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481 books of Thomas Hardy

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Jude the Obscure, the last of Thomas Hardy's novels, began as a magazine serial and was first published in book form in 1895. Its hero, Jude Fawley, is a working-­class young man who dreams of becoming a scholar. The other main character is his cousin, Sue Bridehead, who is also his central love interest. The themes in the novel revolve around issues of class, education, religion and marriage.

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One evening of late summer, before the nineteenth century had reached one–third of its span, a young man and woman, the latter carrying a child, were approaching the large village of Weydon–Priors, in Upper Wessex, on foot. They were plainly but not ill clad, though the thick hoar of dust which had accumulated on their shoes and garments from an obviously long journey lent a disadvantageous shabbiness to their appearance just now

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The village of Little Hintock welcomes a visitor, a handsome doctor named Edred Fitzpiers. The newcomer soon works his way into the affections of Grace Melbury and her ambitious father. When Grace and Fitzpiers marry the honest local woodsman Giles Winterbourne loses his childhood sweetheart. But will the marriage prove to be a match made in heaven?

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The tragic tale of Tess Durbeyfield, the simple country girl whose life changes completely when her father learns their family is a scion of an ancient landed family, the D'Urbervilles.

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Egden Heath is the scene of this family saga where the lives of Diggory Venn and Thomasin Yeobright will always be connected.

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The following story, the first published by the author, was written nineteen years ago, at a time when he was feeling his way to a method. The principles observed in its composition are, no doubt, too exclusively those in which mystery, entanglement, surprise, and moral obliquity are depended on for exciting interest; but some of the scenes, and at least one of the characters, have been deemed not unworthy of a little longer preservation; and as they could hardly be reproduced in a fragmentary form the novel is reissued complete —the more readily that it has for some considerable time been reprinted and widely circulated in America. January 1889

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This is the extended annotated edition including a rare biographical essay on the life and works of the author. Like " Tess of the D'Urbervilles,­" the story of "Jude the Obscure" is a manifestation of the author's later manner—a manner which is a natural and almost inevitable development in a writer who possesses Mr. Hardy's extraordinary capacity for observation, profound knowledge of human nature, and philosophical ideas concerning the problem of existence. Mr. Hardy has never been an author to write novels merely for the purpose of providing entertainment, or for illustrating in more or less persuasive form some preconceived didactic proposition. He has been content to take men and women as they are, and no one in English fiction—possibly no one in the whole range of modern literature—has been able to surpass him in depicting the reaction of circumstances upon character. In this carefully reasoned, closely woven narrative of " Jude the Obscure" he sets before us the entirely . . .

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Hardy distrusted the application of nineteenth-­century empiricism to history because he felt it marginalized important human elements. In The Trumpet Major, the tale of a woman courted by three competing suitors during the Napoleonic wars, he explores the subversive effects of ordinary human desire and conflicting loyalties on systematized versions of history.

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Books of Thomas Hardy