The Return of the Native

If you have never tried a novel by Thomas Hardy ( start with The Return of the Native (1878). Its themes of sexual politics, thwarted desire, and the conflicting demands of nature and society mark it out with a modern character. Still underlying is the trademark sense of foreboding and classical tragedy. Hardy’s landscape descriptions of Egdon Heath are particularly fine and provide the rooted backdrop for the tragedy to unfold.


Should you wish to delve further go for Thomas Hardy: The Critical Heritage (1970) edited by Reginald Gordon Cox (


To deepen appreciation of  Hardy further reach for The Cambridge Companion to Hardy (1999) edited by Dale Kramer. ( The bibliographies in this volume should launch you on a lifelong love of Hardy.


For a recent biography go to Thomas Hardy: The Time-torn Man (2007)( by Claire Tomalin (


Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Eustacia Vye  in a 1994 TV movie directed by Jack Gold. ( Clive Owen plays Damon Wildeve, and Ray Stevenson plays Clym Yeobright. Available on DVD at


Thomas Hardy

400 pages in Wordsworth paperback edition.

ISBN 978-1853262388


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