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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Jude the Obscure, the last completed novel by Thomas Hardy, began as a magazine serial in December 1894 and was first published in book form in 1895.
Its protagonist, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man, a stonemason, who dreams of becoming a scholar. The other main character is his cousin, Sue Bridehead, who is also his central love interest. The novel is concerned in particular with issues of class, education, religion and marriage.
Christminster”, a city modelled on Oxford. As a youth, Jude teaches himself Classical Greek and Latin in his spare time, while working first in his great-aunt’s bakery, with the hope of entering university.
But before he can try to do this the naïve Jude is seduced by Arabella Donn, a rather coarse and superficial local girl who traps him into marriage by pretending to be pregnant. The marriage is a failure, and they separate by mutual agreement, and Arabella later emigrates to Australia, where she enters into a bigamous marriage. By this time, Jude has abandoned his classical studies. After Arabella leaves him, Jude moves to Christminster and supports himself as a mason while studying alone, hoping to be able to enter the university later.
There, he meets and falls in love with his free-spirited cousin, Sue Bridehead. But, shortly after this, Jude introduces Sue to his former schoolteacher, Mr.
Phillotson, whom she eventually marries. However, she soon regrets this, because in addition to being in love with Jude, she is physically disgusted by her husband, and, apparently, by sex in general. Sue soon leaves Phillotson for Jude.