When Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure appeared in 1895, it immediately caused scandal and controversy. Its frank treatment of Jude’s sexual relationships with Arabella and Sue, its scathing criticisms of late-Victorian hypocrisy, its depiction of the “New Woman,” and its attacks on “holy wedlock” and religious bigotry outraged numerous reviewers; one called the book “Jude the Obscene.” Others saw it as brilliantly progressive in its ideas and techniques. Vivid and complex, satiric and harrowing, this novel marked the culmination of Hardy’s development as a leading novelist of the cultural transition from the Victorian to the Modernist era. The Broadview edition restores the original, controversial 1895 text.
“Cedric Watts’s edition of Jude the Obscure is one of an extremely interesting set of literary works from Broadview Press, distinguished by wise editorial choices and inclusion of a variety of documents contemporary with the works. Watts is one of our era’s most resourceful and level-headed analysts of literature, and his introduction richly sketches the angles of several controversies current in Hardy’s time. There are numerous selections from writings which influenced Hardy (science, philosophy, poems, the Bible) excerpts from essays and poems from the late nineteenth century, and materials in categories such as divorce, and university education, all of which amplify and add to Watts’ comments, and stimulate thinking about Hardy and nineteenth-century subjects, as well as about our own time.” — Dale Kramer, University of Oregon
“This is an informative and scholarly edition of the novel which brings out its explosive nature, why it so scandalised Hardy’s contemporaries. Professor Watts provides a clear, lively introduction, helpful notes and a wealth of material on the textual history of Jude the Obscure, its contemporary reception and its intellectual and social context. Readers of Hardy will find it immensely useful.” — T.R. Wright, University of Newcastle
“Broadview Press and editor Cedric Watts have done a splendid job.” — English Literature in Transition