This review of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure is largely negative, and expresses disappointment as much as dislike of the novel. The writer hopes for ‘the inevitableness of the old Greek tragedy’ but does not find it, other than in the writer’s determination ‘that everything should go wrong with everybody in the story’. The reviewer does however approach the crux of the book as Hardy saw it, namely that a doomed marriage wrecks lives, and that the protagonists’s emancipation was ahead of the strictures of society – they were indeed ‘ahead of their time’.
Sue Bridehead comes in for particular criticism. The reviewer seems angry with her, describing her as ‘abnormal’ because she is able to quote from literature during a crisis. Of all the characters in the book only Aunt Drusilla is deemed acceptable, though she too is bound to observe the doom of the family. Everyone else is ‘aggravating’ rather than ‘sympathetic’.
Ultimately the reviewer, possibly in spite of him or herself, comes round to understanding the ‘melancholy’ in the book, the emotion that effectively kills Jude, though even this is presented as a disappointment for those readers who would be looking for ‘horror’.