The Return of the Native

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Random House Publishing Group, Aug 26, 2008 - Fiction - 512 pages
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.
 

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Contents

CHAPTER
3
The Halt on the Turnpike Road
39
CHAPTER V
45
CHAPTER VI
60
Queen ofNight
76
Those Who Are Found Where There Is Said to Be Nobody
84
1 Shrewd Man into Strategy
90
A Desperate Attempt at Persuasion
101
CHAPTER II
293
The Journey Across the Heath _
327
onjuncture and Its Result upon the Pedestrian
333
The Tragic Meeting ofTwo Old Friends
345
CHAPTER VIII
354
The Discovers 365
367
CHAPTER II
376
Eustacia Dresses Herself on a Black Morning
387

CHAPTER XI
112
TheIrrival
123
CHAPTER III
136
CHAPTER V
153
The Two Stand Face to Face
161
CHAPTER VII
174
CHAPTER I
199
The New Course Causes Disappointment
205
An Hour otBiss and Many Hours of Sadness
231
CHAPTER VII
257
CHAPTER VIII
273
CHAPTER IV
396
An Old Move inadvertently Repeated
402
CHAPTER VI
410
CHAPTER VII
418
Rain Darkness and Anxious Wanderers
427
CHAPTER IX
439
CHAPTER I
455
Thomasin Walks in a Green Place by the Roman Road
465
CHAPTER IV
475
Bibliography
488
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

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.

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