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I was reading Jude the Obscure, and I came across this line in Part First, VI:

"...I must save money, and I will; and one of those colleges shall open its doors to me—shall welcome whom now it would spurn, if I wait twenty years for the welcome.
"I'll be D.D. before I have done!"

What does this mean? What is "D.D."?

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Doctor of Divinity.

The context is Jude ambitiously planning out his future life as an academic clergyman in Christminster (Oxford). From the same passage:

And then he continued to dream, and thought he might become even a bishop by leading a pure, energetic, wise, Christian life. [...]

["]Yes, Christminster shall be my Alma Mater; and I'll be her beloved son, in whom she shall be well pleased."

If he succeeds in getting into Christminster to study theology, he might well aspire to become a D.D. or Doctor of Divinity.

See also the following passage from "A Tragedy of Two Ambitions", a short story available here which bears some resemblances to Jude the Obscure and has been described as a "short story prelude" to the novel:

‘You’ll be a bishop, Joshua, before you have done!’

‘Ah!’ said the other bitterly, shaking his head. ‘Perhaps I might have been — I might have been! But where is my D.D. or LL.D.; and how be a bishop without that kind of appendage? Archbishop Tillotson was the son of a Sowerby clothier, but he was sent to Clare College. To hail Oxford or Cambridge as alma mater is not for me — for us! My God! when I think of what we should have been — what fair promise has been blighted by that cursed, worthless —’

Here again we see an ambitious youth referring to the D.D. and LL.D in his hope to become a successful academic at Oxford or Cambridge (here referred to by name rather than as part of Hardy's fictionalised Wessex).

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  • Interesting paraphrase of Matthew 3:17/Mark 1:11/Luke 3:17 in that first quoted section. (Those three verses all effectively say "And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.", or thereabouts.) – Ash Feb 3 '18 at 19:40
  • @Ash Ooh, nice! That's a very subtle way (along with all the more in-your-face ways, of course) of showing how Jude veritably worships the idea of Christminster in everything he says and does. – Rand al'Thor Feb 3 '18 at 19:44

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