sue to understand? If not, is that a strength or a weakness of the story as told? For me..."


Lily

I don't think Hardy can get inside her head very well. I do credit him with the writing of such a character though. Surely he must have known after experiencing the "backlash" to his earlier work what would happen when Jude the Obscure was published and yet he wrote the novel anyway. I respect him very much for that.

When you write that we must be present to some things without understanding I think you are spot on accurate and correct. As readers, and perhaps as readers of Victorian novels especially, we anticipate the novels' worlds to be wrapped up neatly by the end too often.


message 10: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments Everyman, from a woman's point of view, I can no more figure Sue out than you can. As to the non-consummation of the marriage that seems to be a moot point, although I have some vague remembrance of a phrase or phrases that suggested that she had perhaps, unhappily, succumbed on one occasion at least. This is, perhaps, a deliberate ruse by Hardy.

So far I would sum up Sue as a romantic of the Scarlett O'Hara type, but without any actual substance. Her flights of fancy seem to be what carry her forward. She strikes me as either someone who loves the idea of sexual intimacy, but is, in effect, asexual. Perhaps this stems from her immaturity; her little-girl-lost persona. Conversely, she may have some sort of personality disorder. At the moment, she certainly only seems to want what she can't have: the excitement of the chase is what drives her. If she were to go back to Phillotson 'permanently' it's unlikely that their relationship would last beyond the point of her nether regions hitting the kitchen chair.

I still have some sympathy with Sue, though I'm not sure why. She acts almost as a puppeteer, pleasing her captive audience and at the same time pulling their strings at will. I don't believe that this is intentional on her part, though most of the time I want to shake her. She has two men who would lay down their lives for her; well Phillotson certainly would. Jude is too young and his immaturity shows in the light of the erstwhile schoolmaster.

I love Phillotson. He deserves so much better. He chose love over income and status. He is prepared to risk the certain shame of being labelled a cuckold. In effect, if he doesn't have Sue, he is saying: "Bring it on. Do your worst." I wish that he, of all the characters, might have a happy ending.


message 11: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments Also, perhaps her choice to go with Phillotson in the first place made her feel that she could more easily distance herself from sexual encounters; choosing Jude would have made this more difficult, unless she had played the cousin card with very great conviction.


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Hilary wrote: "I love Phillotson. He deserves so much better. He chose love over income and status. He is prepared to risk the certain shame of being labelled a cuckold. In effect, if he doesn't have Sue, he is saying: "Bring it on. Do your worst." I wish that he, of all the characters, might have a happy ending.
"


I'm with you there. But this Hardy, and serious Hardy (not the light Hardy of Under the Greenwood Tree). Virtue seldom gets rewarded as it should.


message 13: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Hilary wrote: "Conversely, she [Sue] may have some sort of personality disorder."

I wondered whether she would be considered today as passive-aggressive.


message 14: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments Good point, Everyman, she may well be.


message 15: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments Everyman, I have to keep reminding myself that it's Hardy. I'm still unused to his style. I shall chant: he is not PG Wodehouse, he is not PG Wodehouse until I fall asleep.


message 16: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Hilary wrote: " I shall chant: he is not PG Wodehouse, he is not PG Wodehouse until I fall asleep. "

Indeed he's not!

Coincidentally, the Wodehouse Reader is one of my current bedside books (I usually have three, sometimes four, going up there depending on mood.)


message 17: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments Oh fabulous! Wodehouse is a tonic! He clears away the cobwebs on a less than perfect day; great antidote to depression.


message 18: by Helen_in_the_uk (new)

Helen_in_the_uk | 109 comments The passage about the rabbit was horrible to read but did create a very dramatic allusion to the situation Jude and Sue find themselves in.

Poor Phillotson! He has done the honourable thing - he loves Sue enough to let her go resulting in substantial and probably lifelong consequences for him. I don't think he realised the seriousness with which this would be viewed, but I admire that he wouldn't back down and pacify the school board with what they wanted to hear.

I can understand Sue on one level - she has tried physical intimacy with a man and decided she doesn't like it. Fine, then stay single and live independently (she was in training to be a schoolteacher). However, she marries Phillotson, won't have relations with him ... sleeping in a cupboard or even jumping out of a window to avoid him. When she leaves Phillotson, she goes to Jude without explaining that she wants a platonic relationship only. She is probably not thinking straight, but she's acting like a tease of the worst sort. Difficult time for a woman of no independent means, but she's jumping from one impossible situation into another.


message 19: by Peter (new)

Peter Helen_in_the_uk wrote: "The passage about the rabbit was horrible to read but did create a very dramatic allusion to the situation Jude and Sue find themselves in.

Poor Phillotson! He has done the honourable thing - he ..."


Hi Helen

I, too, am conflicted over Sue and Phillotson. On the one hand I admire Sue for being independent, but then I wonder if she is consciously aware of what she is doing, and the degree to which she is selfish in her actions.

I respect Phillotson. While he truly loves Sue he will not stop her from pursuing her own life. To let someone go in those circumstances, coupled with the fact that his decision may well reflect badly on himself both professionally, socially and personally is a step that is rare indeed.

Powerful character creation by Hardy indeed.


message 20: by Peter (last edited May 17, 2014 06:21AM) (new)

Peter I'm still trying to come to terms with Sue's actions towards both Phillotson and Jude (and also the man she was with mentioned earlier in the book.) Three men, and certainly for Phillotson and Jude at least, platonic relationships. It does not appear that she has any physical interest in Jude to this point.

On the other hand, Arabella was certainly Sue's opposite. Her first action towards Jude was to toss a pig's penis at him, and then to lure him into bed, and then marriage. In Part One Hardy defined Arabella as "the unvoiced call of woman to man, which was attended by Arabella's personality ..." Arabella's time in Australia further suggests that she knew what she wanted and attained her goals.

Hardy has certainly set up and balanced the opposites of character with Arabella and Sue, and then added to this balance with two men for each woman with Jude being the linking factor between the pairings.

Does anyone know how carefully Hardy crafted and plotted his novels before/during their creation?


message 21: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Peter wrote: "Hardy has certainly set up and balanced the opposites of character with Arabella and Sue, and then added to this balance with two men for each woman with Jude being the linking factor between the pairings."

Nice observation. And no, I don't know how carefully Hardy plotted his novels in advance. If I get a chance I'll try to find something in his bio, but it's going to be a busy weekend, so . . .


message 22: by Lily (last edited May 16, 2014 07:42PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Peter wrote: "Does anyone know how carefully Hardy crafted and plotted his novels before/during their creation? ..."

Claire Tomalin wrote of Jude: "Even as Tess was published, Hardy was already at work on... And he had another book planned. This one would crown his thirty-year career as a novelist, and also cut it off for good." (p232)

"As we worked up to his most powerful fictional attack on conventional views of religion and marriage, in his private life he remained conventional and conservative.... (p233)

"...Then he travelled on to Berkshire, to the village where his father's mother, Mary Head, had been an unhappy orphan. The village was Great Fawley, and Jude Fawley became the name he gave to the hero of his next book. It had been in his mind for several years. There is a note dated April 1888 for a short story about a young man 'who could not go to Oxford.' He had started to jot down a scheme for it in 1890, and the death of Tryphena, stirring memories of his cousins a young women, gave the germ of another element in the story. The book had a long gestation...." (p243)

Background on Susan Bridehead: (view spoiler)

From the biography Thomas Hardy.


message 23: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Peter -- this may be unwieldy; I had your questions but haven't tried putting info together. I'll pull at least some more from this source and then may have to drop off for the time being. Tomalin's biography is certainly one source I would recommend, although it contains a great deal more than Hardy's writing life.

An extraneous tidbit: p250 "He consulted her -- as he had once consulted Emma -- about womanly details: 'please insert in pencil any details that I have omitted, and that would only be known to a woman.'" (This was about a story Hardy was collaborating on with Florence.)

p251 "...Emma began to interest herself in the suffage cause and complained that Hardy's interest in women's suffrage was 'nil' and that he cared only about the women he invented. At the same time Hardy, with protean energy, was engaged in writing Jude, and some of Emma's bitterness was provoked by the fact that, whereas throughout their marriage he had consulted her, asked her to copy pages, and showed her or read to her from each novel in progress, now for the first time he did none of this. Instead he was discussing it with Mrs. Henniker...."

I'm going to move the continuation of this to the background thread.


message 24: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Lily wrote: "Peter wrote: "Does anyone know how carefully Hardy crafted and plotted his novels before/during their creation? ..."

Claire Tomalin wrote of Jude: "Even as Tess was published, Hardy..."


Fascinating note on Sue Bridehead and the source for her. Thanks for all your great postings on the Hardy background.


message 25: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Everyman wrote: "Fascinating note on Sue Bridehead and the source for her. Thanks for all your great postings on the Hardy background. ..."

Most welcome. I feel as if I am finally learning some of the pieces that have always eluded about these characters, so my thx for the push that got me to trace Jude throug Tomalin's biography.


message 26: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
I agree that Philloston has behaved better and more nobly than any other character so far. But, one of the things he recriminates himself for was the fact that he pressured Sue into marriage, knowing he had the advantage of experience and positions. Still, in the end he had done (as Everyman stated) the decent thing by personal standards, even though he would be punished by societal standards.


message 27: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
As for Sue, I find her completely fascinating. I don't view her as a tease, but certainly she seems to be working out her own personal code. She wants/ perhaps needs to company of men. On the one hand for security, but, I suspect, more for companionship. She seems to choose men with whom she can converse, study, philosophize. I don't think she has met any women with whom she can share these things. And formal study, beyond teacher school, is not open to her.

And, she is beautiful, which may mean that to a certain degree she won't really be left alone to an independent lifestyle. At one point she even suggests that her beauty is a problem for her. I suppose that if you have no family, no money, and no social standing, your attractiveness is a detriment to remaining unmolested.


message 28: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
(Oops, I wasn't finished.) However, Sue does not seem to want a traditional relationship, with a traditional female role. She acquiesces to marry Philloston, but wants to live as platonic partners. Although, she seems to be Jude's soulmate, her passion for him may not be sexual. She may wish to live as SOUL mates, never physical mates.

Sue certainly seems to be at odds with the expectations of her. To me, she seems much too modern for her time and place. She would probably be fierce in the boardroom of a later century. But, I can't imagine that's Hardy's intention. Is she a disappointed Madonna? Too ethereal for the confines of marriage, patriarchal religion, worldly shackles? I don't know. I'm just playing with ideas. :D


message 29: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
Perhaps what she requires an educated castrato. O:-)


message 30: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Renee wrote: "As for Sue, I find her completely fascinating. I don't view her as a tease,..."

Not a deliberate tease, I agree. She isn't deliberately trying to tease men into falling in love with her (in contrast to Arabella who tosses a pig's pizzle at a man she's never met -- how much teasier can one get?)

Her tease is, I think, an inadvertent side effect of her unconscious sensuality and her indecisiveness.


message 31: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Renee wrote: "s she a disappointed Madonna? Too ethereal for the confines of marriage, patriarchal religion, worldly shackles? I don't know. I'm just playing with ideas. :D "

All that sounds pretty highfalutin to me, whereas I think Sue is much more basic than that. Just an ordinary young woman who is highly ambivalent about sexuality and, I suggest, a bit frightened of it.


message 32: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Everyman wrote: " Just an ordinary young woman who is highly ambivalent about sexuality and, I suggest, a bit frightened of it...."

Perhaps also caught in the web of expected behavior of her age, but just strong enough to rebel in sometimes subversive ways?


message 33: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Lily wrote: "Perhaps also caught in the web of expected behavior of her age, but just strong enough to rebel in sometimes subversive ways? "

Aren't we all always caught in the web of expected behavior of our age? But most of us manage to rebel without destroying other lives.

Really, is there any character who isn't rebelling in some fairly significant way? Well, Mrs. Edlin maybe. But otherwise? Maybe that's why things, so far at least, haven't turned out well for ANY of them.


message 34: by Kate (new)

Kate | 18 comments Everyman wrote: "I realize that my perspective on Sue and Phillotson may be a gender-based perspective. I wonder what the woman here think of Sue. Do you think she did the right thing to leave Phillotson for Jude..."

Good questions! I'm wondering if Sue sees Phillotson as a father figure and continued her relationship with him to fulfil something she did not receive from her own father. She was taking a while to see it herself, however, having married she realised it to some degree, hence the aversion to having a sexual relationship with him because it goes against the father-daughter relationship she perhaps wanted instead. This could also explain her return to their marital home in his hour of sickness. Therefore, maybe due to her inexperience and lack of understanding herself and relationships in general, she has transferred this belief of relationships (grown out of her relationship with Phillotson) onto Jude, hence she does not want to consummate it.

Whatever the story, she is one confused woman! I don't think we can blame immaturity alone. There is clearly something more to it. For one, perhaps from a psychoanalytical perspective (Lacan to be precise), she could be experiencing 'mirroring' which is the notion of seeing things in others what we would like to be/have ourselves. However, since neither Phillotson or Jude have accomplished what they set out to achieve, it kind of knocks that theory on the head, however, perhaps it's as close as she know she will get. Quietly, had she been male, I perhaps think she would have achieved the most of the three, in regards to an academic career.

Great discussion. I'm really enjoying reading this book, even though there seems to be no light!


message 35: by Kate (new)

Kate | 18 comments Renee wrote: "I agree that Philloston has behaved better and more nobly than any other character so far. But, one of the things he recriminates himself for was the fact that he pressured Sue into marriage, knowi..."

I agree with you that Phillotson has behaved better than anyone. Following on from my comments above (message 34), perhaps he married Sue out of moral 'duty', as he felt that he could be the father figure that he saw that she needed.


message 36: by Lily (last edited May 19, 2014 09:05PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments You all are kinder to Philloston than I am. I see him as the figure that "failed" Jude as mentor and for access to the life Jude wanted at Christminster. I recognize the unfairness of that view and that in many ways Philloston is as you all describe. But, in the complex characters Hardy creates here, I am curious about the reaction of others to Phillotson's sort of "feet of clay" relative to the leadership and support, even perhaps fatherly, that Jude sought and probably needed to have a better chance at his dreams. Philloston was like one of those ironies life gives too often -- instead of help, usurper of much about which one cares?


message 37: by Peter (new)

Peter Phillotson, Jude and Sue have emerged as the three characters around which most of our discussion centres. Their actions towards and reactions from each other's presence forms many interesting possibilities.

For me, Sue is the only one of the three who cannot seem to find a steady occupation, place or task to pursue in her life. This, I believe, is because she is so out of rhythm with what the 19C conventions required of women. Sue is unwilling to fulfill the role of dutiful wife and mother. She is unable to accept the confining rules of becoming a school teacher. She refuses to compromise what she wants in life, even though her swings in logic, emotion and reasoning are frustrating for a reader to track, let alone understand. To me she is in the process of evolution from the world that she finds herself in. This path towards a new foundation of societal norms will be fraught with fragility and failure, for she does not, I think, know even herself who she is moving forward to become.

Her escape through various windows represent to me her fleeing from the standard conventions of the established society of her time. She says no to both the confining rules of the school academy and, more importantly, the established expectations of a wife within a marriage.

The fact that both Jude and Phillotson are attracted to her resides in many factors. Hardy establishes that Sue is an attractive woman, and her sparks of independence and intellect appeal to both men who are portrayed as scholars and men of thought. Jude is attracted both physically and intellectually. He finds her independence both exciting and frustrating, but she draws out the best of what he wanted to become himself. Phillotson may be seen as a father figure, but could it not also be as a role of a father who realizes that he has an exceptional child (even student?) who comes by once in a lifetime. to me, the Sue - Phillotson relationship is, at this point in the novel, never sexual, but rather nurturing.

These three people struggle within the world they must exist in, but all crave a future where a future world will be within their individual grasps. Hardy holds their sought after lives just beyond their grasps.


message 38: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Lily wrote: "You all are kinder to Philloston than I am. I see him as the figure that "failed" Jude as mentor and for access to the life Jude wanted at Christminster. I recognize the unfairness of that view a..."

I'm not sure how he failed Jude as mentor. How did he ever set himself up as mentor? Certainly he never considered himself a mentor; he never accepted any responsibility for Jude (except, I dimly recall, maybe sending him a book or two? Or did that not happen?). He didn't even remember Jude when Jude came to call on him.

I'm not clear what he did that would reasonably have imposed any obligation on him that he failed at.


message 39: by Helen_in_the_uk (last edited May 21, 2014 01:01AM) (new)

Helen_in_the_uk | 109 comments Peter wrote: "Her escape through various windows represent to me her fleeing from the standard conventions of the established society of her time. She says no to both the confining rules of the school academy and, more importantly, the established expectations of a wife within a marriage."

I love this observation. So often I take things at face value in a novel and enjoy the discussions we have in the group that make me see things differently and think about what the author is really saying. Thanks all :)


message 40: by Helen_in_the_uk (new)

Helen_in_the_uk | 109 comments Everyman wrote: "I'm not sure how he failed Jude as mentor. How did he ever set himself up as mentor? Certainly he never considered himself a mentor; he never accepted any responsibility for Jude (except, I dimly recall, maybe sending him a book or two? Or did that not happen?). He didn't even remember Jude when Jude came to call on him. ..."

I remember Jude asking for a couple of books, which were sent some time later. I think Jude saw Phillotson as a person who had the same dream ... make an academic life for himself in Christminster. However, Jude never asked Phillotson to be a mentor, indeed never asked anyone to be a mentor. He just pursued his own ideas for study and lost his way.


message 41: by Lily (last edited Jun 08, 2014 11:21AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Am interested on the significance of these lines:

"Say those pretty lines, then, from Shelley's 'Epipsychidion' as if they meant me!" she solicited, slanting up closer to him as they stood. "Don't you know them?"

"I know hardly any poetry," he replied mournfully.

"Don't you? These are some of them:

There was a Being whom my spirit oft
Met on its visioned wanderings far aloft.
*            *            *            *
A seraph of Heaven, too gentle to be human,
Veiling beneath that radiant form of woman…

Oh it is too flattering, so I won't go on! But say it's me! Say it's me!"

Hardy, Thomas (2011-03-30). Jude the Obscure (p. 270). . Kindle Edition.

Not sure I "get it." More of the poem is here, which supposedly had a major influence on Hardy.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/...


message 42: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
Maybe this part applies...

"We shall become the same, we shall be one
Spirit within two frames, oh! wherefore two?
One passion in twin-hearts, which grows and grew,
Till like two meteors of expanding flame,
Those spheres instinct with it become the same,
Touch, mingle, are transfigur'd; ever still
Burning, yet ever inconsumable:
In one another's substance finding food,
Like flames too pure and light and unimbu'd
To nourish their bright lives with baser prey,
Which point to Heaven and cannot pass away:
One hope within two wills, one will beneath
Two overshadowing minds, one life, one death,
One Heaven, one Hell, one immortality,
And one annihilation. Woe is me!"



message 43: by Lily (last edited Jun 08, 2014 11:54AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Thanks for pulling those lines, Renee.

Much as I don't particularly "like" this novel, it more and more appears to be worthy of yet another read in a year or so. (Much as I am currently experiencing scanning The Great Gatsby, so much there that I don't recall noticing previously.)


message 44: by Helen_in_the_uk (new)

Helen_in_the_uk | 109 comments I have found that most "classic" novels offer more on subsequent readings. I've reread contemporary novels and enjoyed the story again, but classics seem to have more depth and on rereading you gain more insight and understanding of the characters and situations.


message 45: by Lily (last edited Jun 09, 2014 09:41AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Helen_in_the_uk wrote: "...but classics ...on rereading you gain more insight and understanding of the characters and situations. ..."

And of what the author may have been attempting to say or do with his/her art -- why were things presented the way they were.


message 46: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Renee wrote: "Maybe this part applies...

"We shall become the same, we shall be one
Spirit within two frames, oh! wherefore two?
One passion in twin-hearts, which grows and grew,
Till like two meteors of expan..."


Very nice. Thanks for bringing it forth.

It reminds me powerfully of the final lines of e e cummings's poem "If everything happens that can't be done."

http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~remzi/Poems...


message 47: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
Such a joyful little poem, Everyman. Thank you!


message 48: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
Helen-
I completely agree with you! The classics I have reread seem almost like completely new stories. Either I have a different perspective due to my own age and experience. Or I am less driven by the plot and can slow down to appreciate the details. I think you've hit on a new definition for "classic"... Books you can read a gazillions times and still find something fresh.


message 49: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 188 comments Love the poems, Renee and Everyman!


message 50: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Renee wrote: "I think you've hit on a new definition for "classic"... Books you can read a gazillions times and still find something fresh. "

You're absolutely right in that except that there's nothing new about that definition -- it's a well established definition of a classic that it's a book not only worth but requiring regular re-reading.

I know of one couple, for example, who for every summer of their married life, which was more than 40 years when I knew them, they would read Eliot's Middlemarch to each other. I regularly re-read classics; in fact, our last book, Jude the Obscure, I read here for at least the third time, and Phineas Finn will also be a re-read, and one I'm thoroughly enjoying and reading with a fresher insight than the first time I read it.

I have always maintained that any book worth reading is worth re-reading.


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