Jude the Obscure was initially published in abridged form in Harper’s New Monthly under the title Hearts Insurgent between 1894 and 1895, and later published in full in the 1895 edition of Hardy’s works. To say the very least it was poorly received and was termed everything from ‘depraved’ to ‘drivel’. Perhaps due to such fierce criticism it was Hardy’s last novel before he took to writing only poetry and drama. It is the story of various illicit unions that form themselves around the central character of Jude Fawley, the village mason. He is encouraged by Phillotson, a schoolmaster, to apply for Christminster (representing Oxford University), but as in every part of his life he is tormented by rejection. Arabella Donn seduces him into marriage by feigning pregnancy and then leaves him at which point he takes up residence in Christminster while still trying to gain access to the university. Jude then falls for Sue Bridehead (married unhappily to Phillotson) and they have an illicit relationship. However, her contradictory desires prevent their long-term contentedness since she seeks freedom to the cost of love. We learn of the death of Sue and Jude’s children at the hands of Jude’s only child by Arabella since the latter believes none of them have the right to live. The novel concerns Jude’s ambition as it is thwarted repeatedly by the squalid nature of a life ruined by poverty and the indecision of others. Like The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and others the novel ends with the protagonist’s miserable death that represents only the indecency of fate that causes suffering even or perhaps especially in the pure of heart.