Around 1887, Hardy began making notes for a story about a working-man's frustrated attempts to attend the university, perhaps inspired in part by the scholastic failure and suicide of his friend Horace Moule. From December 1894 to November 1895, a bowdlerised version of the novel ran in instalments in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, originally under the title The Simpletons, then Hearts Insurgent. In 1895, the book was published in London under its present title, Jude the Obscure (dated 1896). In his Preface to the first edition, Hardy provides details of the conception and writing history of the novel, claiming that certain details were inspired by the death of a woman (most likely his cousin, Tryphena Sparks) in 1890.
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