These two texts were published at the beginning of this edition of Jude the Obscure, the first being the preface to the original book edition, from 1895, and the second being a postscript in which Thomas Hardy addresses some of the issues raised in reviews of the book. Of necessity the second text is a defence of the book and himself. Hardy, having by this stage given up writing novels, argues wearily, but also with some mischief, that if the book was an attack on marriage, then it was not very successful. ‘What did it matter?’ he asks. ‘The famous contract – sacrament I mean – is doing fairly well still’.
Hardy notes in the preface that this version of the text is different from the version serialised in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, between December 1894 and November 1895. Magazines such as Harpers’s, avoided confronting their middle-class readers with scenes of a too sexual nature. Hardy was accustomed to this process; the serialised texts of both Far from the Madding Crowd and Tess of the d’Urbervilles were edited for publication. Hardy himself naturally made changes during the writing and editing process: Jude the Obscure was originally called The Simpletons, and later Hearts Insurgent.
- Article by:
- Greg Buzwell
- Gender and sexuality, Fin de siècle
Free-spirited and independent, educated and uninterested in marriage and children, the figure of the New Woman threatened conventional ideas about ideal Victorian womanhood. Greg Buzwell explores the place of the New Woman – by turns comical, dangerous and inspirational – in journalism and in fiction by writers such as Thomas Hardy, George Gissing and Sarah Grand.
- Article by:
- Kate Flint
- The novel 1832–1880, Reading and print culture
Professor Kate Flint explores the way Victorians bought, borrowed and read their books, and considers the impact of the popular literature of the period.