(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
The Return of the Native is dominated by the brooding presence of Egdon Heath, located in Thomas Hardy’s imaginary Wessex, and in no other book did Hardy’s extraordinary feeling for landscape blend so perfectly with his austere, stoic vision of human fate. Once more he treats his favorite theme of the mismatched couple with masterly pathos and understatement. Eustacia Vye longs to escape from Egdon Heath, but the man she chooses to save her longs to stay. Out of their struggle, the unfulfilled passion of his heroine, and the daily rhythms of late-nineteenth-century rural life, Hardy builds a drama fully worthy of the magnificent stage on which he places it.
In THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE, the story turns on that staple of Victorian literature, a love triangle. Clym Yeobright, the "native" of the title, returns to the countryside where he was born--much as Hardy himself, after a stint in London, returned to his native Dorsetshire to write. Clym falls in love with his cousin, the beautiful but cold Eustacia Vye, who is fatally attracted to the faithless, irresponsible Damon Wildeve. Much of the action is propelled by fate in the form of coincidence, but the characters also have a hand in the catastrophes that befall them. Like much of Hardy's best work, THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE evokes the countryside around Dorset, which Hardy called by the fictional name of Wessex--a landscape that Clym reveres and Eustachia detests and wishes only to escape. The novel was also notable when it was published (in 1878) because its ending does not conform to the Victorial ideal of a happy one with all the ends tied up, and because most of the major characters cannot be termed admirable. However, THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE has always been one of Hardy's most popular novels, and perhaps the one most expressive of his own view of the world.
- Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes
- Classics, Human Qualities + Behavior, Conflicts + Dualities, Family + Friendship, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Types of Characters, Love + Relationships + Sex
- October 1, 1992
- October 1, 1992
- Thomas Hardy