JUDE THE OBSCURE.
With an Etching by H. Macbeth-Raeburn and a Map of Wessex. (London:) James R. Osgood, McIlvaine & Co., (1896 -- actually 1895). Original dark blue-green cloth with monogram device in gilt.
First Edition, earliest state, of Hardy's last great novel, issued as Vol. VIII of "The Wessex Novels." Titled HEARTS INSURGENT at the time of its serial appearance, the book was ahead of its time; the depiction of Jude and his cousin Sue settling down together and having two children (though unmarried) was too much for the 1890s public. After JUDE (and due in part to the outcry over it), Hardy was to spend his remaining 30+ years writing only verse.
This copy is in the earliest state, which is to say that the last pages of chapters are numbered in all eight of the gatherings "A" through "H"; from signature "I" on, in all copies, all such pages are un-numbered. Most copies are mixed-state -- with some A-H chapter-ending pages numbered, and some (like the rest of the book) un-numbered; it is believed that later sheets were altered to make the book uniform from beginning to end.
This is a handsome copy -- fine except for some faint speckling toward the fore-edge of the front cover, and some equally-faint scratches on the rear cover. The front paste-down bears an ownership signature dated "2.11.95" -- the day after the publication date of 1 November. Purdy pp 86-91. Item #15243