”under the cruching recognition of his gigantic error Jude continued to wish himself out of the world...”
Fired with a love of learning, Jude Fawley yearns for scholarly
self-improvement amid the dreaming spires of nearby Christminster.
His humble background renders a university education, so tantalisingly within physical reach, frustratingly beyond his grasp. Already a prisoner of his class, Jude is then trapped into marriage,
dealing his ambitions a further blow. When his wife deserts him, Jude finally makes it to Christminster, but the walls of academe remain dautingly insurmountable. His love for an intelligent, freethinking cousin offer the possebilities of domestic happiness, yet in that
romantic attachment, as with his educational aspirations, Jude is destined to remain a thwarted outsider.
Hardy´s ”tragedy of unfulfilled aims” shocked many when it appeared in 1895, one bishop incensed enough to publicly burn a copy of the book.
Poet Algernon Swinburne was among the staunchb defenders, praising ”the beauty, the terror and the truth” of the novel that proved to be Hardy´s fictional swansong.