Like “ Tess of the D'Urbervilles,” the story of “Jude the Obscure” is a manifestation of the author's later manner—a manner which is a natural and almost inevitable development in a writer who possesses Mr. Hardy's extraordinary capacity for observation, profound knowledge of human nature, and philosophical ideas concerning the problem of existence. Mr. Hardy has never been an author to write novels merely for the purpose of providing entertainment, or for illustrating in more or less persuasive form some preconceived didactic proposition. He has been content to take men and women as they are, and no one in English fiction—possibly no one in the whole range of modern literature—has been able to surpass him in depicting the reaction of circumstances upon character. In this carefully reasoned, closely woven narrative of “ Jude the Obscure” he sets before us the entirely natural and consistent experiences of two sensitive and impulsive creatures, who have been profoundly and disastrously affected by the changes in popular thought regarding ideals of religious faith and personal conduct; who, yielding to their thoroughly undisciplined emotions, work out for themselves a destiny full of bitterness and sorrow. It has been said that Mr. Hardy is not a writer to work on preconceived theories,but he certainly has some effective doctrines regarding the behavior of the two sexes under similar conditions, and when one comes to analyze this story one finds that a settled conviction underlies its entire texture, and this conviction is that misfortunes and disappointments, which soften the heart of man and tend to make him more considerate and charitable in his dealings with his fellows, have as a rule a contrary effect upon the heart of a woman.