A Lover's Complaint: A Poem (HarperPerennial Classics) by William Shakespeare

By William Shakespeare

A tender girl tells of her seduction and abandoment through a tender guy who proves to be unworthy of her attraction and sweetness.

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1895 Jude the Obscure appears after it is serialized in Harper舗s New Monthly Magazine as The Simpletons and Enduring Hearts. Like Tess, Jude is highly controversial. It is Hardy舗s last novel, and he turns to poetry. 1904 Hardy舗s mother dies. 舡 1914 Hardy marries his longtime secretary, Florence Dugdale. The onset of World War I causes Hardy intense sadness and disillusionment. 1919 Collected Poems is published. 1920 Hardy is celebrated in England and abroad on his eightieth birthday. 1928 Hardy dies of a heart attack on January 11 at Max Gate.

Jude舗s response captures the pessimism of tragedy based on natural law: 舠Nothing can be done.... Things are as they are, and will be brought to their destined issue舡 (p. 348). Here Jude is quoting from the chorus of the ancient Greek tragedy Agamemnon, by Aeschylus, borrowing directly from a Hellenic pessimism that is one of the novel舗s most prevalent resources. The educated fatalism of the sentence stems as well from Jude舗s realization that his grief is the progeny of the sexual instinct that led him to Arabella.

As a boy Hardy read widely in the popular fiction of the day including the novels of Scott, Dumas, Dickens, W Harrison Ainsworth, and G. P. R. James, and in the poetry of Scott, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and others. Strongly influenced by the Bible and the liturgy of the Anglican Church in his youth, Hardy later contemplated a career in the ministry; but his assimilation of the new theories of Darwinian evolutionism eventually made him an agnostic and a severe critic of the limitations of traditional religion.

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