The Return of the Native (Norton Critical Edition) / Edition 2

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Overview

This Second Edition reprints the text of the authoritative 1912 Macmillan Wessex Edition.
It is accompanied by more than 500 editorial footnotes, many new to this edition, that provide essential historical background and glossing of dialect words. Also new to the Second Edition are the twelve illustrations from the novel’s first serial publication and Hardy’s "Sketch Map of the Scene of the Story," which accompanied the 1878 edition. Again included is the "Map of Wessex of the Novels and Poems" from the 1912 Macmillan Wessex Edition of The Mayor of Casterbridge.
Backgrounds and Contexts provides a useful "Glossary of Dialect Words" as well as four essays on the textual and publication history of the novel—including pieces by Simon Gatrell and Andrew Nash—all of which are newly included. Also included are six of Hardy’s nonfiction writings on the dialect in the novel, the reading of fiction, and his correspondence, five of which are new to this edition.
Criticism provides a selection of contemporary reviews that suggest The Return of the Native’s initial reception as well nine of the most influential modern essays on the novel, by Gillian Beer, D. H. Lawrence, Michael Wheeler, Rosemarie Morgan, Donald Davidson, John Peterson, Richard Swigg, Pamela Dalziel, and Jennifer Gribble.
A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393927870
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 987,611
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), enduring author of the twentieth century, wrote the classics Jude the Obscure, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and many other works.

Phillip Mallett is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of St. Andrews. He is the author of chapters and articles on a number of Victorian and earlier writers, and editor of several texts and collections of essays, including Kipling Considered, Rudyard Kipling: Limits and Renewals, A Spacious Vision: Essays on Thomas Hardy (with Ronald Draper), Satire, The Achievement of Thomas Hardy, and the Norton Critical Edition of The Mayor of Casterbridge, Second Edition.

Biography

Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840, in the village of Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester, a market town in the county of Dorset. Hardy would spend much of his life in his native region, transforming its rural landscapes into his fictional Wesses. Hardy's mother, Jemima, inspired him with a taste for literature, while his stonemason father, Thomas, shared with him a love of architecture and music (the two would later play the fiddle at local dances). As a boy Hardy read widely in the popular fiction of the day, including the novels of Scott, Dumas, Dickens, W. Harrison Ainsworth, and G.P.R. James, and in the poetry of Scott, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and others. Strongly influenced in his youth by the Bible and the liturgy of the Anglican Church, Hardy later contemplated a career in the ministry; but his assimilation of the new theories of Darwinian evolutionism eventually made him an agnostic and a severe critic of the limitations of traditional religion.

Although Hardy was a gifted student at the local schools he attended as a boy for eight years, his lower-class social origins limited his further educational opportunities. At sixteen, he was apprenticed to architect James Hicks in Dorchester and began an architectural career primarily focused on the restoration of churches. In Dorchester Hardy was also befriended by Horace Moule, eight years Hardy's senior, who acted as an intellectual mentor and literary adviser throughout his youth and early adulthood. From 1862 to 1867 hardy worked in London for the distinguished architect Arthur Blomfeld, but he continued to study -- literature, art, philosophy, science, history, the classics -- and to write, first poetry and then fiction.

In the early 1870s Hardy's first two published novels, Desperate Remedies and Under the Greenwood Tree, appeared to little acclaim or sales. With his third novel, A Pair of Blue Eyes, he began the practice of serializing his fiction in magazines prior to book publication, a method that he would utilize throughout his career as a novelist. In 1874, the year of his marriage to Emma Gifford of St. Juliot, Cornwall, Hardy enjoyed his first significant commercial and critical success with the book publication of Far from the Madding Crowd after its serialization in the Cornhill Magazine. Hardy and his wife lived in several locations in London, Dorset, and Somerset before settling in South London for three years in 1878. During the late 1870s and early 1880s, Hardy published The Return of the Native, The Trumpet-Major, A Laodicean, and Two on a Tower while consolidating his pace as a leading contemporary English novelist. He would also eventually produce four volumes of short stories: Wessex Tales, A Group of Noble Dames, Life's Little Ironies, and A Changed Man.

In 1883, Hardy and his wife moved back to Dorchester, where Hardy wrote The Mayor of Casterbridge, set in a fictionalized version of Dorchester, and went on to design and construct a permanent home for himself, named Max Gate, completed in 1885. In the later 1880s and early 1890s Hardy wrote three of his greatest novels, The Woodlanders, Tess of the d'Urbevilles, and Jude the Obscure, all of them notable for their remarkable tragic power. The latter two were initially published as magazine serials in which Hardy removed potentially objectionable moral and religious content, only to restore it when the novels were published in book form; both novels nevertheless aroused public controversy for their criticisms of Victorian sexual and religious mores. In particular, the appearance of Jude the Obscure in 1895 precipitated harsh attacks on Hardy's alleged pessimism and immorality; the attacks contributed to his decision to abandon the writing of fiction after the appearance of his last-published novel, The Well-Beloved.

In the later 1890s Hardy returned to the writing of poetry that he had abandoned for fiction thirty years earlier. Wessex Poems appeared in 1898, followed by several volumes of poetry at regular intervals over the next three decades. Between 1904 and 1908 Hardy published a three-part epic verse drama, The Dynasts, based on the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century. Following the death of his first wife in 1912, Hardy married his literary secretary Florence Dugdale in 1914. Hardy received a variety of public honors in the last two decades of his life and continued to publish poems until his death at Max Gate on January 11, 1928. His ashes were interred in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey in London and his heart in Stinsford outside Dorchester. Regarded as one of England's greatest authors of both fiction and poetry, Hardy has inspired such notable twentieth-century writers as Marcel Proust, John Cowper Powys, D. H. Lawrence, Theodore Dreiser, and John Fowles.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Far from the Madding Crowd.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      June 2, 1840
    2. Place of Birth:
      Higher Brockhampon, Dorset, England
    1. Date of Death:
      January 11, 1928
    2. Place of Death:
      Max Gate, Dorchester, England
    1. Education:
      Served as apprentice to architect James Hicks

Read an Excerpt

A SATURDAY afternoon in November was approaching the time of twilight, and the vast tract of unenclosed wild known as Egdon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment. Overhead the hollow stretch of whitish cloud shutting out the sky was as a tent which had the whole heath for its floor.

The heaven being spread with this pallid screen and the earth with the darkest vegetation, their meeting-line at the horizon was clearly marked. In such contrast the heath wore the appearance of an instalment of night which had taken up its place before its astronomical hour was come: darkness had to a great extent arrived hereon, while day stood distinct in the sky. Looking upwards, a furze-cutter would have been inclined to continue work; looking down, he would have decided to finish his faggot and go home. The distant rims of the world and of the firmament seemed to be a division in time no less than a division in matter. The face of the heath by its mere complexion added half an hour to evening; it could in like manner retard the dawn, sadden noon, anticipate the frowning of storms scarcely generated, and intensify the opacity of a moonless midnight to a cause of shaking dread.

In fact, precisely at this transitional point of its nightly roll into darkness the great and particular glory of the Egdon waste began, and nobody could be said to understand the heath who had not been there at such a time. It could best be felt when it could not clearly be seen, its complete effect and explanation lying in this and the succeeding hours before the next dawn: then, and only then, did it tell its true tale. The spot was, indeed, a near relation of night, and when night showed itself anapparent tendency to gravitate together could be perceived in its shades and the scene. The sombre stretch of rounds and hollows seemed to rise and meet the evening gloom in pure sympathy, the heath exhaling darkness as rapidly as the heavens precipitated it. And so the obscurity in the air and the obscurity in the land closed together in a black fraternization towards which each advanced half-way.

The place became full of a watchful intentness now; for when other things sank brooding to sleep the heath appeared slowly to awake and listen. Every night its Titanic form seemed to await something; but it had waited thus, unmoved, during so many centuries, through the crises of so many things, that it could only be imagined to await one last crisis—the final overthrow.

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Table of Contents

Book 1 The Three Women
I. A Face on Which Time Makes But Little Impression 1
II. Humanity Appears upon the Scene, Hand in Hand with Trouble 4
III. The Custom of the Country 9
IV. The Halt on the Turnpike Road 25
V. Perplexity among Honest People 29
VI. The Figure against the Sky 39
VII. Queen of Night 49
VIII. Those Who Are Found Where There Is Said to Be Nobody 54
IX. Love Leads a Shrewd Man into Strategy 58
X. A Desperate Attempt at Persuasion 65
XI. The Dishonesty of an Honest Woman 72
Book 2 The Arrival
I. Tidings of the Comer 79
II. The People at Blooms-End Make Ready 83
III. How a Little Sound Produced a Great Dream 86
IV. Eustacia Is Led on to an Adventure 89
V. Through the Moonlight 97
VI. The Two Stand Face to Face 102
VII. A Coalition Between Beauty and Oddness 111
VIII. Firmness Is Discovered in a Gentle Heart 118
Book 3 The Fascination
I. "My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is" 127
II. The New Course Causes Disappointment 131
III. The First Act in a Timeworn Drama 137
IV. An Hour of Bliss and Many Hours of Sadness 148
V. Sharp Words Are Spoken, and a Crisis Ensues 154
VI. Yeobright Goes, and the Breach Is Complete 159
VII. The Morning and the Evening of a Day 165
VIII. A New Force Disturbs the Current 175
Book 4 The Closed Door
I. The Rencounter by the Pool 183
II. He Is Set upon by Adversities; But He Sings a Song 188
III. She Goes Out to Battle Against Depression 196
IV. Rough Coercion Is Employed 205
V. The Journey Across the Health 211
VI. A Conjuncture, and Its Result upon the Pedestrian 214
VII. The Tragic Meeting of Two Old Friends 222
VIII. Eustacia Hears of Good Fortune and Beholds Evil 228
Book 5 The Discovery
I. "Wherefore Is Light Given to Him That Is in Misery" 235
II. A Lurid Light Breaks in Upon a Darkened Understanding 241
III. Eustacia Dresses Herself on a Black Morning 248
IV. The Ministrations of a Half-Forgotten One 254
V. An Old Move Inadvertently Repeated 258
VI. Thomasin Argues with Her Cousin, and He Writes a Letter 263
VII. The Night of the Sixth of November 268
VIII. Rain, Darkness, and Anxious Wanderers 274
IX. Sights and Sounds Draw the Wanderers Together 282
Book 6 Aftercourses
I. The Inevitable Movement Onward 291
II. Thomasin Walks in a Green Place by the Roman Road 298
III. The Serious Discourse of Clym with His Cousin 300
IV. Cheerfulness Again Asserts Itself at Blooms-End, and Clym Finds His Vocation 304
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Reading Group Guide

1. What does Egdon Heath symbolize to you? How does each character relate to the heath? To what extent does the landscape control the actions of the characters or influence them? How do the characters resist or succumb to the landscape? What is the role of urban life in the novel?

2. Discuss Clym's spiritual odyssey. How does it shed light on Hardy's concerns in the novel? Would you describe Clym as idealistic? How does his attitude compare to that of the people of Egdon Heath or that of Eustacia?

3. Why does Eustacia hate Egdon Heath? Is she too headstrong? How much control does Eustacia have over events that shape her life? Over the lives of others? Do you think Eustacia symbolizes human limitation or potential? Do you think her death is a reconciliation of sorts, or not?

4. Discuss the role of fate or chance in the novel. Is Hardy sympathetic to the victims of chance in this novel? To what extent are events caused by the force of a character's personality (e. g., Eustacia), rather than by chance? To what extent do actions produce results opposite from that desired? Do you think there is a connection between this use of irony and the role of fate in the novel?

5. Discuss the novel's opening scene, in which Hardy describes Egdon Heath. How does this establish the emotional tone of the book? How does it foreshadow the action within the novel?

6. Why is Eustacia interested in Clym? How does this set the wheels of the plot in motion? How does this affect the other characters, like Thomasin and particularly Clym's mother? What is Wildeve's role in Mrs. Yeobright's fate?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Get a pink ipad

    Kiss your hand three times post this on three other books and look under your pillow

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2012

    I see whatcha did there

    Mmmhhhhmmmm i saw it. O_____o

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    I know what happened here...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    To april

    Whateves i witnessed it jerk! I watched as they kissed and alex sat on dylans stomach and whatever they did next. So there "ape"ril!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    Dylan to alex

    Hey you there

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Alex

    Yup

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