Jude The Obscure

I took this book out of the library,

because somebody,

I’m trying to get to know,

told me,

it was her favourite book,

well,

top two.

As mentioned,

in a previous post,

I have attempted Hardy,

before,

without much success.

This book is different,

I’m going to let you in,

on a little secret,

Jude,

is a name,

I have real fondness for,

Saint-Jude was,

my Grandmaman’s,

favourite saint,

the patron of lost causes.

I figure,

maybe,

it’s an omen:-)

So,

this novel is brilliant.

But, it is so dark,

I had trouble finishing it.

I know, a few of you warned me!!

Jude is a Stone Mason,

who wants to be a scholar,

he dreams of going to the university,

but,

men of his rank, class, village,

do not attend the university.

Jude, would like to beat the odds.

He teaches himself,

reads and reads,

teaches himself Greek and Latin,

the tools of the scholar.

He meets a woman,

she takes him off his course,

and traps him into marriage.

His wife is so wrong for him,

Jude would now have been described as a young man with a forcible,meditative,earnest… countenance. page 85

Arabella, his wife,

is a pig farmer’s daughter,

ambitious and practical,

a tad,

brutish.

A sensitive, would be scholar,

and,

an ambitious farmer’s daughter,

ill suited and miserable,

that is what characterises,

their union.

But, Jude has a sense of duty,

and propriety,

he carries on.

Arabella, not hindered,

by such things,

leaves him to go to,

Australia with her parents.

It is for the best,

they don’t love each other.

Jude will meet his cousin, Sue,

of whom he has heard tell,

all his life.

Sue, will bring light and love,

as well as,

confusion and pain,

into his life,

but,

their love cannot,

exist in a world of convention,

and religion.

Their marginality as a couple,

will bring horror and,

unspeakable tragedy to them,

and,

theirs.

I don’t want to spoil anything,

by telling you about,

Jude and Sue.

I will say this,

they go from being,

she: a brilliant,marginal thinker,

he: an earnest dreamer,

to broken people.

I make you want to read the book, huh?

Hardy, is violently critical,

of the institution of marriage,

marriage sanctioned,

by state and church.

Love and commitment,

have nothing to do,

with laws and conventional morality. 

It is about the people involved,

and should concern only them.

I also think the novel is about,

how being true to yourself is,

essential,

and everyone will try and stop you,

and force you to conform,

and ultimately truth might,

destroy you.

Not exactly a light read.

Of course, a lot has changed,

since 1895,

the year of publication.

Non-conformity,

is seen in a much better light,

in some circles,

practically a must,

but,

perhaps,

I am looking at this,

through my western world,

big city,

prism.

Perhaps,

things haven’t changed that much.

In my world the church,

has very little impact,

in some places,

I’m thinking,

much more.

I don’t mean to be reductive,

this is a novel,

of immense complexity,

and Jude and Sue,

are fascinating characters.

I wonder what it says about you,

when it is your favourite book?

That you believe,

love and marriage are,

poison,

and that non-conformity,

leads to horror,

or,

on the contrary,

that we must strive,

against all odds,

to be,

ourselves,

and to,

love.

Quite a read,

don’t read if, depressed or in….. february.

I think, I’ll lay off the 19Th century,

for a while.

Later girls,

BB

Published by

Bookish Butch

I am a bookish butch in my very early fifties. I live in Montréal and always have. I used to run a small used bookstore. Reading keeps me sane. My latest jiggie is photography, book project in the works, living the dream

2 thoughts on “Jude The Obscure”

  1. Oh my, you’re going from this book to Giovanni’s Room?!! Talk about inciting depression, yikes! I highly recommend throwing something fun into that mix, for the sake of your sanity.

    On another note, I too love the name Jude, and as it was also the name of my partner’s much-loved and too-early-departed aunt, it’s the name we’re going to give to our first kid… Funny, two queers having a child and naming it after the patron saint of lost causes!

  2. Before I take on Giovanni’s Room, which I know I will like, Baldwin is like no-one else, I’m going to read something I got in the mail the other day. Best Lesbian Erotica 2011 from Cleis Press, seems to be butch positive…YES!! It might save my sanity:-) Jude is a beautiful name for both a boy or a girl. I also really like the, sometimes considered old-fashioned, idea of naming your child after a precious loved one. I always thought if I had a son, I would name him Paul, after my grandfather, the sweetest soul I ever met.

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