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The Return of the Native (Penguin Classics)by Thomas Hardy
Synopses & Reviews
‘You are ambitious, Eustacia – no not exactly ambitious, luxurious. I ought to be of the same vein, to make you happy, I suppose’
Tempestuous Eustacia Vye passes her days dreaming of passionate love and the escape it may bring from the small community of Egdon Heath. Hearing that Clym Yeobright is to return from Paris, she sets her heart on marrying him, believing that through him she can leave rural life and find fulfilment elsewhere. But she is to be disappointed, for Clym has dreams of his own, and they have little in common with Eustacia’s. Their unhappy marriage causes havoc in the lives of those close to them, in particular Damon Wildeve, Eustacia’s former lover, Clym’s mother and his cousin Thomasin. The Return of the Native illustrates the tragic potential of romantic illusion and how its protagonists fail to recognize their opportunities to control their own destinies.
Penny Boumelha’s introduction examines the classical and mythological references and the interplay of class and sexuality in the novel. This edition, essentially Hardy’s original book version of the novel, also includes notes, a glossary, chronology and bibliography.
The story of Eustacia Vye, Thomasin and mistress Yeobright, and the men who influence and alter their lives - Diggory Venn the Reddleman, Damon Wildeve and the returning "native", Clym Yeobright. It is set in Egdon Heath whose lowering, titanic presence dominates the men and women who live on it.
One of Hardy's classic statements about modern love, courtship, and marriage, The Return of the Native is set in the pastoral village of Egdon Heath. The fiery Eustacia Vye, wishing only for passionate love, believes that her escape from Egdon lies in her marriage to Clym Yeobright, the returning "native, " home from Paris and discontented with his work there. Clym wishes to remain in Egdon, however — a desire that sets him in opposition to his wife and brings them both to despair. Behind the narrative of The Return of the Native lie the tragic fates of Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Oedipus, and in writing the novel Hardy endowed his ordinary characters with the status of tragic heroes, seen especially in the ill-fated lovers and Damon Wildeve, who spoil their chances to master their own destinies. The Introduction and Notes featured in this new edition incorporate the most up-to-date scholarship on Thomas Hardy.
Includes bibliographical references (p. xxxvii-xxxviii).
About the Author
Thomas Hardy was born on June 2, 1840. In his writing, he immortalized the site of his birth—Egdon Heath, in Dorset, near Dorchester. Delicate as a child, he was taught at home by his mother before he attended grammar school. At sixteen, Hardy was apprenticed to an architect, and for many years, architecture was his profession; in his spare time, he pursued his first and last literary love, poetry. Finally convinced that he could earn his living as an author, he retired from architecture, married, and devoted himself to writing. An extremely productive novelist, Hardy published an important book every year or two. In 1896, disturbed by the public outcry over the unconventional subjects of his two greatest novels—Tess of the DUrbervilles and Jude the Obscure—he announced that he was giving up fiction and afterward produced only poetry. In later years, he received many honors. He died on January 11, 1928, and was buried in Poets Corner, in Westminster Abbey. It was as a poet that he wished to be remembered, but today critics regard his novels as his most memorable contribution to English literature for their psychological insight, decisive delineation of character, and profound presentation of tragedy.
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