The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics* *series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influencesbiographical, historical, and literaryto enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
A haunting tale of romantic self-deception, The Return of the Native focuses on mismatched lovers who see in each other only what they want to see, and decidedly not what is actually there.
Clym Yeobright, the native of the title, returns to Hardy's fictional Egdon Heath determined to be a force for social progress. Dazzled by the beauty of Eustacia Vye, he imagines they're soul mates, woos and wins her, and enters into what is at first a passionate marriage. He soon discovers that what she really wants is a passport to a more exciting and sophisticated life, away from provincial England. Surrounding them are Clym's mother, strongly opposed to his marriage; Damon Wildeve, in love with Eustacia but married to Clym's cousin, Thomasin; and the oddly ambiguous observer Diggory Venn, whose frustrated love for Thomasin turns him into either a guardian angel or a jealous manipulatoror perhaps both. This stew of curdled love and conflicting emotions can only boil over into tragedy, and the book's darkly ironic ending marks it as both a classically Victorian novel and a forerunner of the modernist fiction that followed it.
Lauren Walsh teaches a writing seminar at Columbia University, where she is completing her Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature.
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