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Jude the Obscure

Jude the Obscure is a novel by Thomas Hardy, first published in 1895.

Warning: wikipedia contains spoilers

The novel tells the story of Jude Fawley, a stonemason who hankers after an academic career, longing to become a student at "Christminster", a city modelled on Oxford. Having been lured into an unwanted marriage with a country girl who soon deserts him, Jude's ambitions come to nothing. He becomes obsessed with his cousin, Sue Bridehead, but she marries a schoolteacher, with whom she is unhappy.

When Jude and Sue attempt to set up home together, society is against them. Jude's eldest son (from his first marriage), observing the problems he and his siblings are causing for their parents, commits suicide and kills the other two children. This event ends Jude's relationship with Sue, and he descends into squalor and death.

The work can be downloaded over the Internet without charge from Project Gutenberg as either text or a computer-generated audiobook.