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Extended Audio Sample Jude the Obscure Audiobook, by Thomas Hardy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (24,342 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Thomas Hardy Narrator: Stephen Thorne, Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2011 ISBN: 9781455173891
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From the author of Tess of the D’Urbervilles comes a fascinating novel, as powerful today as it was controversial during its original publication

Thomas Hardy's last and arguably most controversial novel, Jude the Obscure is the story of a young country workman who is thwarted in his efforts for advancement at every turn. Hopelessly obsessed with becoming an Oxford student, Jude is also desperately lost and barred from good society because of his unconventional and complicated relationships with two different women. A sincere indictment of the day's societal norms, Jude the Obscure remains a powerful novel and an unforgettable literary experience.

This novel is part of Brilliance Audio's extensive Classic Collection, bringing you timeless masterpieces that you and your family are sure to love.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A compelling novel is made more so in this audio version by the outstanding work of Frederick Davidson. Always dependable, Davidson here excels in his use of measured dramatics; his consistent differentiation of a large cast of characters from varying social, educational and, therefore, dialectal groups; and his obvious personal involvement in the miseries of the two main characters.”

    AudioFile

  • “[Hardy's] style touches sublimity”

    T. S. Eliot

  • “The greatest tragic writer among English Novelists”

    Virginia Woolf

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen | 2/20/2014

    " Still working through all the things in this book, but it has been plenty long enough to realize that this needs a spot on the silver shelf. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erica | 2/19/2014

    " Great book but very tragic towards the end "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daffy | 2/18/2014

    " I loved this book as I did all of Thomas Hardy's books, it's very powerful. I was reading it on the London underground on my way into work one morning when I came to the heart-wrenching climax. I had arrived at my station and I just sat on a seat on the platform, continuing to read, until I could bear to tear myself away from it to go to work. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy | 2/17/2014

    " I usually really like Thomas Hardy, but the only reason I gave this book 1 star was because Sue frustrated me so much! She was so irritating, that I didn't understand at all why Jude would put up with so much for her sake. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 André Ferrari | 2/11/2014

    " Best book I've ever read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carley Henderson | 2/10/2014

    " Thomas Hardys best book hands down "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noelle | 2/9/2014

    " Death was not the tragedy for the reader, but rather the release. Jude's life was a long string of disappointment and despair - not because there was never any hope, but because great potential was dashed to pieces by decisions made foolishly because of a lack of maturity and experience, which is arguably the greatest tragedy of all. Needless to say, it was an emotional ride and an exercise of moral philosophy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 2/8/2014

    " Enjoyable all around, but a bit too neatly tied with coincidental meetings of characters. I suppose that's par for the era. More potential for controversy than I expected: unwed pregnancies, premarital sex, old guys marrying young babes... hot! : ) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christina Gimlin | 2/4/2014

    " My favorite Hardy book but I love them all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sidemoss | 2/4/2014

    " This book was really disturbing, but it was interesting too. I found myself rooting for Jude and Sue even though they did not have very much going for them. Not very redeeming. But, it was a great look into a relationship that would later on become very commonplace. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Georgina | 2/3/2014

    " If you never read another Hardy in your life, you should read this one! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lincoln | 1/24/2014

    " I love Thomas Hardy, how he portrays life in rural England in the 1870s. A very sad book; I would have like it better if it weren't so depressing. Kind of like life. Thomas Hardy is an amazing writer, the way he evokes settings and scenes and relationships and emotions. I recall really enjoying Hardy's "Far from the Madding Crowd" and "Tess of the d'Urbervilles," and them not being so depressing. This book is fascinating the way it depicts what I think is a relatively fine line between healthy romantic/sexual relationships and extremely screwed-up ones. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 1/21/2014

    " possibly the most depressing story I have ever read!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 1/19/2014

    " Thomas Hardy was greatly disheartened from the negative critiques of this novel nwhich questions the institution of marriage and the shackles placed on society by its adherence to church doctrine. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 christine | 1/14/2014

    " This book is depressing- true- but a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 1/13/2014

    " Not one of my favorites. Definitely one of the most morbid Hardy novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marieke | 1/13/2014

    " A friend's updates reminded me i've read this. the stars might not be accurate...should reread...someday... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gail | 1/12/2014

    " One of my favorite books to get depressed by. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie | 1/11/2014

    " Holy shit this was depressing. Jude is strange and lovely, with the hard task of bridging 19th c. realism with the expressionist modern novel. Freudian internal strife, cultural expulsion, puritanical masochism, haunting ethereal characterizations (at times melodramatic;the little imp child Father Time? jesus), broken shattered dreams. And, Sue, get a vibrator already. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan Tyburski | 1/9/2014

    " 'what i learned from this book': you will not win at life "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annie | 1/8/2014

    " The movie with Christopher Eccleston and Kate Winslet (of course!) gets 5 stars over the book, but the read is good too. Pretty intense, not an 'uplifting' story, so be prepared. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 George | 1/7/2014

    " I enjoy reading Hardy but this is not my favourite story as the plot takes a very sad twist that I found disturbing. Whilst I would read Far from the Madding Crowd again, I will not read this book a second time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Richard B | 1/4/2014

    " Very readable but ultimately depressing viewpoint. Hardy must be into habitual determinism. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Denise | 1/2/2014

    " While a great vocabulary stretch... it was not uplifting at all and the plot was pretty futile.... if you like sad disturbing books this is for you.... I threw my copy away. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bri | 12/31/2013

    " Great writing, but that plot.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erica | 12/20/2013

    " Great book but very tragic towards the end "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Travis | 12/15/2013

    " Good book - sort of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" from a male perspective. Not an uplifting story per se, but overall I enjoyed it, and found Hardy's descriptions easy to visualize, and it contained enough character development to keep my attention. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bradley Voyles | 12/14/2013

    " Would give it 0 stars. I hate Hardy's writing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lynne | 11/25/2013

    " A bit hard going, not my favorite Hardy. I guess if you put it in context how shocking it must have been when it was first published it makes it interesting. But... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lara | 11/5/2013

    " I enjoyed the story of this book but alot of it dragged and annoyed me. I hated nearly all the characters and jude was a real wimp. Glad i read this book though as it is a popular classic and is worth a read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 10/22/2013

    " Third time's the charm....finally got through this terribly bleak story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Toby | 10/20/2013

    " Rather boring even though I love the classics. A vivid tale of a rather ordinary life. He wants to be a university fellow and then a priest but is always just a stonemason. Divorces his first wife lives with a second and then marries the first over again while drunk. Then dies.[return] "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anita Williamson | 10/4/2013

    " I really like Thomas Hardy. This was a hard book to like the characters. So many crummy things happen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joseph | 9/24/2013

    " This is one of my personal favorites. It starts slowly, but by about the third or fourth chapter, it really starts to captivate you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Benjamin | 9/21/2013

    " Recommended by my Lit. Professor, a scathing paralell to everything that makes myself who I am. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rae | 8/1/2013

    " this was good...but still, tess of d'urbervilles is better. thomas hardy is a little depressing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 7/16/2013

    " What I learned is that if something goes wrong in my life, it's probably a woman's fault. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 6/15/2013

    " I enjoyed the beginning of this book but then got a little bored with it. I guess I can appreciate the different standards of the time when the book was set and how that would have influenced the characters, but the decisions made were the characters own downfalls. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Watson | 4/24/2013

    " Favorite of all time, so depressing but great vocab builder. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew Cecil | 4/23/2013

    " beautiful story of a man who is cursed since birth. the love stories are dramatic and entertaining, the scenery wonderful - the fields, the stone buildings, the streets, the church, his aunt's home. a book you never want to end, but can't wait to end it once you get there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dcboux | 2/14/2013

    " The person who gave me this book inscribed it with the phrase "I hope you don't end up like Jude." OUCH! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sudama Chandra | 2/2/2013

    " This is one of the finest books ever read. The character of a woman and the society are so vividly portrayed. Love this. Mwaah. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dawn Marie | 11/7/2012

    " Compelling, but it leaves you exhausted and demoralized. Not fun times, kids. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 9/28/2012

    " I haven't read this book for ages but quite often little chunks and pieces of it come back into my memory. There are some pretty disturbing scenes in the book and I remember having a hard time putting it down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin Waggoner | 9/28/2012

    " I well written story for those who appreciate 19th century literature. It bogs down several times throughout the story, but overall a good read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Patricia | 8/7/2012

    " Not nearly as good at Tess of the D'urbervilles "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Azlinda | 7/4/2012

    " So dark and so sad....loved it!! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alex | 5/10/2012

    " Meh. Very drawn out in sections: conversations between Jude and Sue begin to feel like they've been copy-pasted from earlier in the book. There's nothing here other than the basic naturalism plot curve. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paige Weinheimer | 5/4/2012

    " My favorite book right now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 4/15/2012

    " What I learned is that if something goes wrong in my life, it's probably a woman's fault. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 4/8/2012

    " I'm not sure what to say about this one. It took me ages to finish, I pretty much hated all the characters and the message, but at the end I actually found it interesting. So, I guess that's good? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy B | 4/5/2012

    " I know I liked this more than some of my friends, but as someone who enjoys Thomas Hardy novels, I enjoyed his exploration of moral themes and consequences. The ending was quite memorable to me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emma | 3/31/2012

    " I was required to read this book for a college class and it was one of the most depressing reads of my life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 2/19/2012

    " Not my favorite. Worth the read. Like Tess better. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David Johnson | 11/16/2011

    " I just couldn't bring myself to finish this book. Ploughing thru 160 pages of it was about as interesting and instructive as watching grass grow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/3/2011

    " I haven't read this book for ages but quite often little chunks and pieces of it come back into my memory. There are some pretty disturbing scenes in the book and I remember having a hard time putting it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellen | 10/31/2011

    " This is a great book, interesting story, but the most depressing book I ever read. I read it because it was recommended by our tour guide in Somerset, England, where the story takes place. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenn | 10/30/2011

    " Hardy's Jude the Obscure remains my favorite book of all time. Beautiful. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 jerksuke | 10/18/2011

    " This is one of those books that for a good long chunk made me never want to read again, interspersed occasionally with a few chapters of interest. It was written fine, it was just rather boring compared to other stories of a similar vein.

    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pamela | 10/2/2011

    " A wonderfully depressing book. You might want to start some anti-depressants before picking it up, but totally worth it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samuel | 9/24/2011

    " Philosophical with lots of jabs at establishment. Well written and entertaining. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erin | 9/23/2011

    " Probably one of the most awful and depressing books I've ever read. The logic and morality is all mixed up- a headache from start to finish. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 9/12/2011

    " Determinism. (See my comments on Tess...) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 8/31/2011

    " senior ap summer reading - on my kindle. it took a while to get through this book. i actually did enjoy it even though it is a thoroughly depressing book! funny reading it in the context of modern society though, considering when he wrote it. poor jude - what a rollercoaster life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ruthie Jones | 6/11/2011

    " It's rare to discover a book of any era that can call forth strong emotion and shock at the unexpected. This book does just that. Hardy lulls you with the mundane and then punches you with the most horrific scene in all of literature (or life). Yes, I scoffed at this claim as well, but it's true. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debra | 5/27/2011

    " Thomas Hardy really jumped the shark this time. And that's saying a lot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren Wendt | 5/12/2011

    " A good read for anyone looking for an epic soap opera. Hardy is definitely not for the faint of heart. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 5/8/2011

    " Wrote part of my Master's Thesis on this one, so I like it quite a lot. It is a meaty read, and you only have to throw it across the room about four times.

    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen | 5/5/2011

    " I named my only child Jude. And it was not for Jude Law. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steff | 4/28/2011

    " I wish my English teacher had asked for an essay on this book. I could've written a legitimate essay on how this book would've been better had it never been written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gnomerockyahoo.com | 4/25/2011

    " This was one of those books where you wanted to reach through the pages and shake the characters until they had more sense. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellen | 4/13/2011

    " Poor Jude, he was obscure. I rather liked the writing but the story was fairly sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 4/10/2011

    " One of my favorite books ever. So bleak it's almost painful to read. The story of a man who does the best he could, until he couldn't (to steal and damage a line from Discworld). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caitlin | 4/9/2011

    " This book made me cry. Only a couple of tears got out because I was at work, but if I had been reading this at home I would have sobbed. In one word, this book is grim but I loved it. I truly felt for Jude. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 4/9/2011

    " While I generally admire Hardy's work, this one was just too depressing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 4/9/2011

    " I definitely recommend this book but I can't say it's really a fun read. Jude's life is quite painful to read about. Hardy seems almost sadistic in the way he beats his protagonist down. It's a good novel, just not a fun one unless you're one for schadenfreude. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Brynbrunner | 4/7/2011

    " Not a fun read. Slow. Not great. "

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About the Author
Author Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), English poet, dramatist, and novelist, was born on the Egdon Heath in Dorset. He studied in Dorchester and apprenticed to an architect before leaving for London, where he began to write. Unable to find a public for his poetry, which idealized the rural life, he turned to the novel and met with success as well as controversy. The strong public reaction against some of his darker themes turned him back to writing verse. Today several of his novels are considered masterpieces of tragedy.

About the Narrators

Stephen Thorne trained at RADA and played several seasons with the Old Vic Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and London. He has worked extensively in radio, with over two thousand broadcasts for the BBC, including Uncle Mort in the Radio 4 comedy series and the part of Treebeard in The Lord of the Rings. His television work includes EastEnders, Boys from the Bush, Death of an Expert Witness, and David Copperfield.

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.