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JUDE THE OBSCURE (British Classics Series): Historical Romance Novel

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This carefully crafted ebook: "JUDE THE OBSCURE (British Classics Series)” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. Jude the Obscure tells the story of Jude Fawley, a stonemason who dreams of becoming a scholar, and Sue Bridehead, his cousin and also his central love interest. The novel is concerned in particular with issues of class, This carefully crafted ebook: "JUDE THE OBSCURE (British Classics Series)” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. Jude the Obscure tells the story of Jude Fawley, a stonemason who dreams of becoming a scholar, and Sue Bridehead, his cousin and also his central love interest. The novel is concerned in particular with issues of class, education, religion and marriage. Jude is a working-class young man who lives in a village in southern England who yearns to be a scholar at "Christminster", a city modelled on Oxford. As a youth, Jude teaches himself Classical Greek and Latin in his spare time, while working in his great-aunt's bakery, with the hope of entering university. After a failed marriage, Jude moves to Christminster and supports himself as a mason while studying alone. There, he meets and falls in love with his free-spirited cousin, Sue, who also experiences failed marriage. The couple end up living together and have children, but they are socially ostracized and experience great deal of trouble. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth and Charles Dickens. Like Dickens, he was highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focused more on a declining rural society. While Hardy regarded himself primarily as a poet, initially he gained fame as the author of novels, including Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. Most of his fictional works were set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex. They explored tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances.


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This carefully crafted ebook: "JUDE THE OBSCURE (British Classics Series)” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. Jude the Obscure tells the story of Jude Fawley, a stonemason who dreams of becoming a scholar, and Sue Bridehead, his cousin and also his central love interest. The novel is concerned in particular with issues of class, This carefully crafted ebook: "JUDE THE OBSCURE (British Classics Series)” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. Jude the Obscure tells the story of Jude Fawley, a stonemason who dreams of becoming a scholar, and Sue Bridehead, his cousin and also his central love interest. The novel is concerned in particular with issues of class, education, religion and marriage. Jude is a working-class young man who lives in a village in southern England who yearns to be a scholar at "Christminster", a city modelled on Oxford. As a youth, Jude teaches himself Classical Greek and Latin in his spare time, while working in his great-aunt's bakery, with the hope of entering university. After a failed marriage, Jude moves to Christminster and supports himself as a mason while studying alone. There, he meets and falls in love with his free-spirited cousin, Sue, who also experiences failed marriage. The couple end up living together and have children, but they are socially ostracized and experience great deal of trouble. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth and Charles Dickens. Like Dickens, he was highly critical of much in Victorian society, though Hardy focused more on a declining rural society. While Hardy regarded himself primarily as a poet, initially he gained fame as the author of novels, including Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. Most of his fictional works were set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex. They explored tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances.

30 review for JUDE THE OBSCURE (British Classics Series): Historical Romance Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    karen

    i have just discovered betterbooktitles.com, so i am including this, but it is a total spoiler, so be warned. (view spoiler)[ (hide 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 i have just discovered betterbooktitles.com, so i am including this, but it is a total spoiler, so be warned. (view spoiler)[ (hide 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 that are currently crowding my shelves and toppling over on my floor. jude the obscure was introduced to me at the tender age of 13. i was taking some stupid study skills class, and the teacher, always prone to leaving the topic and talking about her life on the streets of lean mean central falls and imparting life lessons/knife lessons to all of us was musing one day and said... "if you ever want to read the most depressing book of all time -read jude the obscure." well, i am a title -collector (to this day) and i squirrelled it away in my little notebook, and came across it at the more perfect jude-age of 15. man, she wasn't kidding. what an amazing piece of writing. poor jude and his ambitions, his poor choices in love (if a woman throws a pig's penis at you and you take it as a declaration of love, you are on the road to some pain, my friend)but it has everything - the hypocrisy of the church and the delicacy of woman's place in academia and the danger of breeding super-precocious children. it's hardy, so everything ends poorly for all involved, but it is done with such a stunning touch, you find yourself panting at its beauty. "somebody might have come along that way who would have asked him his trouble, and might have cheered him... but nobody did come, because nobody does." i mean, really. it just chills for me. and my knife skills are top-notch. come to my blog!

  2. 4 out of 5

    °°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο Αμ

    Συγκλονιστικό και μνημειώδες μυθιστόρημα που δεν θα ξεχάσω ποτέ. Πιστεύω ειλικρινά πως ειναι το μοναδικό έργο μέσα στην τραγική απλότητα του που απαιτεί μια ζωή ανάγνωσης και μελέτης προκειμένου να γίνουν κατανοητά τα σημαντικά μηνύματα του Χάρντυ. Γράφοντας αυτή την κριτική αμέσως μετά την ολοκλήρωση της ανάγνωσης αυτού του αδυσώπητα μελαγχολικού και καταραμένα τραγικού βιβλίου δηλώνω έντονα και άσχημα συναισθηματικά φορτισμένη. Για το λόγο αυτό και επειδή πάντα γράφω την άποψη μου για ότι διαβ Συγκλονιστικό και μνημειώδες μυθιστόρημα που δεν θα ξεχάσω ποτέ. Πιστεύω ειλικρινά πως ειναι το μοναδικό έργο μέσα στην τραγική απλότητα του που απαιτεί μια ζωή ανάγνωσης και μελέτης προκειμένου να γίνουν κατανοητά τα σημαντικά μηνύματα του Χάρντυ. Γράφοντας αυτή την κριτική αμέσως μετά την ολοκλήρωση της ανάγνωσης αυτού του αδυσώπητα μελαγχολικού και καταραμένα τραγικού βιβλίου δηλώνω έντονα και άσχημα συναισθηματικά φορτισμένη. Για το λόγο αυτό και επειδή πάντα γράφω την άποψη μου για ότι διαβάζω ψυχικά ορμώμενη , ίσως και να αναφέρω κάποια γεγονότα ή καταστάσεις που μαρτυρούν την εξέλιξη του βιβλίου. Δε γίνεται αλλιώς. Με έχει πραγματικά συγκλονίσει. Κάνω ΠΡΟΕΙΔΟΠΟΙΗΤΙΚΟ ΣΠΟΙΛΕΡ εδώ, οπότε θεωρήστε υπεύθυνο τον εαυτό σας για την παραπέρα ανάγνωση. Πρώτα απο όλα είναι ένα σπουδαίο μυθιστόρημα ιδεών και ιδανικών διαχρονικών για την ανθρώπινη ιδιοσυγκρασία. Ο Τζουντ είναι ένα ευαίσθητο ορφανό παιδάκι εγκαταλειμμένο μετα το χαμό των γονιών του σε μια ηλικιωμένη θεία που θα τον προτιμούσε νεκρό για να αποφύγει το βάρος της ανατροφής του. Ένα απογοητευμένο πλάσμα, που λατρεύει τη φύση και τα ζώα. Συμπονά κάθε μορφή ζωής συμπάσχει και υποφέρει ακόμη και για τα αυτονόητα για άλλους «εγκλήματα» διαβίωσης. Το κόψιμο των δέντρων, η σφαγή των ζώων, η βία και ο πόνος δεν ταιριάζουν στον χαρακτήρα του. Τα ιδεώδη του είναι πολύ υψηλά και διαφορετικά απο αυτά του κόσμου που ζει. Επομένως ο κόσμος δεν θα φανεί ποτέ καλός για τον Τζουντ. Έτσι, η ιστορία μας ξεκινά με τον Τζουντ ως παιδί και τον ακολουθεί κατα τη διάρκεια της ζωής του, τεκμηριώνοντας ποικιλοτρόπως την αργή και βασανιστική καταστροφή των ιδανικών του. Μέσα απο τη βικτωριανή εποχή που επικρατεί ο Τζουντ αντιμετωπίζει τις στάσεις που συνδέονται με την κοινωνική τάξη,την οικονομική κατάσταση, τις ευκαιρίες για μόρφωση και πνευματική καλλιέργεια, τις θρησκευτικές επιρροές, τον θεσμό του γάμου και την επιρροή του κοινωνικού Δαρβινισμού στην επικρατούσα σύγχρονη σκέψη. Όλα αυτά εξερευνούνται και αναπτύσσονται μέσα στην ιστορία μας πλαισιώνοντας το τραγικό πορτρέτο της ζωής, της κοινωνίας, του κατηγορητηρίου και του χρόνου που ζει και βασανίζεται ο Τζουντ ως αντισυμβατικός ονειροπόλος. Ο αντιπρόσωπος του ιδεαλιστικού ρομαντισμού που τολμά να αντισταθεί και πληρώνει ως αρχαίος τραγικός την ανυπακοή του. Ο γάμος του με την Αραμπέλα μια παρωδία, μια αφελέστατα νεανική απόφαση. Η αγάπη του για την ξαδέλφη του παντοδύναμη, παθιασμένη, αιώνια, βαθιά, αναντικατάστατη, αρρωστημένη και θανητοφόρα. Το όνειρο ζωής του Τζουντ η εισαγωγή του σε καποιο μεγάλο κολέγιο στην «πόλη των φώτων». Σκληρά εργαζόμενος, πάμφτωχος και αυτοδίδακτος σε ελληνικά και Λατινικά κείμενα πορεύεται με ιδανικά και ρομαντικά οράματα μέχρι την είσοδο του κολλεγίου. Η πόρτα παραμένει ερμητικά κλειστή για τον Τζουντ και δέχεται ένα τρομερό χτύπημα όταν αντιλαμβάνεται πως η κοινωνική του θέση και στάση καθώς και η χειρωνακτική εργασία θα επηρεάσουν άσχημα το μέλλον του. Η Άραμπελ τον φυλακίζει με πονηριά σε έναν καταστροφικό γάμο για να μπορέσει η ίδια - κενή συναισθηματικά και πουλημένη ηθικά- να πραγματοποιήσει τα χονδροειδή ένστικτα της. Η ξαδέλφη του είναι μια αιθέρια ύπαρξη. Μια νεράιδα της απόλυτης ελευθερίας που καθορίζει τη ζωή του. Αντισυμβατική, ρομαντική και σύγχρονη για την εποχή της πιστεύει ακράδαντα στον ιδεαλισμό της ελεύθερης αγάπης χωρίς απαραίτητα τη σεξουαλική ευχαρίστηση. Θέλει σύντροφο ζωής που να βιώνουν κυρίως πνευματική σχέση αγάπης παρά κοινωνικά συμβατική ή σεξουαλική. Ανάμεσα στον Τζουντ και την ξαδέλφη του δημιουργείται μια παντοδύναμη αγάπη, μια ακατανίκητη σχέση αφοσίωσης και εμμονής. Ένα παράφορο πάθος πρωτίστως ψυχικής ένωσης και μετά σαρκικής. Δεν τελούν ποτέ το μυστήριο του γάμου. Δεν είναι επαναστάτες. Είναι ο φόβος πως η σύμβαση της Βικτωριανής κοινωνίας μέσα στο γάμο θα καταστρέψει την παντοτινή τους ευτυχία. Μέσα απο υπαινιγμούς και μεταφορές προσφέρεται μια γεμάτη πλοκή απο βιβλικές αναφορές και ουσιώδη μηνύματα σπουδαίων προγόνων της λογοτεχνίας. Προς το τέλος της ιστορίας κορυφώνεται η τραγωδία μα λείπει η κάθαρση. Ένα συγκλονιστικό γεγονός καταρρακώνει και τους δυο καταστρέφοντας κάθε συναισθηματικό και πνευματικό δεσμό. Κάπου εδώ γκρεμίζονται τα ιδανικά. Καταφθάνει με απόλυτη κυριαρχία το ανυπέρβλητο κακό. Ο πόνος. Η συντριβή. Η απόγνωση. Η παράνοια. Και η αυλαία πέφτει με την ίδια θλιβερή μελαγχολία για να κρύψει ένα μακάβριο σκηνικό ζωής. Για να θάψει βαθιά στο σκοτάδι τον παλιό ρομαντισμό και να ρίξει προβολείς στον εκτοπισμό του εκσυγχρονισμού,σε μια νέα τάξη πραγμάτων που τα θρυμματισμένα ιδανικά είναι αδύνατο να επανασυναρμολογηθούν. Διαβάστε οπωσδήποτε αυτό το βιβλίο. Είναι εξαιρετικό έργο τέχνης λόγου, αξιών και μηνυμάτων!! ΥΣ. Θα ξερίζωνα με ευχαρίστηση τα μαλλιά της Αραμπέλας με χατζάρα βυζαντινου ρυθμού.. θα της έκανα λοβοτομή και κόψιμο στην κοιλιακή χώρα με τσεκούρι χωραφιού ( ζητώ συγγνώμη για την ωμή βία που αναφέρω,μα ειλικρινά θα το έκανα). Καλή ανάγνωση!! Πολλούς ασπασμούς!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy

    “But his dreams were as gigantic as his surroundings were small.” I realize wistfully that I cannot revisit all books I read and loved a long time ago. Oh, how I regret not having an endless existence to go back and revisit my most precious memories. However, I have so many new celebrated novels yet to explore. I read Jude the Obscure when I was in college, I was so young but used to read whenever I did not have class or did not have to study. If I remember correctly, I discovered it in an Engl “But his dreams were as gigantic as his surroundings were small.” I realize wistfully that I cannot revisit all books I read and loved a long time ago. Oh, how I regret not having an endless existence to go back and revisit my most precious memories. However, I have so many new celebrated novels yet to explore. I read Jude the Obscure when I was in college, I was so young but used to read whenever I did not have class or did not have to study. If I remember correctly, I discovered it in an English Literature class. I was exposed to marvels through it that are never far away. Yes, I loved Thomas Hardy’s appealing protagonist. I liked that he wanted to advance himself, but no effort would be enough for him to rise above his social status in those times. He is continually knocked out in his aspirations. His love life is no more successful, as he seems to choose unsuitable women. “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.” Thus, Jude represents almost every men of his time in England or maybe many other places. From the title we understand that he is an obscure man for his choices make no sense. If I remember correctly, all along we are reminded of what could have been. Nothing could be more melancholic. Despite my lack of maturity at the time I read it and the gloom that involves the novel, a feeling of amazement still rises in me when I think of it. Thomas Hardy must have been a master to inspire me so at my youth. “Somebody might have come along that way who would have asked him his trouble, and might have cheered him by saying that his notions were further advanced than those of his grammarian. But nobody did come, because nobody does; and under the crushing recognition of his gigantic error Jude continued to wish himself out of the world.” I might one day yet decide to go back to this great book. ___ Note: quotes from Goodreads.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Thomas Hardy ended his brilliant career writing novels, with this book, Jude the Obscure , because of the adverse reaction in Victorian England , this was thought unseemly, immoral, not a decent product , you didn't parade such filth to the public, but he did, almost fifty years too early, yet liking poetry more , it was not a hard decision for him to stop, back to his first love, making exquisite poems.... In the tail end of the 19th century two intelligent , but undisciplined, rather immature Thomas Hardy ended his brilliant career writing novels, with this book, Jude the Obscure , because of the adverse reaction in Victorian England , this was thought unseemly, immoral, not a decent product , you didn't parade such filth to the public, but he did, almost fifty years too early, yet liking poetry more , it was not a hard decision for him to stop, back to his first love, making exquisite poems.... In the tail end of the 19th century two intelligent , but undisciplined, rather immature first -cousins, meet, and fall in love, Jude Fawley and pretty, independent, Sue Bridehead, Jude's great ambition is to better himself, attend the university at Christminister, (Oxford) studying alone , friendless, for ten long years, Latin, Greek and ancient classical literature, in the small country village of impoverished Marygreen, the orphan living with an unsympathetic, cold , great-aunt, Drusilla, the spinster, she warns him about the many bad marriages in the family, not caring, but instead seeing the far distant glorious lights of the fabled city, the poor boy has the gift, but lacks money or family connections, in a class conscious society, he wouldn't be welcomed at school...Before encountering Sue, her mother dead and estranged from the father, Jude makes a tragic error in judgement , marrying the scheming, coarse, Arabella Donn, the daughter of a pig farmer, she forces him to the altar by a lie, she was in trouble... sorry , a mistake...he pursues a profession he hates, being a stonemason, having learned earlier the skill as a boy, still all his hopes, dreams, fantasies are crushed, scattered to the wind, his detested life in poverty will always be, for the would be scholar. Arabella exits, to the other side of the world, Australia, they are not compatible, no surprise, too many disagreements, and Sue enters for a short time until Mr.Richard Phillotson, Jude's old schoolmaster, mentor, in Marygreen, and only friend, gives Sue a job as a teacher in a nearby town, at the urging of Mr.Fawley, she needed the job, people are not comfortably, the cousins living together, innocently they say, especially in the Christian city of Christminister...The school instructor twenty years Sue's senior, asks her to marry him, she agrees, even as her love for Jude grows, Miss Bridehead thinks it will be for the best, into a respectable situation, live as a decent woman, and not being a burden to Jude, just one little problem arises, she loathes the kindly, thoughtful, unattractive gentleman, something makes her skin crawl, when he touches her and the feelings won't leave. Sue and Jude constantly meet, talk and kiss, the passion is there , but the complications are too . Every time Jude passes the university, on the street, his sad eyes observe, the mind wonders , the ache begins, for what might have been, he can never forget...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    3.5/5 To read of Tess or Jude? I was completely undecided, so took the action of a coin toss to decide for me. Problem, had not a penny in my pocket, so whisked out a visa card and launched it across the room. Frontside up - Tess Backside up - Jude Jude it was then... (Don't worry Tess, you will have your day!) He might have won my card toss but there is no winning in Hardy's final novel. A novel of such bleak and devastating intensity it's little wonder he finally called it a day. Stirring up a feeli 3.5/5 To read of Tess or Jude? I was completely undecided, so took the action of a coin toss to decide for me. Problem, had not a penny in my pocket, so whisked out a visa card and launched it across the room. Frontside up - Tess Backside up - Jude Jude it was then... (Don't worry Tess, you will have your day!) He might have won my card toss but there is no winning in Hardy's final novel. A novel of such bleak and devastating intensity it's little wonder he finally called it a day. Stirring up a feeling of failure and disappointment in life, the protagonist Jude Fawley is a scholarly chap who aspires from an early age to study in the university town of Christminster, situated in Hardy's fictional county of Wessex, become a clergyman, and distinguish himself in the world. But two women would enter his life, Arabella and cousin Sue, to ruin everything..... His tragic story moved me in such a way that was almost unbearable, too painful to comprehend, the light at the end of the tunnel didn't even exist. Jude is brought up by his old Aunt and is devoted to a local schoolmaster, Phillotson, and dreams of following in his footsteps after he moves to the Oxford-like town of Christminster. He builds a fantasy life for himself, and believes this is based on his entire destiny, well, that is until the selfish Arabella Donn enters the frame, followed by unhappy Sue Bridehead. What happens next?, we have murder-suicide, failed marriage, a miscarriage, deathly illness and loss of faith, could a novel be more depressing.Hardy skewers the cruelty and hypocrisy of the way society works. He shows how, even in moments when men attempt to do something about the injustice of it all, they end up merely papering over the problem so that they don’t have to see what’s amiss. I have to say it's very well written, and clearly see why Hardy is regarded so highly, you take all three central characters to heart, it's impossible not to, and his portrayal of the villages and countryside evokes such feelings within, however, I am unconvinced that Hardy’s critiques of Christianity and marriage are altogether just and reasonable, but do recognize the truth for love in the hearts of Sue and Jude, through their anguish and hopelessness, their anxiety and grief. Of the other earthy characters in it, dare I say they actually made me laugh at times, but generally any cheerfulness is on a very small level to say the least. As for Hardy’s career as a novelist, it’s a shame that he ended it so soon, he here proves himself to be one of the great creators of complex characters with emotionally devastating problems, grabbing the readers attention in a very short period of time, I didn't think it was the masterpiece some might see it as, but did leave a very strong impression on me....I even felt sorry for the Pig.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    Finally read it! This one was so often interrupted and left for dead... & I guess it was better to keep straining the eyes and pausing after glorious upon glorious sentence for better understanding. Yeah- he's one of those authors often times associated with Greatness, & with good reason. "The Return of the Native" is another interrupted and altogether discarded novel which had incredible prospects. This one rollercoasters from Dickensian beginnings (Jude the pauper and dreamer) to omnipre Finally read it! This one was so often interrupted and left for dead... & I guess it was better to keep straining the eyes and pausing after glorious upon glorious sentence for better understanding. Yeah- he's one of those authors often times associated with Greatness, & with good reason. "The Return of the Native" is another interrupted and altogether discarded novel which had incredible prospects. This one rollercoasters from Dickensian beginnings (Jude the pauper and dreamer) to omnipresent tragedy (yes--Shakespearean & modern, too). Jude is an Everyman cursed by an even larger figure: the pre-feminist minx. In the case of Jude, being associated to a woman in a then-bizarre two-in-one-ness is The Fatal Flaw. And not just to any woman: Sue Bridehead, a Bovary-ian counterpart, is ambivalent and mean and unromantic. Of course she will singlehandedly betray Jude's affections, break his heart. She is a sad drama queen, & every woman in this novel is an antagonist! There is a downfall to this modest Everyman, sure, and though it is propagated by his unfortunate mistake of falling for a BITCH, there are outside influences which too contribute to the misery that pervades. Jude is an idiot, of course, and the moral is clear, though other themes insert themselves with automatic ambition, themes such as Marriage (this book should be mandatory for anyone studying the rituals of the [dreadful:] lawful union), Christianity, Urban Sprawl, Social Decay, Shattered Dreams, Lowly Expectations. It is a difficult read, and I am happy to put it behind me. It is a sure fire classic, as grand a production as any writer can produce. I will read it again when I have more time & patience... I predict within the next ten-15 years.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    799. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure, the last completed novel by Thomas Hardy, began as a magazine serial in December 1894 and was first published in book form in 1895. Its protagonist, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man, a stonemason, who dreams of becoming a scholar. The other main character is his cousin, Sue Bridehead, who is also his central love interest. The novel is concerned in particular with issues of class, education, religion and marriage. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ر 799. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure, the last completed novel by Thomas Hardy, began as a magazine serial in December 1894 and was first published in book form in 1895. Its protagonist, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man, a stonemason, who dreams of becoming a scholar. The other main character is his cousin, Sue Bridehead, who is also his central love interest. The novel is concerned in particular with issues of class, education, religion and marriage. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نخست ماه آگوست سال 1984 میلادی جود گمنام - تامس هاردی (گل مریم / شقایق، فرهنگ نشر نو) ادبیات دو مترجم کتاب را از انگلیسی به فارسی برگردانیده اند، هر دو بسیار محترم، نخست روانشاد ابراهیم یونسی (سیروان آزاد)، نشر نو در 400 ص، چاپ نخست سال 1362، و سپس فریدون زاهدی، نشر شقایق در 600 ص، چاپ نخست سال 1372 هجری خورشیدی از کتاب ص 7، برگردان: ابراهیم یونسی رویه ­ی گندمگون مزرعه، دورتادور، به سوی آسمان تن می­کشید، و در تماس با آن، کم­ کم، در میان مهی که حاشیه را محو می­کرد، و بر تنهایی و خلوت محل می­افزود، گم می­شد. تنها چیزی که در این صحنه­ ی یکنواخت و یک شکل به چشم می­خورد، تایه ­های سال گذشته بود که در میان مزرعه سر برافراشته بودند، و کلاغانی که با نزدیک شدن او پر می­کشیدند، و نیز باریکه راه منشعب از زمین­های آیش، که از میان مزرعه می­گذشت - و او از طریق همین باریکه راه آمده بود. این باریکه راه را اکنون مردمی زیر پا می­گذاشتند، که او به زحمت می­شناخت، هرچند روزگاری، بسیاری از خویشان متوفای او بر آن، راه سپرده بودند، زیر لب گفت: «چه جای زشتی است اینجا.»؛ شیارهای مازو کشیده ­ی مزرعه، همچون میله ­های راهراه مخمل کبریتی تن می­کشیدند، و قیافه­ ای سودمند اما ناخوشایند به دشت می­دادند؛ زیر و بم و درجات تغییر حالات، آنرا از بین برده و بجز عوارض چند ماه گذشته، آنرا از کلیه ­ی آثار تاریخ عاری ساخته بودند، هرچند هر کلوخه و سنگی از آن، رشته­ ای از خاطرات و یادها را در خود نگه می­داشت: طنین آوازهایی از روزهای برداشت خرمن، از سخنان گفته شده، از کارهای سخت. هر وجب از زمین صحنه ­ی آغاز یا انجام، توش و تلاش، شادی و شادمانی، بازی­های خشن، ستیز و پرخاش، و خستگی و ملال بود. در هر مترمربعی از این زمین، گروهی از خوشه­ چینان چمبک زده بودند؛ وصلت­های مبتنی بر عشق و دلدادگی که جمعیت روستای مجاور را تشکیل می­داد، در همین جا، به هنگام درو، و بازبردن محصول به خانه، آغاز شده بود. در زیر پرچینی که این مزرعه را از کشتزار دوردست جدا می­کرد، دخترانی خود را تسلیم دلدادگانی کرده بودند که در برداشت محصول سال بعد حتی سر برنمی­گرداندند تا به لطف، نگاهی بر ایشان بیفکنند، و در همین کشتزار دراز عمر، ای بسا مردهایی که عاشقانه به زنانی وعده وصل داده بودند، که در فصل بذرپاشی بعد - آنگاه که به آن وعده ­ها در کلیسای مجاور عمل کرده بودند - از صدایشان بر خود می­لرزیدند. اما نه «جود» و نه کلاغ­هایی که در پیرامونش بودند به این چیزها توجهی نداشتند. اینجا برای آنها جایی تنها و دل آزار بود: برای یکی محل کار، و برای کلاغان جای تغذیه. پایان نقل از متن. ا. شربیانی

  9. 5 out of 5

    Magrat Ajostiernos

    Casi tenía miedo de leer Jude porque me habían vendido esta historia como un DRAMA SIN FIN, y no sé si es que me he hecho ya al estilo Hardy, pero no me ha parecido para tanto. Es cierto que resulta impactante por una serie de acontecimientos del desenlace pero no me gustaría quedarme solo con eso. Me ha parecido una novela muy crítica con la sociedad victoriana en muchísimos aspectos, con personajes muy complejos encerrados en una época en la que son incapaces de ser felices por culpa de las co Casi tenía miedo de leer Jude porque me habían vendido esta historia como un DRAMA SIN FIN, y no sé si es que me he hecho ya al estilo Hardy, pero no me ha parecido para tanto. Es cierto que resulta impactante por una serie de acontecimientos del desenlace pero no me gustaría quedarme solo con eso. Me ha parecido una novela muy crítica con la sociedad victoriana en muchísimos aspectos, con personajes muy complejos encerrados en una época en la que son incapaces de ser felices por culpa de las convenciones sociales, siendo ellos muy adelantados a su época o su país. He disfrutado de cada página por el estilo tan especial del autor y hay personajes como Sue y Arabella que me han fascinado. ***Sigo recomendando encarecidamente empezar con este autor por 'Lejos del mundanal ruido'

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dolors

    “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 “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 women are not to be trusted for their either manipulative or gullible nature. Many might easily consider Sue Bridehead, Jude’s alma mater, the major villain of this wretched story. A perverse seductress full of inessential stratagems and provocative pouts, whose tribulations ruin the lives of two good-hearted men, tantalizing them with sharp mind and incorporeal beauty. One can throw stones at this treacherous creature based on false social embodiments of love and despise her impetuous rebellion or choose to dig deeper and endure acute spiritual turmoil in an inner battle of wills between abstract ideology and constrained reality. One can focus on Sue’s ellusive actions and self-centered individualism or see her as a token of the transition between the new and the old mental frame of the semi-liberated female in Victorian society, whose entanglement in centuries of sexual enslavement and intellectual repression brings her to continuous inner conflict. One can choose to condemn those who attempt to struggle against centuries of subjection or be forgiving for the inconsistencies that define humankind and its perplexing contradictions. Because when human nature is tamed by oppressive convention or shackled by fundamentalist morality, abrupt and almost unpardonable reactions can unchain from the most emancipated and spiritually untainted individuals. “There is something external to us which says, “You shan’t” First it said, “You shan’t learn!”, Then it said, “You shan’t labour!”, Now it says, “You shan’t love!” (357) In the end, Sue’s gravest betrayal is to turn against her own convictions when her willpower fails under the pressure of social stigma and the corrosive guilt that comes from horrific calamity. Call me biased but I choose not to condemn Sue Bridehead. I choose to embrace her obscure mystery and all the ambiguity of her complex psyche instead. If Sue evokes the torn nature of humanity trapped between turbulently opposed tides, Jude’s genteel and innocent morality arises as the soothing balm for the restless soul in the still pool of rationality. Jude’s rootless origins are as inert as Marygreen, the place where he grows up as part of the emerging tradesmen class. His uncommon sensitiveness and his sense of ideal justice nurture this dreamy laborer’s aspirations to attend College in Christminster, the alluring cultural town next to Marygreen, to become a learned scholar and a man of wisdom. But the the law of nature can’t be fooled indefinitely and lofty ideals need to be confronted with animal instinct when the allure of the flesh surpasses the call of the mind. Arabella, the merciless huntress and the archetype of Victorian female in search of economic security through marriage, lures Jude into a permanent contract based “on a temporary feeling which has no necessary connection with affinities” and a marital life of shared misery leads the couple to walk their separate ways. Free from his conjugal ties, Jude starts treading the path of his dreams and moves to Christminster, where he finds work as a stonemason refurbishing the phantasmagorical walls of the same elitist Colleges that turn him down because of his humble origins. When the stagnant medievalism of Christminster’s cultural hollowness becomes evident, Jude finds in ethereal Sue the perfect substitute for his idealistic aspirations, clinging blindly to a body-and-mind consuming passion that can’t be fully reciprocated by a woman who identifies physical sexuality with submission to social convention. “We ought to have lived in mental communion, and no more”. (372) Who commits the greater sin? The sightless or the guileless? The one who clings to ghostly reflection of the idealized mirage or the one who fumbles with faltering candlelight amidst the engulfing darkness of moral hypocrisy? The devotedly religious or the unredeemed pagan? The ethical collectivist or the self-destructive individualist? The law of men might seem crueler than the law of nature but Hardy’s equally haunting and lyrical prose oozing with symbolic realism shows otherwise. Nature is as astonishing a miracle as it is an inescapable curse. Two pure doves are liberated only to be hunted down again to have their hearts ripped out to produce a fake love potion by a perfidious quack, a rabbit caught in a gin bellows in agony bleeding to a slow and agonizing death, a compassionate man dies alone with a feeble blessing on his cracked lips, a heedless woman punishes herself masochistically with a long lasting self-debasement and spiritual corruption. Only the pig is spared an excruciating suffering with a fast kill in the hands of clement Jude, whose fate won’t grant him the same luxury. Nature is the bleak mirror of doomed existence and certain obliteration. A mirror that Hardy turns around to us proving we are all characters of his dire novel and that the world is a too much obscure place for those visionaries whose ephemeral light glows ahead of their time, regardless of hollow social constraints and racking tragedy. The rawness of nature will eventually find all the characters in this novel called life and their only choice will be whether to face her with bitter damnation or with a forgiving blessing on their lips. I choose not to condemn. I choose to embrace. I choose to absolve. I choose to be merciful. What will your choice be? “But no one came. Because no one ever does.”(45)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nickolas the Kid

    Ένα πραγματικό αριστούργημα της λογοτεχνίας. Ο νατουραλιστής Τόμας Χάρντυ γράφει για την ζωή του Τζουντ, ενός φιλομαθούς και αισιόδοξου νέου στην Αγγλία του 19ου αιώνα, ο οποίος θα ερωτευθεί με πάθος την ξαδέλφη του Σου και μαζί θα βυθιστούν στο πάθος, την δυστυχία, τον κοινωνικό ρατσισμό και τον πουριτανισμό της μικρής κοινωνίας του Γουέσεξ. Μέσα λοιπόν σε αυτή την κοινωνία των ηθών θα ανθίσει ένας από τους μεγαλύτερους και πιο παθιασμένους έρωτες της λογοτεχνίας. Ένας έρωτας από την βάση του κ Ένα πραγματικό αριστούργημα της λογοτεχνίας. Ο νατουραλιστής Τόμας Χάρντυ γράφει για την ζωή του Τζουντ, ενός φιλομαθούς και αισιόδοξου νέου στην Αγγλία του 19ου αιώνα, ο οποίος θα ερωτευθεί με πάθος την ξαδέλφη του Σου και μαζί θα βυθιστούν στο πάθος, την δυστυχία, τον κοινωνικό ρατσισμό και τον πουριτανισμό της μικρής κοινωνίας του Γουέσεξ. Μέσα λοιπόν σε αυτή την κοινωνία των ηθών θα ανθίσει ένας από τους μεγαλύτερους και πιο παθιασμένους έρωτες της λογοτεχνίας. Ένας έρωτας από την βάση του καταδικασμένος, ανάμεσα σε δυο εραστές οι οποίοι προσπαθώντας να διαφυλάξουν την ακεραιότητα των ιδανικών τους, περιέρχονται σε αδιέξοδα και κατατρύχονται από τους προσωπικούς τους δαίμονες. Εξαιρετική γραφή από τον Χάρντυ που εμβαθύνει στην ανθρώπινη ψυχή των χαρακτήρων του, αφού έχει φροντίσει να τους δομήσει σωστά και με απόλυτη προσοχή. Η ροή του βιβλίου δεν σταματάει πουθενά και παρασέρνει τον αναγνώστη ενώ ταυτόχρονα τον μεταφέρει στις μικρές πόλεις και τους σιδηροδρομικούς σταθμούς όπου οι ήρωες του βιβλίου παίρνουν αποφάσεις ζωής. Θεωρώ πως ο συγγραφέας εκτός από έναν μεγάλο έρωτα έδωσε και μια από τις πιο συγκινητικές και απρόβλεπτες ανατροπές στην παγκόσμια λογοτεχνία... Πολύ καλή δουλειά της μεταφράστριας αλλά οι εκδόσεις ΝΕΦΕΛΗ θα πρέπει να είναι λίγο πιο προσεκτικοί... Η εισαγωγή στο εμπροσθόφυλλο είναι γεμάτη σπόιλερ... Φυσικά 5/5 και κάτι ακόμα!!! ΥΓ: Θα το αγαπήσουν οι φαν του Ντίκενς!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)

    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 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 Hardy sometime to write. He started with an outline in 1890, and did not complete the book until 1894. It was first published serially in Harper's New Monthly Magazine from December 1894 to November 1895, and then it was published in book form. Hardy took a lot of heat for the novel from reviewers and critics, other authors, as well as the general public. It developed a reputation as Jude the Obscene. The relentlessness and vitriol of the negative criticism caused Hardy to forsake ever writing another novel of fiction; and he spent the remaining thirty some odd years of his life concentrating on his poetry. I also want to include, at this point, a strong 'Spoiler Warning.' In crafting this review, and discussing Hardy's authorial intent, I am finding it quite impossible not to discuss some relatively important plot points and elements. Therefore, continue reading at your own peril. All I can observe is that regardless of what I can say, or what you may have heard about this novel, it is a monumentally huge novel that simply must be read by any and all students of great literature. Okay, consider yourself forewarned. In some respects, Jude the Obscure can be looked upon as the coming-of-age story of Jude Fawley. Others have postulated that it is also an anti-bildungsroman as it documents, as we shall see, the slow and torturous destruction of Jude and his ideals. Interestingly, this is the only Hardy novel, that I am aware of, that starts with the protagonist as a child and follows him through his life. In Jude the Obscure, Hardy addresses the prevailing Victorian attitudes associated with social class and standing, educational opportunities, religion, the institution of marriage, and the influence of Darwinism on modern thought. Throughout the novel, Jude, Sue Bridehead, and Arabella Donn are used by Hardy to explore and develop the all-encompassing portrait; and to some degree, indictment; of the society and time that Jude and Hardy reside in. It seems that the novel sets up an examination of the contrasts between the idealistic romanticism of the second generation poets, John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley (Hardy truly admired Shelley!), and the more modern cultural movement of social Darwinism. First and foremost, this is a novel of ideas and ideals. Jude is a sensitive young fellow, always concerned with the lot of the animals and people around him. As a child he is even dismayed at seeing trees cut down, and can't bring himself to scare away the 'rooks' (crows) that are eating the seed from a newly planted field that he's been paid to protect. Later, as an adult he is compelled to leave his bed late at night and find the rabbit, screaming with pain, that has been caught in a trap and dispatch it as an act of mercy. These are some of the first signs of Jude-the-romantic, and Jude-the-dreamer. The ideals he has formed are something really quite different from that of the world around him, and this can't bode well for him. The first third of the novel focuses on Jude's desire to become an educated man and become admitted to the great colleges of 'Christminster' (loosely modeled on Oxford) in Hardy's 'Wessex' countryside. Jude, like Hardy, is an autodidact and teaches himself Greek and Latin, and views Christminster as the "city of lights" and "where the tree of knowledge grows." Jude's romantic visions and ideals suffer a terrible blow when he is denied admittance to the colleges and is advised that "remaining in your own sphere and sticking to your trade..." is his best course of action. Idealism aside, Jude now begins to understand that his social class and standing will continue to strongly influence his future. Issues associated with Love and Marriage also dominate much of the novel's landscape, and can be quite painful to read and consider. Early on, Jude is essentially trapped into a truly disastrous marriage with the attractive, but coarse young woman, Arabella Donn, the daughter of a pig-farmer. Trust me, she can slaughter the animals that Jude cannot. Arabella's 'unique' method of introducing herself to Jude is to throw a bloody pig's penis at him as he walks by while she is cleaning and sorting the offal of a slaughtered hog! Simply put, Arabella is the 'Delilah' to Jude's 'Samson.' Jude's young cousin, Sue Bridehead, on the other hand, is at times, one of the most erudite and intellectual women of the fiction of the late-Victorian. Ethereal and fairy-like, Sue is an idealist too, but her idealism tends towards a more modern view; even though some its roots reflect that of the second generation Romantics too. For example, Sue quotes to Jude, several lines from Shelley's great poem, Epipsychidion (Three Sermons on Free Love). At first blush, it seems easy to assume that Sue endorses the Shelleyan view of 'Free Love' and not binding oneself contractually and exclusively to only one other. While Shelley meant this from the perspective of sexual gratification, Sue has developed her own brand of romantic idealism that leads her to believe that it is only the iron-clad contract (marriage) that dooms the relationship. I had to spend some time thinking about Sue and her beliefs, but I have come to the preliminary conclusion that neither she, nor Hardy, are anti-marriage, but that it is the nature of the contract of marriage in the Victorian age (i.e., with all of its trappings of submission, subjugation, and so forth) that doom its likelihood of long-term success in her view. In fact, in support of this notion, Hardy made a notebook entry in 1889, in which he writes, "Love lives on propinquity, but dies of contact." It seems that Hardy's development of the character of Sue Bridehead and the novel's storyline may reflect a portion of his own troubled relationship with his wife Emma and her increasing religious beliefs through the years of their own marriage. Also, it may well be that Sue's character reflects a bit of Hardy's cousin, Tryphena Sparks, a woman that he is rumored to have had an affair with in 1868, and who later died in 1890. Hardy, in the Preface to the 1895 edition of Jude, stated that the novel was partly inspired "by the death of a woman" in 1890. Even though Sue Bridehead bears children with Jude, sexual relations and intimacy remains a very difficult proposition for her. For example, when married to her first husband, Richard Phillotson, she is startled awake by him entering her bedroom absentmindedly (they slept in separate rooms), and she leaps from a second story window into the night rather than sleep with him! Again, much of the time she is with Jude, they also sleep in separate bedrooms, which has the effect of keeping Jude's passions for her quite 'hot'. This is not, however, the romantic ideal of the loving wife and life-mate that Jude has envisioned for his dear Sue though. It is also not the picture of romantic idealism for Sue either, as she is truly looking for a partner through which she can fully experience Love's spiritual and intellectual bonds, and not just the contractual or the sexual. Toward the end of the novel there occurs such a shocking event that finally and irrevocably alters the lives of Jude and Sue, and largely severs their tenuous emotional and spiritual bonds to one another. The romantic ideals of both are smashed hopelessly and simply cannot be reassembled. Modernization has come and displaced the old world romanticism of Jude Fawley and Thomas Hardy. Jude-the-Dreamer and Jude-the-Idealist have no place in this new order, because to transcend to his ideals means that he must die as Keats and Shelley so eloquently discovered. Unfortunately for Jude, even Arabella is present to witness his final suffering and agony. Jude's story has become, in a very real sense Hardy's modern retelling of the 'Book of Job.' [Note the word play too -- the "J" from 'Jude' and the "Ob" from 'Obscure':] As I said above, I have a sense that I have probably only just scratched the surface of this titanic novel, and that there is much, much more to glean. It is full of allusion and metaphor, and rife with biblical references and nods to Hardy's literary ancestors, Milton, Wordsworth, and Shelley. Before I tackle Jude again, or re-read any of his other novels for that matter, I want to first read Claire Tomalin's recent biography, Thomas Hardy (2006); Rosemarie Morgan's Women and Sexuality in the Novels of Thomas Hardy (1988); and also delve into Thomas Hardy: The Complete Poems (1981), edited by James Gibson. Read this novel! When you are through, let me know; for I'd love to discuss it with you and see what you think too. Five out of five stars for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    Read this if you're looking for that final push towards suicide.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    This is a review shrouded in misery and gloom, a meditation on life’s sadness and bleakness. Let those who read this derive their little satisfaction from the beauty that we sometimes discern springing from the melancholy, otherwise one should not partake this endeavor at all. Happy Halloween? Sometimes in the morning, I wake up and ask myself “why carry on?” Sometimes you’re filled with this immense pressure and wish to just stay lying in bed forever. Sometimes people tell themselves that they’ This is a review shrouded in misery and gloom, a meditation on life’s sadness and bleakness. Let those who read this derive their little satisfaction from the beauty that we sometimes discern springing from the melancholy, otherwise one should not partake this endeavor at all. Happy Halloween? Sometimes in the morning, I wake up and ask myself “why carry on?” Sometimes you’re filled with this immense pressure and wish to just stay lying in bed forever. Sometimes people tell themselves that they’re tired of everything. Sometimes we just give up. Jude the Obscure is a book for those some. Thomas Hardy’s final masterpiece is a beautiful and tragic tale of what reality is and what it means to love and to dream. Our hero or victim, whichever light you choose to see him, Jude, finds misfortune in Hardy’s Wessex due to a love that does not adhere to society, and a dream that is crushed by it. Jude is a dreamer, an orphan, and a pauper, the worst combination in a man. It is as if, from the very beginning, his life was meant for sadness. He does suffer, and he endures much. “Somebody might have come along that way who would have asked him his trouble, and might have cheered him by saying that his notions were further advanced than those of his grammarian. But nobody did come, because nobody does; and under the crushing recognition of his gigantic error Jude continued to wish himself out of the world.” It is irresponsible to talk about Jude and ignore one of its central themes, marriage and divorce. “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.” Personally, I have always taken a pro-choice stance in this matter. Coming from a Christian country where divorce is not legalized, I am aware that people refer to the option of divorce as a smear to the sanctity of marriage. However, I’m inclined to believe that people are not all Christians and that whatever people choose to practice and believe should be respected. Let love shared be through and torn upon the whims of the two involved and no one else. Jude and Sue, visionaries ahead of their generation, were meant to suffer for a belief that reflected the encroachment of the modern, developing world on the traditions of rural England. Like Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton before them harbingers of change are always burdened with the wrath of the world. They are sacrificial lambs to mark the dawn of a better era, doomed pigs slowly bled to death at the cruel hands of the unmerciful world. “But his dreams were as gigantic as his surroundings were small.” Jude’s unrealized dream of going to the university and being a scholar or vicar through the great halls of the Christminster colleges reflects Hardy’s critique of the institutions of higher learning and his compassion for rural England’s underprivileged. A view inspired by real life events in Hardy's life that reflects this world’s defectiveness. Let me now talk about the relationship between Sue, Jude and Phillotson. I have always discerned that there is much allegory in Thomas Hardy’s writing and here I see one as well. A lot of readers do not understand why Sue, one of literature’s greatest female figures, one of such intellect would be able to abandon Jude and succumb to society’s creed and return to Phillotson. I see it as thus, Sue is Hardy’s representation of the intellectuals. She is smart, young, beautiful, unaffected by creed. Sue must choose between Jude and Phillotson. This represents an intellectual’s choice between dreams and reality. Jude represents the intellectual’s noble dreams. A man who dreams of learning, of mastery, of changing the world, of sacrificing one’s self for the good of all. While Phillotson represents reality, he who has given up on his dreams and has settled himself into a conceded position. Sue at first chooses Jude, for like young scholars, we all in our youth pursue noble ambitions and dreams of grandeur. But social order affects and time flies, people are forced to turn to reality, and thus Sue leaves Jude for Phillotson no matter how she detests it. In the end, we all leave our dreams and settle into this reality we face. “I am in a chaos of principles—groping in the dark—acting by instinct and not after example. When I came here first, I had a neat stock of fixed opinions, but they dropped away one by one; and the further I get the less sure I am. I doubt if I have anything more for my present rule of life than following inclinations which do me and nobody else any harm, and actually give pleasure to those I love best. There, gentlemen, since you wanted to know how I was getting on, I have told you. Much good may it do you! I cannot explain further here. I perceive there is something wrong somewhere in our social formulas: what it is can only be discovered by men or women with greater insight than mine--if, indeed, they ever discover it-- at least in our time. 'For who knoweth what is good for man in this life?--and who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?” Somehow I find myself agreeing to this particular nugget from the novel. As I age, I realize that I believe less and less in worldviews and ideas which when I was younger, I was quite passionate about. Now I would not bother much with noble things like religion, social democracy, world peace, nationalism, and even justice. Do not get me wrong, I admire these social constructs but I do not consider them as a something I can devote my life to. I am of their cause, but now I am a pragmatic. I am a selfish cynic with nothing but my own satisfaction in mind. Let the innocent devote their lives to their grand causes, let me not suffer. For my field of vision is getting narrower as time passes and darkness consumes. For like Sue, I have abandoned Jude and have commingled with Phillotson. “Jude continued his walk homeward alone, pondering so deeply that he forgot to feel timid. He suddenly grew older. It had been the yearning of his heart to find something to anchor on, to cling to—for some place which he could call admirable. Should he find that place in this city if he could get there? Would it be a spot in which, without fear of farmers, or hindrance, or ridicule, he could watch and wait, and set himself to some mighty undertaking like the men of old of whom he had heard? As the halo had been to his eyes when gazing at it a quarter of an hour earlier, so was the spot mentally to him as he pursued his dark way.” “As you got older, and felt yourself to be at the center of your time, and not at a point in its circumference, as you had felt when you were little, you were seized with a sort of shuddering, he perceived. All around you there seemed to be something glaring, garish, rattling, and the noises and glares hit upon the little cell called your life, and shook it, and warped it.” In the end we all stop dreaming and we face this reality. But let us not give up no matter how dreary things may seem. For every failure is a victory against hopelessness, every slip-up a success against utter defeat, every mistake a light unto the inevitable darkness, and every fall a cry of rebellion against this life that only brings disappointments saying “you will not tear me down, not yet.” We try, and we try again for it is the only thing we can do. For to hope is human, and to suffer more so. And though in the end we are all defeated by ‘that final dreamless sleep’ called death, we can at least cling to those little triumphs of fortitude along the way.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    He began to see that the town was a book of humanity infinitely more palpitating, varied, and compendious than the gown life. These struggling men and women before him were the reality of Christminister, though they knew little about Christ or Minister. That was one of the humours of things. The floating population of students and teachers, who did know both in a way,were not Christminister in a local sense at all. The above quote really reminds me of my university town for my B .Ed program. T He began to see that the town was a book of humanity infinitely more palpitating, varied, and compendious than the gown life. These struggling men and women before him were the reality of Christminister, though they knew little about Christ or Minister. That was one of the humours of things. The floating population of students and teachers, who did know both in a way,were not Christminister in a local sense at all. The above quote really reminds me of my university town for my B .Ed program. The population was quiet in summer, but managed to triple in the fall. But I digress.... A number of years ago, I was sitting on a train discussing books with a fellow English teacher. I told her that I recently had "discovered" Thomas Hardy and was left emotionally drained by Tess of the D'Ubervilles. She then asked me "Have you read Hardy's "Jude the Obscure?" I confessed that I hadn't. She smiled and told me not to forget about it. I did go on to read many of Hardy's books, such as; Far from the Madding Crowd, The Woodlanders, and The Return of the Native. However,"Jude" remained in my TBR pile crying out to be read. I just wasn't listening. Well, I FINALLY decided that March Break 2016 was the time to get into it. Boy, am I glad that I did! Jude Fawley, an orphan, raised by his elderly aunt is growing up in a small English village. His life at first glance,appears to be nothing special nor any different than any other young boy. However, when our story opens the village schoolmaster, Richard Philliston(who I kept calling Philistine)is packing up to move to the larger centre of Christminister. No one is more devastated than young Jude, who has come to appreciate the pleasure of books. Jude dreams of one day also being able to make his way to this place of higher learning and applies the remainder of his youthful pursuits to reading Greek, Latin, and other classical texts. Jude, we also see is no stranger to hard work and applies himself to an apprenticeship. Things seem to be be leading Jude to make his dreams come true. Except that Jude meets Arabella Donn. A young woman who sees the innocent Jude as a potential husband. Hardy presents Arabella as an opportunistic and cunning woman who takes advantage of the good natured Jude, who does fall head over heels with youthful affection. In fact, it's Arabella's female friends that guide Arabella in how to ensnare Jude into matrimony. Just like all the soap opera characters, Arabella announces that she's pregnant and Jude does the noble thing and marries her. It is not too long after that Arabella reveals her fib and the young couple almost appears to drown in their misery. Married life seems to plod along and both wonder what's to become of it. Until Arabella leaves Jude behind and emigrates to Australia. Keep in mind they're still married. Oh, and we will meet up with Arabella again! Jude, not wanting to stay in a town that knows his story sets out for Christminister. Before his departure his aunt cautions Jude to not contact his cousin, Sue, who lives in that city. It is revealed that there is a history between the two families and that no good would ever come of the two young people being friends or more. Of course, Jude and Sue do meet and discover a mutual attraction to one another. Over a matter of years, their relationship will evolve from friend to lovers. Both the characters and readers will be sent on a very emotional roller coaster taking place over a number of years. I won't say anything more regarding all the details. But like its predecessor, "Tess", this book isn't going to have a Walt Disney ending. So why read it? First, it's the last book Hardy ever wrote and coupled with Tess, the most controversial books that he wrote. Who doesn't like a little controversy? The 19th century was pretty shaken up by Hardy's flexible manner on marriage, religious beliefs, sexuality, class division, access to education, etc. Although we like to consider ourselves further evolved than the Victorians, there is plenty of what Hardy discusses then that is incredibly relevant today. Second, Hardy's characterization of men and women is multi-faceted. Hardy doesn't expect us to like his characters in everything they do. Hardy just allows them to be who they are. I knew from the moment that Jude was warned about Sue, I was going to be sitting up and paying attention to every detail. I grew fearful and irritated,but not always at the same time. "Jude the Obscure" is definitely worthwhile reading, especially if you're in search of dialogue and not just happy endings. Is it wrong,Jude, for a husband or wife to tell a third person that they are unhappy in their marriage? If a marriage is a religious thing,it is possibly wrong; but if it is only a sordid contract, based on material convenience to householding, rating, and taxing, and the inheritance of land and money by children, making it necessary that the male parent should be known- which it seems to be - why surely a person may say, even proclaim upon the housetops, that it hurts and grieves him or her?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    My uncle called me from France because he'd heard third-hand that I was about to read Jude the Obscure and he felt he needed to warn me away from it. I was going through a divorce; he felt that I was too fragile for Jude. He was trying to save me, like warning your friend who just got out of traction against dirtbiking down the Matterhorn. This is the bleakest book from the bleakest author, a serious contender for Bleakest Book Ever Written, a book so dire that almost everyone hated it when it c My uncle called me from France because he'd heard third-hand that I was about to read Jude the Obscure and he felt he needed to warn me away from it. I was going through a divorce; he felt that I was too fragile for Jude. He was trying to save me, like warning your friend who just got out of traction against dirtbiking down the Matterhorn. This is the bleakest book from the bleakest author, a serious contender for Bleakest Book Ever Written, a book so dire that almost everyone hated it when it came out, not just hated it but were furious at Thomas Hardy for producing it; their response was so vitriolic that he never wrote a novel again. Hardy in order of bleakness Less bleak Return of the Native Far From the Madding Crowd Mayor of Casterbridge Tess of the D'Urbervilles Jude the Obscure Most bleak I mean, it turns out that one of the messages of the book is that one shouldn't stay in a marriage that's not the right marriage, so from a certain perspective, what's the problem, right? One of the other messages is "But society will beat you down no matter what you do, and then everyone dies alone and miserable," so I guess there's that. Hardy was a free thinker, a realist and a radical. Like Dickens, he was concerned with the lives of the poor - rural poor, mostly, as opposed to Dickens' London poor. He was pro-women's rights. He was some weird homebrewed species of agnostic. Sue Bridehead is a fascinating, complicated character: skeptical, rebellious, self-destructive. (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] Hardy has this flair for vivid scenes. At one point two characters break up, and the whole thing is carried out via notes passed by schoolboys between classrooms. It's fantastic. He's melodramatic and overwrought and super entertaining, even at his most depressive, which, again, is right here in this book. It's either this or King Lear for Bleakest Book Ever. I don't know what my uncle was so worried about, I thought it was great.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    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 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 disclosure, I read Jude the Obscure in college and honestly remember little about this book, except for the warm fuzzy sensation I got when I finished it: a wonderful, comforting feeling that wrapped all around me, like the soft yellow blanket my grandma knitted for me when I was a baby. A special, safe feeling like I knew no matter what happened in anyone's life, things would eventually work themselves out just fine. And isn't that truly why we read literature? For such comfort and solace in an uncertain world? If you love stories of working-class heroes and close loving families fighting hard in the face of adversity to triumph in the end over all obstacles, this book is for you. Have fun!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alok Mishra

    I will certainly call it Hardy's Masterpiece as he designed it in a way that it posed a serious challenge to the society at that time. Later, though, denied the due for his artistic intelligence, the author had to shun the writing (many believe so). Jude, whatever be said by whoever, is a character who is sincere and honest and brave enough to accept what is thrown at him as a challenge, could not defeat the society and today, we have overcome that. When Shakespeare said that love knows no bound I will certainly call it Hardy's Masterpiece as he designed it in a way that it posed a serious challenge to the society at that time. Later, though, denied the due for his artistic intelligence, the author had to shun the writing (many believe so). Jude, whatever be said by whoever, is a character who is sincere and honest and brave enough to accept what is thrown at him as a challenge, could not defeat the society and today, we have overcome that. When Shakespeare said that love knows no bound and east can overturn itself into the direction where Juliet be, why deny Jude his Sue! I loved reading this novel and I liked the idea of getting out of the Hardian shelf and writing something unHardy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    FotisK

    Η τέχνη δεν αποστρέφεται το έρεβος, τουναντίον εμπνέεται από αυτό. Ενίοτε μάλιστα, το επικαλείται, και με χειρουργική σχολαστικότητα φέρνει στην επιφάνεια της τυπωμένης σελίδας όλα όσα οι άνθρωποι επιχειρούν να αποκρύψουν από τον εαυτό τους και τους άλλους. Το σκότος είναι η αφορμή, η Λογοτεχνία είναι το αποτέλεσμα και ο Hardy ο Ιεροφάντης στο αριστουργηματικό αυτό βιβλίο. Δεινός τεχνίτης, ανασκάπτει και ομφαλοσκοπεί, ρίπτοντας όποτε προκύψει ανάγκη τα "άγια τοις κυσί", αφήνοντας τον τραγικό του Η τέχνη δεν αποστρέφεται το έρεβος, τουναντίον εμπνέεται από αυτό. Ενίοτε μάλιστα, το επικαλείται, και με χειρουργική σχολαστικότητα φέρνει στην επιφάνεια της τυπωμένης σελίδας όλα όσα οι άνθρωποι επιχειρούν να αποκρύψουν από τον εαυτό τους και τους άλλους. Το σκότος είναι η αφορμή, η Λογοτεχνία είναι το αποτέλεσμα και ο Hardy ο Ιεροφάντης στο αριστουργηματικό αυτό βιβλίο. Δεινός τεχνίτης, ανασκάπτει και ομφαλοσκοπεί, ρίπτοντας όποτε προκύψει ανάγκη τα "άγια τοις κυσί", αφήνοντας τον τραγικό του ήρωα να κυλιέται στις στάχτες του υπαρξιακού angst, στο δράμα της απώλειας, αρδεύοντας με αυτά τα υλικά το "δέντρο της Λογοτεχνίας". Η ιστορία του Τζουντ μετατρέπεται αυθωρεί σε ύψιστο δείγμα αφηγηματικής τέχνης, οδηγώντας τον αναγνώστη σε κέλευθο οδυνηρή, θεσπέσια μυσταγωγική και εν τέλει λυτρωτική. Εκεί που ενοικεί το σκότος, αναμέλπεται η Τέχνη. Και εμείς κοινωνούμε εκστατικοί.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    “Hey Jude, don't be afraid You were made to go out and get her The minute you let her under your skin Then you begin to make it better” I would caution anyone against taking romantic advice from Sir Paul McCartney, splendid music legend that he is. This is especially true for a Thomas Hardy protagonist. Certainly Jude Fawley did let a certain lady under his skin and proceeds to make things much worse (spoiler? Hardly, Thomas Hardy’s protagonists are not in the habit of making things better). If you “Hey Jude, don't be afraid You were made to go out and get her The minute you let her under your skin Then you begin to make it better” I would caution anyone against taking romantic advice from Sir Paul McCartney, splendid music legend that he is. This is especially true for a Thomas Hardy protagonist. Certainly Jude Fawley did let a certain lady under his skin and proceeds to make things much worse (spoiler? Hardly, Thomas Hardy’s protagonists are not in the habit of making things better). If you are interested in reading a Thomas Hardy’s novel, but his reputation as a writer of bleak and tragic novels makes you feel reluctant to try one then Jude the Obscure is not for you. Read Far From the Madding Crowd instead, that is a comparatively positive book not dominated by tragedy. The opening chapter of the book depicts a poor little orphan boy bidding farewell to his favorite schoolteacher who is moving to another town nearby. In most novels you would expect this to be the beginning of a rags-to-riches story, but with Hardy you can reasonably expect rags-to-even-more-rags (sorry about the hyphens, they seem to be required for some reason). Jude is a very appealing protagonist, a poor stonemason who wants to advance himself above his given social situation through obtaining higher education. Unfortunately, he is "knocked about from pillar to post" by the social mores of the time (no opening in academia for poor plebeian types), and he also stacks the odds higher against himself by getting involved with unsuitable women who completely derail his life plan. First Arabella, a manipulative and scheming woman whose special talent is creating faux-dimples on her chubby cheeks*. When she departs for greener pastures Jude attempts to get back on track is foiled by his own lust for his cousin Sue Bridehead. Sue is a great girl actually but at least a century before her time in outlook, especially with her willingness to “live in sin” in spite of the social norm. Both Jude and Sue are very likable, complex and sympathetic characters but you must try very hard not to like them because their situation goes from bad to worst, and even make a pit stop at horrifying. Hardy’s prose is as awe-inspiring as ever and there are loads of pithy bits you can quote out of context at parties. I feel I ought to put in a "but" at this point but I can't think of any reservation to follow it with. If you are up for a heartfelt critique of societal norms through a tragic love story that makes you reflect on the unfairness of life (or if you are a goth) then this book is definitely for you. __________________ * As well as being a hiss-boo antagonist Arabella is also the book's sole comic relief with her dimples manufacturing. Audiobook credit: I listened to the free Librivox audiobook version, beautifully and passionately read by "Tadhg". Thank you! Whovian Corner (Hi Cecily!): Christopher Eccleston as Jude Fawley. FANTASTIC!

  21. 5 out of 5

    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. 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. Their behavior cannot be seen as a just criticism of the inflexible morals, rules and beliefs. A better criticism would have been achieved through more stable characters. I have nothing against depressing books, but this is excessively depressing and frustrating beyond words since the characters cannot make up their mind. Talk about vacillation! It was tiring to see how they make a decision and then changed their minds, not once, but over and over again. Yes, such rigid institutions can force people into craziness, but not to the extent portrayed here. These people would not even be happy in less restrictive times, and thus Hardy's message loses impact. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Stephen Thorne. I was not pleased with the women's voices, and you could not tell who was speaking. The tone was disagreeable, but so were the characters. I liked Jude, but felt such pity for him. It is hard to see a man so crushed by life, and his choice of women could not have been worse. I might try another book by Hardy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    César Lasso

    De un pesimismo atroz, Hardy ataca en esta novela la convención social del matrimonio (enfrentado al “matrimonio natural” de las parejas de hecho), la hipocresía de la religión y otros temas como la dificultad, en época del autor, de que un hombre sin recursos hiciera una carrera universitaria. La novela fue un escándalo en su tiempo, tachada de inmoral, y el revuelo que produjo motivó que Hardy, escarmentado, dejara de escribir novelas en los 33 años que todavía vivió tras su publicación. La his De un pesimismo atroz, Hardy ataca en esta novela la convención social del matrimonio (enfrentado al “matrimonio natural” de las parejas de hecho), la hipocresía de la religión y otros temas como la dificultad, en época del autor, de que un hombre sin recursos hiciera una carrera universitaria. La novela fue un escándalo en su tiempo, tachada de inmoral, y el revuelo que produjo motivó que Hardy, escarmentado, dejara de escribir novelas en los 33 años que todavía vivió tras su publicación. La historia describe el lapso de vida de Jude desde sus diez años de edad hasta aproximadamente los treinta. Se trata de un niño bueno que no soporta su trabajo en el campo espantando grajos de los sembrados (porque considera que los pájaros también tienen derecho a comer) y que camina con cuidado de no pisar gusanos. Un niño de una sensibilidad que el mundo cruel e hipócrita irá atormentando a medida que crece. Uno de los sueños de Jude es entrar en la universidad. Estudia como un loco de forma autodidacta, pero su sueño se verá frustrado. El primer contratiempo es que una aldeana le tiende un lazo, de forma no demasiado honesta, y él terminará mal casado. Posteriormente su mujer le abandona, pero Jude ya está casado a ojos de la sociedad cuando conoce y se enamora de su prima Sue. Como Sue se entera de que Jude está casado, ella acaba por casarse con Phillotson, el antiguo maestro de escuela de Jude. Sue tampoco será feliz en su matrimonio. Finalmente, Sue abandona a su marido y acaba juntándose a Jude. Ambos luchan por sus respectivos divorcios, por lo civil, porque piensan que, a los ojos de la Iglesia, ya están respectivamente casados con otras parejas. Finalmente consiguen sus divorcios, pero no se deciden a casarse entre sí. A los ojos de la sociedad serán adúlteros, y tendrán problemas como no encontrar alojamiento cuando se sospeche que no son matrimonio. Algo parecido sigue ocurriendo hoy día en mi querido Marruecos: si viajo con una mujer occidental, encontraré habitación en un hotel, pero si viajo solo y quiero llevar a una mujer marroquí a mi cuarto, me lo impedirán en recepción. No quiero revelar mucho más de la trama para no arruinar el placer de futuros lectores. Me basta con haber dicho que este libro es un ataque contra la institución del matrimonio. Un pasaje que me hizo gracia fue cuando Jude, después de volver con su primera esposa, despierta sospechas en su casero de que en realidad no están casados y se dispone a echarlos. Pero el casero, cuando está a punto de hacerlo, oye detrás de la puerta que están discutiendo amargamente y que ella le arroja un zapato a la cabeza. Entonces, el hombre decide que eso tiene todas las apariencias de un matrimonio normal y se abstiene de expulsarlos. En cuanto a las ideas del autor, me da la sensación de que, por muy avanzado que estuviera con respecto a su tiempo, consideraba a la mujer algo así como menor de edad. Véase un párrafo que describe a las jóvenes internas en un colegio: Cada uno de ellos [sus tiernos rostros femeninos] reflejaba la sentencia «Debilidad» como la pena que debía soportar el sexo al que pertenecía, que de ningún modo podía ser fuerte por grandes que fueran los esfuerzos de sus facultades y de sus voluntariosos corazones, mientras las leyes inexorables de la naturaleza siguieran siendo las mismas. La estética de Hardy bebe de las fuentes del Naturalismo. Véase el siguiente párrafo en el que Jude, el enamorado, tiene que hacer una revelación a Sue: Estaban junto al edificio del mercado. Era el único lugar conveniente, y entraron; el mercado había terminado; los puestos y los corredores estaban vacíos. Él habría preferido un sitio más agradable; pero, como casi siempre suele suceder, en vez de hablar en un romántico prado o en un templo solemne, tuvo que hacerlo mientras paseaban arriba y abajo por un piso sucio de hojas de col podridas, en medio de toda la inmundicia de las verduras estropeadas, desechadas por invendibles. Empezó y terminó su breve relato, limitándose a contarle que se había casado unos años antes y que su mujer vivía aún. El libro es un ataque contra ciertas convenciones sociales: En cuanto a salir juntos como hasta ahora, en plan de amigos, la gente de nuestro alrededor va a hacer que sea también imposible. Sus ideas sobre las relaciones entre hombre y mujer son muy limitadas, como lo prueba el que me hayan echado de la Escuela Normal. Crítica de la religión: …una religión en la que el amor sexual estaba considerado en el mejor de los casos como una flaqueza y, en el peor, como una maldición. Cuestionamiento de la institución del matrimonio: ¡Yo no tenía la más remota idea (porque he vivido alejado de las mujeres durante bastantes años) de que el hecho de llevar a una mujer al altar y ponerle un anillo en el dedo pudiera acarrearle a uno esa tragedia diaria, continua, que compartimos ella y yo ahora! Determinismo que oprime la libertad del hombre: Porque hay una nube que se cierne sobre nosotros; «¡aunque no hemos ofendido a ningún hombre, ni hemos corrompido a ningún hombre, ni hemos engañado a ningún hombre!». Sino que hemos «hecho lo que era justo a nuestros propios ojos» Tu fracaso en la vida, si es que has fracasado, más bien te enaltece. Recuerda que los mejores y más grandes de la humanidad son aquellos que no triunfan en el mundo. Todo hombre que alcanza el éxito es más o menos egoísta. El abnegado fracasa… «La caridad no pretende su propio bien». Una sorpresa para mí con respecto a la Iglesia anglicana, que se originó por la necesidad que tuvo Enrique VIII de divorciarse y separarse de Roma. Yo habría pensado que el divorcio era más fácil en el anglicanismo: «La Iglesia no reconoce el divorcio en su dogma, hablando estrictamente —dice—, y tenga siempre presente las palabras de los Santos Oficios: Lo que Dios ha atado, ningún hombre puede desatar». Y el desesperado intento de liberarse de las trabas que la vida nos va imponiendo, y que en Hardy nunca encuentra la pretendida liberación: Los dos hemos vuelto a casarnos de una manera disparatada. A mí me emborracharon para llevarme ante el cura. Y a ti te pasó lo mismo. Yo estaba borracho de bebida y tú, de religión. Las dos formas de embriaguez hacen que se emboten los más nobles ideales… ¡Arrojemos a un lado nuestros errores y huyamos juntos!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Richards

    This is such a bleak read but also a very interesting one. Religion, morals, class; they are all in this book. I enjoyed the story but found it hard to really connect with anyone and therefore it didn`t really touch me like it should have. I also found Sue to be one of the most annoying characters ever created! Tess remains my favourite Hardy book. This is such a bleak read but also a very interesting one. Religion, morals, class; they are all in this book. I enjoyed the story but found it hard to really connect with anyone and therefore it didn`t really touch me like it should have. I also found Sue to be one of the most annoying characters ever created! Tess remains my favourite Hardy book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Catching up on classics group read Jude is just pitiful. Talk about victims of the times. Good lord! He and sue were way ahead of the period. No way could they ever live happily. And so, so poor. I appreciated his love of learning and books, but it's like so many people nowadays who have to pick between education or food on the table. What surprised me was that I didn't immediately fall in love with the text like I usually do with a Hardy story. Instead he kept it even keel then PUNCHED me in the Catching up on classics group read Jude is just pitiful. Talk about victims of the times. Good lord! He and sue were way ahead of the period. No way could they ever live happily. And so, so poor. I appreciated his love of learning and books, but it's like so many people nowadays who have to pick between education or food on the table. What surprised me was that I didn't immediately fall in love with the text like I usually do with a Hardy story. Instead he kept it even keel then PUNCHED me in the gut. Thanks, Thomas

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    2.5/5 I am not a man who wants to save himself at the expense of the weaker among us! A word of advice to wannabe novelists: don't build a sob story character on the backs of far more desperate plot lines. In the effort of making a single complex portrait that seeks to inspire empathetic commiseration, you run the risk of using tropes as buffering without giving them their due. Now, one can write a work of some quality without deity level insight à la Evans/Eliot and such, but that requires stre 2.5/5 I am not a man who wants to save himself at the expense of the weaker among us! A word of advice to wannabe novelists: don't build a sob story character on the backs of far more desperate plot lines. In the effort of making a single complex portrait that seeks to inspire empathetic commiseration, you run the risk of using tropes as buffering without giving them their due. Now, one can write a work of some quality without deity level insight à la Evans/Eliot and such, but that requires strengths and minimal screwing ups in the other areas of fiction. Saturated melodrama, shoddy dialogue, and a message of main character far more interested in (him/it)self than any of the other cultivated personas makes for a sentimentality that shuns the majority of the audience that would give it humanity's power. Obviously, enough of the audience raises this up, judging from the novel's status as a classic, but it is not likely to survive as long as several of its kin. Still, Sue, it is no worse for the woman than for the man. That's what some women fail to see, and instead of protesting against the conditions they protest against the man, the other victim; just as a woman in a crowd will abuse the man who crushes against her, when he is only the helpless transmitter of the pressure put upon him. The world may one day reach the state described in the quote above, but it was not that way then, and it is not that way now. Where Jude cannot enter the university because of poverty, Sue cannot enter because of her existence. Where Jude cannot find an equal out of misguided ideals, she cannot find one because of socialized expectations of selling her body for every survival in life. Whereas Jude has problems of inconclusive education and a poorly paid career, Sue has a complete cutting off from patriarchal support, a world that does not want what she, as a she, has to give, and an inherent lack of infrastructure when it comes to picturing her self outside the boundaries of domesticity, religion, and sexual assault. Couple this with Jude's constant adherence to double standards in their conversation and you get what is to be expected: permanent anxiety, defense mechanisms that pay no heed to the laws of man, and a final breakdown that cannot be understood by any who are accustomed to seeing themselves in the annals of history and the halls of excellence. Hardy portrayed enough for conjecture's sake, but he was not interested in the reality of the situation beyond what it offered for dramatic effect. Sue was two steps away from being a madwoman in the attic, and her Wide Sargasso Sea was not Hardy's to tell. Don't abandon me to them, Sue, to save your own soul only! I will admit to searching here for a variation on the theme of Stoner; not out of hope of finding another favorite, for my tastes have changed enough in the last year and a half that a second reading of Williams would result in a less enamored me, but of critiquing a familiarity. Both works focus on a single white male (academic) soul playing on a backdrop of father figures, love interests, and progeny, but only one pays a serious measure of attention to these background souls beyond the strengths they offer as emotive filler. In addition, when Stoner indulges in philosophical contemplation, it does not parody itself, nor does it lazily balance with Madonna/Whore complexes and extraneous prophesies more fit for penny dreadfuls than calamitous relationships. A certain type may find refuge in Jude, as it seems many have done; but not all are of that type. I still have Far from the Madding Crowd on hand. It shall be saved for a few decades farther into the future, when I will be able to view it from a different generational perspective.

  26. 4 out of 5

    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. 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. I listened to an audiobook edition narrated by Stephen Thorne. The narration was excellent. Unlike most male narrators I've listened to, Thorne does a very good job with young female voices. The Jude of the title is Jude Fawley, a sensitive orphan with a passion for learning who grows up to become a stonemason. Jude dreams of becoming a scholar at Christminster - Hardy's version of Oxford. The narrative centres on his relationship with two women: the earthy and resilient Arabella Don and the intellectual and ethereal Sue Bridehead, whom Jude sees as his soulmate. The novel is also an impassioned critique of Victorian attitudes towards religion, marriage and sexual morality. The views which Hardy has Jude and Sue express concerning these particular issues put the author well ahead of his time - something which Hardy overtly refers to in the text on more than one occasion. Jude is like the biblical Job, a parallel which Hardy makes explicit by having Jude recite from the Book of Job towards the end of the novel. Put briefly, nothing goes right for Jude and when things go wrong, they go badly wrong. My heart ached for him, although to some extent the tragedy is so relentless that my response to how Jude was affected was numbed. I had a sneaking admiration for the unappealing Arabella, who at least knew what she wanted and went after it with gusto. Sue, on the other hand, enraged me for most of the novel with her inconsistency and her inability to engage on an emotional level. But she is a brilliant, complex character and it's difficult not to feel her pain. Let's face it, this is not a book to read if you're feeling down. On the other hand, contemplating the misery of Jude Fawley's life might make you feel that your lot in life is not so bad after all. I've given this 4-1/2 rather than five stars because at times I felt that the message of the novel overwhelmed the characters. However, it's still an amazing read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Martine

    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 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 told that the ambitious stone mason Jude is a 'purblind, simple creature' whose scandalous relationship with his free-spirited cousin Sure is doomed to fail because Sue is an 'ethereal, fine-nerved, sensitive girl, quite unfitted by temperament and instinct to fulfil the conditions of the matrimonial relation ... possibly with scarce any man' (subtle foreshadowing, that) and who, for all her modern ideas, doesn't 'have the courage of [her] views', as she helpfully informs Jude (and the reader) in one of the many dialogues in which her character is discussed at length. Hardy spends so much time spelling out his protagonists' psychological quirks (usually in the form of dialogue) that it borders on the absurd. As a lazy twenty-something reader, I loved this tendency of his (it even struck me as very good characterisation), but when I reread the book last weekend, I wanted to find myself a time machine, head for 1893 and hand Hardy the OED page on which the concept of subtlety is explained, as well as a plaque reminding him to 'Show, Don't Tell', to be put over his writing desk and memorised afresh before each new chapter. Seriously. The characterisation is that overblown. Hardy's tendency to beat his reader over the head with psychological insights is not the only thing about Jude the Obscure which would make a modern creative writing teacher reach for his red pen. The author also makes the mistake of adding a child to the story who talks and behaves as no other child has ever been known to. His unlikely inclusion and the even more unlikely resolution to his storyline are so preposterously overdramatic and sentimental that they ruin what could have been a very good story despite all its flaws. For make no mistake, there's a good story hidden in there somewhere. There's some genuine tragedy in this tale about a man who keeps making the same mistakes, a woman who is emotionally incapable of love, and a cruel society which will neither allow them to make their dreams come true nor condone any impropriety. As an indictment of Victorian marriage laws and social intolerance, Jude the Obscure is quite effective (it caused an outrage on its initial publication, and understandably so; one can only wonder what the irate Victorian audience would have made of the uncensored draft of the book, which contained even more offensive scenes). As a requiem to dreams, an exploration of happiness versus duty and a lesson not to get side-tracked from one's dreams by false sentiments, it's a powerful read -- or so it would be if it weren't for Hardy's penchant for histrionics and unsubtle characterisation. Pity he didn't have a modern creative writing teacher to teach him the ropes. For all his talent, he really could have done with one here.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Never re-read this, first read in H.S. I did give it as a birthday present to my Mother, maybe the worst present I gave her (she liked a turqoise circle pin better). At the time it was my favorite book, but let's face it, Hardy is a downer: Bill Pritchard spoke on Hardy's poetry in Boston, reading one in which another Dorset man, too poor to keep supporting his dog, takes him down to the estuary and flings a fetch-stick out far into the outgoing tidal river. The dog faithfully fetches it, and is Never re-read this, first read in H.S. I did give it as a birthday present to my Mother, maybe the worst present I gave her (she liked a turqoise circle pin better). At the time it was my favorite book, but let's face it, Hardy is a downer: Bill Pritchard spoke on Hardy's poetry in Boston, reading one in which another Dorset man, too poor to keep supporting his dog, takes him down to the estuary and flings a fetch-stick out far into the outgoing tidal river. The dog faithfully fetches it, and is caught up in the outgoing tide. (Of course, we now know dogs can survive tides better than humans; people die jumping in to save dogs who survive to lost masters. Wonder what happened when the dog made it back to Hardy's speaker.) And the end of Two on a Tower! Unnecessary, further death. Just spent a couple nights in Wessex Hotel, High st West, but didn’t revisit Hardy’s two houses, Maxgate and the birthplace, because of snow on roads. Did drive by the Hardy monument, but that’s to a different Hardy, the Admiral. Standing in line at Costa’s down Phoenix Lane from our hotel, a lady recited some of her own verse. I asked if she knew any of Hardy’s. No. Like many, she writes verse without reading it. I took a grad course on Frost and Hardy, quite a bit in common, though not RF’s wonderful North of Boston monologs and dialogs, like “A Servant to servants,” which I taught to my mostly adult female community college students.

  29. 4 out of 5

    peiman-mir5 rezakhani

    دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتاب از 600 صفحه تشکیل شده و داستانِ جوانی ساده و روستایی به نامِ «جود» است که با تصمیم هایِ اشتباه زندگیش به نابودی و زوال کشیده میشود... او با دختری کثیف و هوس باز به نامِ « آرابلا» ازدواج میکند که از او خیانت می بیند، سپس عاشقِ « سو» میشود که زنِ « فیلوتسون» معلمِ سابقِ روستا هستش... با « سو» فرار کرده و زندگی تشکیل میدهند و سپس مسیرِ زندگی از آنچه آرزویش را داشت به سمتِ تباهی و در نهایت مرگ در تنهایی با سرفه و لبِ تشنه، تغییر میکند از میانه هایِ داستان دلم می خواست « آراب دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتاب از 600 صفحه تشکیل شده و داستانِ جوانی ساده و روستایی به نامِ «جود» است که با تصمیم هایِ اشتباه زندگیش به نابودی و زوال کشیده میشود... او با دختری کثیف و هوس باز به نامِ « آرابلا» ازدواج میکند که از او خیانت می بیند، سپس عاشقِ « سو» میشود که زنِ « فیلوتسون» معلمِ سابقِ روستا هستش... با « سو» فرار کرده و زندگی تشکیل میدهند و سپس مسیرِ زندگی از آنچه آرزویش را داشت به سمتِ تباهی و در نهایت مرگ در تنهایی با سرفه و لبِ تشنه، تغییر میکند از میانه هایِ داستان دلم می خواست « آرابلا» کنارم بود تا میتوانستم گردنش را همچون چوبِ خشکی بشکنم... مخصوصاً آن زمانی که فهمید « جود» مرده است و با بی خیالی جنازه را رها کرد و به دیدنِ مسابقۀ قایقرانی رفت و اگر میتوانست همانجا و جلویِ جمعیت، کنارِ دریاچه «سکس» هم انجام می داد از همان ابتدا «جود» احمق و ساده لوح بود، « جود» امورِ احساسی اش را همچون رازی از دیگران و حتی خودش پنهان میکرد... امّا « آرابلا» آن را نزدِ همۀ دوستان و آشنایانش فاش می ساخت یکی از نکاتِ منفی در این داستان به کار بردنِ جملاتِ کتبِ مسخرۀ « ایوب» و « سلیمان» بود، لذتِ خواندن را به کامم تلخ میکرد دوستانِ گرامی، در صفحۀ 119 نوشته بود: فضیلتِ «معرفت» این است که «حکمت»، به صاحبش زندگی می بخشد عزیزانم و دوستانِ خردگرا، عُرفِ فهمِ «معرفت»، مقیّد بودن به حرمتِ انسانیِ خویشتن است... ولی عزیزانم، فهمِ آن «معرفتی» را داشته باشید که با زمانِ خودِ شما هماهنگ باشد، چراکه خردِ فسیل شده، توانِ تعالی بخشیدن به شما را ندارد دوستانِ خوبم، بدانید که «عشق»، ثمرۀ «معرفت» است، «معرفت» در جانِ ما، برای فهمِ همۀ ما، از همۀ ماست... آن که «معرفتی» ندارد، «عشق» او باطل است... «عشقی» که از «معرفت» برنخیزد، به کمال، راه نخواهد یافت پیروز باشید و ایرانی

  30. 5 out of 5

    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 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 banned book ever.

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