The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native

3.8 43
by Thomas Hardy
     
 

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This fine novel sets in opposition two of Thomas Hardy’s most unforgettable creations: his heroine, the sensuous, free-spirited Eustacia Vye, and the solemn, majestic stretch of upland in Dorsetshire he called Egdon Heath. The famous opening reveals the haunting power of that dark, forbidding moor where proud Eustacia fervently awaits a clandestine

Overview

This fine novel sets in opposition two of Thomas Hardy’s most unforgettable creations: his heroine, the sensuous, free-spirited Eustacia Vye, and the solemn, majestic stretch of upland in Dorsetshire he called Egdon Heath. The famous opening reveals the haunting power of that dark, forbidding moor where proud Eustacia fervently awaits a clandestine meeting with her lover, Damon Wildeve. But Eustacia’s dreams of escape are not to be realized—neither Wildeve nor the returning native Clym Yeobright can bring her salvation.

Injured by forces beyond their control, Hardy’s characters struggle vainly in the net of destiny. In the end, only the face of the lonely heath remains untouched by fate in this masterpiece of tragic passion, a tale that perfectly epitomizes the author’s own unique and melancholy genius.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is the quality Hardy shares with the great writers...this setting behind the small action the terrific action of unfathomed nature."—D. H. Lawrence
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.
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:
9780553212693
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/1982
Series:
Hardy New Wessex Editions Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
321,248
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
1040L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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 apparent 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.

Meet the Author

Thomas Hardy, whose writing immortalized the Wessex countryside and dramatized his sense of the inevitable tragedy of life, was born at Upper Bockhampton, near Stinsford 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 his 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 Maddening Crowd, published serially and anonymously in the Cornhill Magazine, became a great success. Hardy married Emma Gifford in 1878, and in 1885 they settled at Max Gate in Dorchester, where he lived the rest of his life. There he had 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 1869 that he would never write fiction ever again. He published Wessex Poems in 1898, Poems of the Past and Present in 1901, and from 1903 to 1908, The Dynast, 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 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 live 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 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all, I just have to say...WHOA! What a deep, intriguing novel! Loved it all the way. Anyways, let's get to the review part. This novel is, for the most part, a tale of love distorted. The story pivots around five central characters. Eustacia Vye (a sexy, flirtatious muse lusting for vibrant city-life), Clym Yeobright (an intelligent young man who returns from Paris to relax in his native town, and weds the gorgeous Eustacia), Diggory Venn (the shy, shadowman of the novel, obsessively in love with Thomasin, he becomes her guardian angel in a sense that he refuses to allow any harm to come to her), Thomasin (Clym's cousin, who is delicate and innocent and mistakingly weds Damon), and Damon Wildeve (basically a 'player' who impulsively weds Thomasin when it appears that his passionate affair with Eustacia has fizzled). At last, all of these emotions boil over and result in a dynamic climax goading us towards a subtle, relieving ending. This book was embroidered with human sentiment and stenciled in sheer love. Can one ever tell where the heart truly leads? I don't know...but this book certainly opens up some doors.
mdee63 More than 1 year ago
I couldn't stop thinking about the characters after reading the book. Read to stimulate the brain. I enjoyed it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has one of the most brilliant tragic heroines of all time. It is beautifully written and every detail is meaningful. Read it for sure!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In my senior year of high school, I was made to read this novel. I was reluctant at first but I did not have to read very far before I was completely immersed in the plot. I could not put it down and then I wanted to read it again when I was done. It is a tragic love story, but it is not as cliche as Romeo and Juliet has become and is more unpredictable. My favorite book of all time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I actually purchased this on CD for the sole reason that it was narrated by Alan Rickman. He has a marvelous voice. I didn't know much about the story but was drawn in by his portrayal of the many characters in the story. The voices he uses for each character are unique and I knew which character he was speaking as when listening to the story. The first chapter, might put people off as it describes Egdon Heath in great detail. I listened to it twice as it was confusing. Once the human characters entered the scene, it just drew me in. Hardy writes with much detail in this story. I felt I knew and understood the characters and miss them now that the story has concluded. I would hope that Alan Rickman reads another book - makes it all the better!
Guest More than 1 year ago
You'd expect Hardy to be something English students have to suffer through, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. A pleasant surprise. Eustacia and Clym are far from the stereotypical repressed Englishfolk. I actually related to this and it was surprisingly suspenseful!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoy many of the works by Hardy but this one I am indifferent to. The beginning was not as easy read and boring at times. The actual story line was very interesting and the ending an utter dissapointment. The ending seemed to cliche frmo any other romantic tragedy. Through it all I enjoy Hardy's writing style and focus on character development along descriptions on pretty much everything.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've always admired Thomas Hardy's work. This book has a plot that is very well developed. Like most the books, the beginning is hard to get through. But I liked the ending very much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hardy's masterpiece is perhaps the best description in a novel in English litterature. With the vivid image of the heath coupled with the absorbing plot, and characters whom excite, facinate and annoy (in the case of Clym) Rotn certainly is a timeless classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i personaly thought that the book contained a very interesting plot. the whol ei dea of the woman that wishes to leave and not capable f leaving. she needs a man to help her but in everyway she would find one. even if she has to marry him.
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comett More than 1 year ago
Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native (1878) is heavy wading for the first sixty odd pages. Description of geography (a depressing rural heath) is augmented by a greyish fall mood, perhaps a harbinger for the disappointments to be experienced by several characters whose desire to secure what they have yet to attain contrasts with their lack of appreciation for what they have. Nevertheless, the novel improves as emphasis shifts to the interconnected romantic intrigues of five characters, beginning with Diggory Venn, a reddleman who is honest, honourable, and kind. Regrettably, his love for the ill treated Thomasin Yeobright at the beginning of the novel goes unrequited as she loves caddish Damon Wildeve, a trained engineer who left that profession years prior and currently owns and manages a local inn/ public house. Wildeve, for his part, pines for the reclusive, eccentric, and beautiful Eustacia Vye, who is not well known or liked within the community and is erroneously thought by some to be a witch. But in fairness to the locals, Eustacia is very much to the manor born and considers herself superior to those around her. Also, her love for Wildeve, such as it is while he remains a challenge, vanishes when he comes to her cap in hand, in part because she has concluded that Thomasin's cousin, the returning native, Clym Yeobright, is better positioned to spirit her away to a more cosmopolitan location. But alas, Clym, despite being successfully employed for years in Paris as a manager for a diamond merchant, does not respect his work and wants to accomplish more for humanity, perhaps by remaining home and establishing a school, which he hopes will ultimately improve the lot of his community. At this point, readers may be forgiven if they conclude that a relationship between Eustacia and Clym is a mere point of intersection between two individuals heading in different directions----- a dilemma compounded by Clym's mother, whose disapproval brings destructive consequences. As a romance, The Return of the Native is true to form with its frustrations, misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and ultimate triumphs. It is an entertaining read and, in my opinion, preferable to Far From the Madding Crowd (1874) and The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886). On a concluding note, this work is highly recommended for fans of well crafted (and tragic) romantic plots with thoroughly developed characters, some likeable, others not. It remains one of the great English literary classics and a welcome addition to university level 19th century literature courses.
BeckyNC More than 1 year ago
It took a bit for me to get up to speed with some of the wording but loving the story and the descriptions are incredible. Like Cold Mountain put me in the Carolina Mtns. this book puts me on the Scottish Heath.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The scan is not so bad as the first reviewer makes out. It is far from perfect, because the scan process uses OCR to convert the words to text; it is not a photographic image. Because of this, certain abberations occur, such as an apostrophe being changed to a '7' in a number of places. But the text is easily readable for the most part. If one is reading the book for a course in literature, I would not recommend it. (I noted a sentence just before the start of Chapter IV 'The Halt on the Turnpike Road' which ended with the words "and the two women descended the tumulus." In my old paperback version of this book, the same sentence ends with "and the two women descended the barrow.") For pleasurable reading, though, the scan of this book is just fine. (Please note, if reading for pleasure, the first 20 pages or so consist of boring descriptions! If you can weather those pages, you'll find that the story picks up and is more enjoyable.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bad Scan Like so many of the free books available for the Nook, this book is very poorly scanned. Pagination and printing is off. I love Thomas Hardy ¿ but this is not the way to read him. It is not worth the trouble, and I am deleting it. I guess you really do get what you pay for¿
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