‘Never so nice in your real presence as you are in your letters’: Letters and Desire in Jude the Obscure

  • Karin Koehler


Jude the Obscure (1895) contains nearly eighty references to letters and other types of written messages. As such, it is the most ‘epistolary’ of Hardy’s ‘major’ novels. This chapter will demonstrate that, far from being incidental to the plot, the many written messages in this novel play an integral role in Hardy’s portrayal of the relationship between its two protagonists, conveying the profoundly damaging impact of Victorian attitudes toward the human body and sexual desire.


Psychic Distance Sexual Politics Animal Passion Real Presence Sexual Ideology 
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© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karin Koehler
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of St AndrewsGlasgowUK

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