Jude Fawley, the stonemason excluded from the world of Christminster privilege, finds fulfilment in his relationship with Sue Bridehead. Both have left earlier marriages. Hardy's exploration of sexual and social relationships and his critique of marriage scandalised the late Victorian establishment and marked the end of his career as a novelist.
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.
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Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset in 1840 and became an apprentice architect at the age of sixteen. He spent his twenties in London, where he wrote his first poems. In 1867 Hardy returned to his native Dorset, whose rugged landscape was a great source of inspiration for his writing. Between 1871 and 1897 he wrote fourteen novels, including Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. This final work was received savagely; thereafter Hardy turned away from novels and spent the last thirty year of his life focusing on poetry. He died in 1928. Patricia Ingham is Senior Research Fellow and Reader at St Anne's College, Oxford. She has written on the Victorian novel and on Hardy in particular. she is the General Editor of all Hardy's fiction in the Penguin Classics and has edited Gaskell's North and South for the series.
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
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