The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native

3.5 16
by Thomas Hardy
     
 

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"O deliver my heart from this fearful gloom and loneliness," prays the passionate Eustacia Vye, who detests her life amid the dreary environs of Egdon Heath. With the return of Clym Yeobright from Paris, her escape from the heath and its brooding isolation appears to be at hand. Clym finds in Eustacia the same dark mystery of his native heath, and his irresistible

Overview

"O deliver my heart from this fearful gloom and loneliness," prays the passionate Eustacia Vye, who detests her life amid the dreary environs of Egdon Heath. With the return of Clym Yeobright from Paris, her escape from the heath and its brooding isolation appears to be at hand. Clym finds in Eustacia the same dark mystery of his native heath, and his irresistible attraction to them both leads to a clash of idealism and realism. Thomas Hardy's timeless tale of a romantic misalliance embodies his view of character as fate and underscores the tragic nature of ordinary human lives. Despite his grim outlook, Hardy charms readers with the warmth and vitality of his characters, his loving portraits of the English countryside, and his realistic recreations of local dialect. Shakespearian in its intricate plotting and deft irony, The Return of the Native ranks among the author's greatest works.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A collection of Hardy's poetry and non-fiction prose, containing some 200 of his familiar and less-familiar shorter poems organized by theme, as well as Hardy's own prefaces to volumes of his poems, and his essays on fiction, on the "Dorsetshire laborer," and on an 18th- century execution. Includes explanatory notes, and a brief overview of Hardy's life and work. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher
“Most of Hardy’s novels, and particularly the early ones, have a Shakespearean power of creating a unique world and climate of being . . . The Return of the Native is . . . thoughtful, valedictory, poetic, tinged with the somberness of an uncertainty which seems to well up from the depths of the author’s own subconscious . . . Hardy’s sense of the tragic life of human beings, mere small fragments of consciousness in a vast uncaring universe, comes directly from his own youthful awareness of the place and circumstances described in the novel.” –from the Introduction by John Bayley
Rosemarie Morgan
"Simon Avery's edition of The Return of the Native, Hardy's first great classic, provides a beautifully balanced, meticulously researched resource. Avery's editorial approach is, in every respect, new and fresh – even in his interpretation of the novel's denouement. Offering a wide range of critical perspectives, the compelling Introduction features a rich collection of viewpoints and critiques in a manner so informative, compact, and stylish that exploration becomes the modus operandi within and beyond the plot. In turn, the appendices at the end of the book complement the contextualising of the Introduction and footnotes. A selection of Hardy's other writings in prose and poetry adds textual weight and structural balance overall."
Ralph Pite
"Simon Avery has edited Hardy's The Return of the Native with great skill: his footnotes are detailed and extensive without becoming intrusive; his bibliography of further reading selects judiciously from old and new materials; and he gives a generous range of contemporary materials to help contextualise the book. Alongside the unmistakable nineteenth-century concerns present in Hardy's novel, Avery alerts us to less well-known ones, illuminating in particular Hardy's depiction of Eustacia Vye, who can be seen from this edition as a precursor to Sue Bridehead, the proto-feminist of Jude the Obscure. Distinctively too, Avery includes a selection of Hardy's poetry, helpfully breaking down the barrier between Hardy the novelist and Hardy the poet. In all respects, the volume continues the excellent standard of Broadview Hardy editions."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553210804
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/01/1982
Series:
Critical Editions Series
Pages:
384

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 an apparenttendency 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.


From the Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

THOMAS HARDY, whose writings immortalized the Wessex countryside and dramatized his sense of the inevitable tragedy of life, was born near Egdon Heath in Dorset in 1840, the eldest child of a prosperous stonemason. As a youth he trained as an architect and in 1862 obtained a post in London. During this time he began seriously to write poetry, which remained his first literary love and his last. In 1867-68, his first novel was refused publication, but Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), his first Wessex novel, did well enough to convince him to continue writing. In 1874, Far from the Madding Crowd, published serially and anonymously in the Cornhill Magazine, became a great success. Hardy married Emma Gifford in 1874, and in 1875 they settled at Max Gate in Dorchester, where he lived the rest of his life. There he wrote The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891), and Jude the Obscure (1895). With Tess, Hardy clashed with the expectations of his audience; a storm of abuse broke over the “infidelity” and “obscenity” of this great novel he had subtitled “A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented.” Jude the Obscure aroused even greater indignation and was denounced as pornography. Hardy’s disgust at the reaction to Jude led him to announce in 1896 that he would never write fiction again. He published Wessex Poems in 1898, Poems of the Past and Present in 1901, and from 1903 to 1908, The Dynasts, a huge drama in which Hardy’s conception of the Immanent Will, implicit in the tragic novels, is most clearly stated. In 1912, Hardy’s wife, Emma, died. The marriage was childless and had long been a troubled one, but in the years after her death, Hardy memorialized her in several poems. At seventy-four, he married his longtime secretary, Florence Dugdale, herself a writer of children’s books and articles, with whom he lived happily until his death in 1928. His heart was buried in the Wessex countryside; his ashes were placed next to Charles Dickens’s in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey.

Brief Biography

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

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The Return of the Native (Norton Critical Edition) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mmmhhhhmmmm i saw it. O_____o
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