Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Aimless Reading: The H's, Part 5 (Thomas Hardy)

Jude The Obscure
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Hardy, Thomas
Jude The Obscure

Not sure where I bought this -- in New York somewhere. I know I bought it a couple of years after college. I was reading Richard Ellman's biography of Joyce and came upon a passage in which Joyce's family is castigating him for reading "Jude The Obscene." I thought that was quite funny and set about looking for a copy of the offending article. I actually don't remember too much about why they might call it "obscene" -- I remember an image of some country lasses being forward with some menfolk, maybe some sexual innuendo involving vegetables -- something along those lines -- but that's about it. My clearest memory is of this being one of the darkest, most depressing, yet also one of the best British novels I've read.

from Jude the Obscure

An occasional word, as from some one making a speech, floated from the open windows of the Theatre across to this quiet corner, at which there seemed to be a smile of some sort upon the marble features of Jude; while the dog-eared Greek Testament on the neighbouring shelf, and the few other volumes of the sort that he had not parted with, roughened with stone-dust where he had been in the habit of catching them up for a few minutes between his labours, seemed to pale to a sickly cast at the sounds. The bells struck out joyously; and there reverberations travelled round the bedroom.

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