The novel is fully annotated and is accompanied by Hardy's map of Wessex and a plan of late Victorian Oxford (the Christminster of the novel). The textual history of Jude the Obscure-including an account of the surviving manuscript showing Hardy's major change of intention during its composition, of the pressure to bowdlerize the novel, and of the subsequent restoration and revisions-is traced in a series of extracts from Hardy's writings as well as from those of his contemporaries and of modern scholars Richard Little Purdy, John Paterson, and Robert C. Slack. Selections from Hardy's poems, autobiography, letters, and journalistic writings provide a background to the novel. Autobiographical elements and the social climate of the period in which Hardy lived and wrote are discussed by C. J. Weber and W. R. Rutland, and Hardy's use of locale is explored in a section prepared specially for this edition. "Contemporary Reception" provides a selection of reviews. "Modern Criticism" is provided by Irving Howe, Arthur Mizener, A. Alvarez, J. I. M. Stewart, Harvey Curtis Webster, D. H. Lawrence, Albert J. Guerard, Robert Gittings, Frederick P. W. McDowell, and Emma Clifford.
A Selected Bibliography is included.
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Author Biography - Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), enduring author of the twentieth century, wrote the classics Jude the Obscure, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and many other works. Norman Page is Professor of English emeritus, University of Nottingham and University of Alberta. He is the author of many books, among them The Language of Jane Austen, Speech in the English Novel, Thomas Hardy, Tennyson: An Illustrated Life, and A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography. He is editor of the Oxford Reader's Companion to Thomas Hardy, past editor of the Thomas Hardy Journal and the Thomas Hardy Annual, and a vice-president of the Thomas Hardy Society.