About the BookThe Return of the Native, both powerful and sombre, is considered to be the most representative of Hardy’s novels.
It is set in Egdon Heath whose lowering, titanic presence dominates the men and women who live on it, and whose menace and beauty Hardy so surely and superbly evokes.
The novel tells the story of Eustacia Vye, Thomasin and Mistress Yeobright, and the men who influence and alter their lives—Diggory Venn, a reddleman, Damon Wildeve and returning ‘native’, Clym Yeobright. The passionate Eustacia Vye feels herself imprisoned in the wild, isolated Egdon Heath, and her desire in life is ‘to be loved to madness’. Clym Yeobright, a diamond merchant in Paris, disgusted with the worthlessness of his occupation, returns to Egdon intending to become a school-master in his native Heath. He falls in love with Eustacia, and she marries him, hoping to induce him to return to the exciting life of Paris. But Clym’s sight fails and he is reduced to furze-cutting for a livelihood, a catastrophe that drives her to despair....About the Author/sThomas Hardy (1840-1928), poet and novelist, was born in Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester in Dorset. He was the son of Thomas Hardy, a builder and master mason, and his wife Jemima. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to a local architect, John Hicks. In 1862 he went to London to pursue his architectural career and also began writing at this time. He returned to Dorset in 1867 to become assistant to John Hicks. In 1874 he gave up architecture for writing and married his first wife Emma Gifford. In the same year Far From the Madding Crowd was published and met with considerable success. In 1878 Hardy moved back to London. His reputation as writer grew and he became a well-known figure in London’s literary circles. In 1885 he returned to Dorset and over the next three years he published The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), which many regard as his greatest tragic novel, The Woodlanders (1887) and his first collection of short stories, Wessex Tales (1888). He published Tess of the D’Urbervilles in 1891 and Jude the Obscure in 1895. Hardy greatly enjoyed the admiration of London’s literary and aristocratic society, but resented the constant carping of reviewers of his “pessimism” and “immorality”. The hostile criticism of his last two major novels led him to abondon fiction and devote himself to poetry which was always his first love. He published eight volumes of poetry during 1898 to 1928. Emma died in 1912 and Hardy married Florence Dugdale in 1914. Thomas Hardy died on 11 January 1928.