The Return of the Native combines all of the great themes of Thomas Hardy's works. Wonderful descriptions of the English countryside underscore a rural tale of doomed love, passion, and melancholy. The novel opens with the famous portrait of Egdon Heath, the wild, haunted Wessex moor that D. H. Lawrence called 'the real stuff of tragedy' of the book. The heath's changing face mirrors the fortunes of the farmers, innkeepers, sons, mothers, and lovers that populate the novel. The 'native' is Clym Yeobright, coming home from a successful, cosmopolitan life in Paris, a place far removed from the unforgiving landscape of Egdon Heath. He finds that his cousin, Thomasin, is about to marry Damon Wildeve, a rakish and confused man with a lover, Eustacia Vye, whom he cannot forget. Eustacia is willful, ambitious, and dangerously alluring. Hardy describes her as 'the raw material of a divinity. . . . She had Pagan eyes, full of nocturnal mysteries.' As the characters are drawn together, they scheme and maneuver, often under the eye of Diggory Venn, the reddleman whose relentless virtue must find its reward at the violent climax of the novel.
The Return of the Native was first published in Belgravia magazine in twelve parts in 1878 and revised by Hardy in 1895 and in 1912, when he produced the definitive Wessex Edition of all of his novels. Described on publication by Harper's magazine as 'delightful reading,' it has retained its power to move and absorb the reader and stands with The Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude the Obscure among the finest of Hardy's works.
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|Title of eBook: The Return of the Native|
|Release Date: 11-01-2000|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The Return of the Native
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 coul...