Thomas Hardy

Having just seen one of the Harry Potter movies I entered into a conversation with my wife and step daughter about how they were able to graduate from High School without reading Thomas Hardy (The last two Doctor Who actors were in the film Jude the Obscure; the last Dr. Who was in Harry Potter and the Thingamajig of Fire.)

So, have you read Jude the Obscure or Tess of the d’Urbervilles?

The latter. Had to in HS senior English class. Also, “Return of the Native”.

Sadly. Hardy is a favorite of a former English lit major I know whose taste I otherwise respect, but I cannot fucking stand that misery-wallow of a book. Read it while listening to Lou Reed’s Berlin and you’re liable to spontaneously slit your own wrists at any given moment.

It was not assigned reading in High School however - we got Milton, Austen, the sisters Bronte and Dickinson, but no Hardy. I read it on my own in my twenties.

I read Tess and Far From the Madding Crowd as college assignments. I enjoyed both thoroughly.

Along with Zola’s Germinal, Jude the Obscure is one of my two favorite classic lit novels for exactly the reason Tamerlane can’t fucking stand them…

I read Tess in a 2 day marathon session when I was 16. I was a working student at a horse farm and I’d been thrown twice in one day; I was so stiff and sore I was given the day off. It had not been assigned, there just weren’t a lot of choices on the farm’s bookshelves. I found it engrossing.

I read Jude the Obscure in college, also not assigned. I picked it up used remembering how much I had enjoyed Tess of the D’urbervilles. I found it extremely depressing and a bit slow.

I had to do a term paper on Jude the Obscure in high school. I hated it with a passion. I don’t hate it as much now, but I have never felt any urge to read any of Hardy’s other works.

My only exposure to Hardy has been from Monty Python.


It’s kinda interesting to me, as I’m on the opposite side of the argument when it comes to the small horde of Catcher in the Rye haters that hang out in Cafe Society. CitR isn’t a absolute favorite by any means, but I always have had a sneaking fondness for it, despite the irritating qualities of the main character.

But Jude the Obscure…I can recognize the talent, but…ugh…it’s just too much of a slog for me to enjoy.

ETA: And I do like Lou Reed’s Berlin ;).

I’ve read both.

Read Tess senior year of high school (and The Mayor of Casterbridge junior year). I don’t recall either particularly liking or particularly disliking either, but in retrospect, I think Tess is something of a misery-wallow. (And I don’t like misery-wallows.)

Read Jude the Obscure about ten years ago, on the recommendation of a then-girlfriend who read it for a Lit. class. Found it definitely worth reading, but not a favorite. Tragedy is not my favorite genre.

I do like some of his poetry.

I was supposed to read Tess in high school, but just couldn’t get through it. So I watched the movie version (starring Nastassja Kinski) instead.

Yes, and Madding. I don’t particularly like the cliffhanger at every chapter end style of Tess or Madding. Jude the Obscure was just about intolerable due to wanting to smack someone throughout. Come to think of it, I’d like to smack Tess a time or two as well. Not a Hardy fan, I guess.

As a science major, I did tons more literature reading in high school than college. I took Brit Lit as an elective and that’s it. AP credits covered the rest.

Read Tess, Jude, Mayor of Casterbridge, Far from the Madding Crowd, Under the Greenwood Tree(which, yay! ends happi-ish), The Woodlanders and Return of the Native, all in my middle 20s. I was going through a Hardy phase after my D.H Lawrence phase.

Got part way through Tess. Was just too much like hard work.

How come you are still alive?

I was never given anything by Thomas Hardy to read in school. It’s no surprise when you consider that even though our schools were named after two famous people that were authors, no teacher ever taught their role in history or had us read anything written by them. I think that is a good example of how our schools teach. I’ve read pieces of Thomas Hardy in the last couple years, but I don’t care for his stuff.

I liked Tess! I gave it to my mother to read, and SHE liked Tess, too!

I read most of Jude the Obscure but found it one of the most tragic and depressing things I ever read. I knew the ending but couldn’t read it and had to put it down. There was a PBS version starring Kate Winslet that had me near tears.

I read and loathed Tess, but The Mayor of Casterbridge ranks as one of my 10 most despised books ever. IMHO Hardy man couldn’t write a shopping list.

I had to read Tess in high school, and hated it because it was just too depressing. I haven’t felt the inclination to read any other Hardy.

While I’ve always been an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction, the assignments in my high school English courses seemed to designed to put people off literature entirely, they were just so tragic and depressing. Tess of the D’Urbervilles, McTeague, Great Expectations, The Jungle.

Now I know these books may have their virtues as literature, but I think they are better read as an adult. If you’re trying to turn a high school sophomore on to reading, for god’s sake pick something a little more upbeat.