Jude the Obscure


Called "Jude the Obscene" by at least one reviewer,[11] Jude the Obscure received a harsh reception from some scandalized critics. Among the critics was Walsham How, Bishop of Wakefield; Hardy later claimed that the bishop had burned a copy.[12] It has been suggested that negative criticism was the reason that Hardy stopped writing novels after Jude, but poet C. H. Sisson describes this "hypothesis" as "superficial and absurd".[13]

D. H. Lawrence, an admirer of Hardy, was puzzled by the character of Sue Bridehead, and attempted to analyse her conflicted sexuality in his A Study of Thomas Hardy (1914).

At least one recent scholar has postulated that Jude borrowed heavily from an earlier novel, The Wages of Sin by Lucas Malet.[14]

Marxist critic Terry Eagleton, in his introduction to a 1974 edition of the text, refutes the conventional reading of the novel as 'the tragedy of an oversexed peasant boy',[15] instead examining the social background of the text and proposing it as a conflict between ideal and reality.[16]

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