The story of Jude the Obscure is exciting, emotional, and pretty easy to follow. However, Hardy—like many authors of his time—knows the classics and loves to reference them. This book contains a lot of nods to the Ancients, and it includes a fair amount of Latin. What's more, Hardy uses the love plot at the center of the book to think through a lot of contemporary social and philosophical issues of his day. Don't let that freak you out, though. It's still a great read, even if you aren't super-interested in Hardy's views of church politics.