HARDY, Thomas. Jude the Obscure. London: Osgood, McIlvaine, and Co., 1896 [but 1895].
8o. Frontispiece plate by Henry Macbeth-Raeburn and map of Wessex bound at end. Original green cloth, gilt-decorated on front cover, spine gilt-lettered, top edge gilt (front hinge repaired, rear hinge starting, some minor rubbing); IN THE RARE PRINTED DUST JACKET (chipped with some loss, backed with silk to reinforce some short tears and chips); quarter morocco folding case. Provenance: Mary Anna Curzon, The Duchess of Abercorn (1848-1929) (presentation inscription from the author, letter from Hardy tipped to front pastedown); Carroll Atwood Wilson (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM, FIRST STATE, PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed by Hardy on the front free endpaper: "To the Duchess of Abercorn, from Thomas Hardy. November, 1895." Tipped to the front pastedown is an autograph letter signed from Hardy to the Duchess, dated November 4, 1895, in which he offers this copy to her and writes: "Even if you do not like it you will, I am sure, understand and sympathize with the shadowy personages it concerns," and Hardy also refers to their conversation at Lady Jeune's in 1893 in which they appeared have discussed divorce.
Jude the Obscure was first published serially in Harper's New Monthly Magazine from December 1894 to November 1895, having been heavily edited by Hardy in order to ensure it was suitable for a family audience. He restored it to its original state in August 1895, and the novel was published in book form on 1 November 1895. Discouraged by the outraged response to the story and tired of being misread, Hardy devoted the rest of his career to writing of poetry and published no further novels. COPIES IN THE DUST JACKET ARE VERY RARE. Purdy, pp. 86-91; Sadleir 1108; Wolff 2979.