Jude the Obscure is a novel by Thomas Hardy, which began as a magazine serial in December 1894 and was first published in book form in 1895. It is Hardy’s last completed novel. Its protagonist, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man, a stonemason, who dreams of becoming a scholar.
There are very controversial issues in this book.
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.