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."?


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).

  • 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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