‘All Creation Groaning’: A Deaf Ear to Music in Jude the Obscure

  • Mark Asquith


Having read the ‘terribly sensible advice’ contained in the letter of T. Tetuphenay, the disheartened Jude entered a local Christminster tavern:

He stood at a bar and tossed off two or three glasses, then unconsciously sauntered along till he came to a spot called The Fourways in the middle of the city, gazing abstractedly at the groups of people like one in a trance, till, coming to himself, he began talking to the policeman fixed there.

That officer yawned, [and] stretched…

Here the two sexes had met for loving, hating, coupling, parting; had waited, had suffered, for each other; had triumphed over each other; cursed each other in jealousy, blessed each other in forgiveness.

[Jude] began to see that the town life was a book of humanity infinitely more palpitating, varied, and compendious than the gown life. These struggling men and women before him were the reality of Christminster….

He had tapped the real Christminster life. A band was playing, and the crowd walked about and jostled each other, and every now and then a man got upon a platform and sang a comic song. (pp. 138–139)


Instrumental Music Voice Tone Sexual Impulse Musicalised Noise Church Bell 
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  1. 3.
    John Hughes Lines of Flight: Reading Deleuze with Hardy, Gissing, Conrad, Woolf (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997), pp. 93–95. He draws our attention to the use of definite articles in the scene.Google Scholar
  2. 20.
    Al Alvarez, ‘Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure’, in Beyond all this Fiddle: Essays, 1955–1967 (London: Allen Lane, Penguin Publishing, 1968), pp. 178–201 (p. 185).Google Scholar

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© Mark Asquith 2005

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  • Mark Asquith

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