Jude the Obscure
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Jude the Obscure

Thomas Hardy, J. Hillis Miller

Jude’s story - his futile desire to better himself through education, his failed marriage and doomed love for the free-spirited Sue Bridehead - shows with heartbreaking clarity the devastating effects of prejudice and oppression upon innocent minds, and forms a passionate plea for tolerance.

Because of its frank treatment of human sexuality and its unflinching fatalism, Jude the Obscure aroused such a storm of controversy upon its publication in 1895 that, partly in response, Thomas Hardy abandoned the art of novel-writing altogether and devoted the rest of his life to poetry.

Though we have come a long way in our social attitudes in the ensuing century, nothing about Hardy’s masterpiece has lost its power to shock us and disturb our dreams.

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