Item #15368 JUDE THE OBSCURE. Thomas Hardy.

JUDE THE OBSCURE.

With an Etching by H. Macbeth-Raeburn and a Map of Wessex. (London:) James R. Osgood, McIlvaine & Co., (1896). Original dark blue-green cloth with front cover monogram device in gilt.

First Edition 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 1890s public was not ready for Hardy's depiction of Jude and his cousin Sue settling down together and having two children (though unmarried) -- let alone, the death by hanging of his child and their two. After TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES (1891) and then JUDE (and due to the outcry over them), Hardy was to spend his remaining 30+ years writing only verse.

In this copy, the last pages of chapters are numbered in gatherings "A" through "H" excepting "B" (such pages are never numbered in gatherings "I" onward). In most copies, as here, some but not all of the first eight gatherings have numbered pages, presumably before sheets were gradually altered to conform to the latter part of the book.; in other words, except for pages 25 and 32 (in gathering "B") being un-numbered, this copy is the earliest possible state.

This is a very good-plus, perhaps near-fine copy (some faint speckling on the front cover, front endpaper with hairline crack, Hardy portrait affixed to the front paste-down). Purdy pp 86-91. Item #15368

Price: $425.00

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