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Title: Return of the Native, The
Author: Thomas Hardy
Publisher: Pocket Library (PL 23)
Publication Year: 1958
Special Attributes: 7th printing
Used Condition: tight binding, clean text, no marks, not ex-library, pages lightly age darkened, cover crease, edge wear
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.