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Let’s take a trip.

19 Nov

I’ve enjoyed our time in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and we still have a few things to say about Anna Karenina, but it’s time to start our travel plans for Egdon Heath for our next classic…

The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy.

Where’s Egdon Heath, you ask?  Well, to answer that question we’re going to need to consult the author.  According to cliffsnotes.com Hardy uses the name of one of the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon Britain to designate an area including his native Dorsetshire” 

Here’s another helpful quote from cliffsnotes:

In writing most of his novels, Hardy worked out the details of time and geography he wanted to use with great care. Almost every novel is, therefore, located in a specific, mapped-out area of Wessex and covers a specified period of time. The Return of the Native, for example, covers the period 1842-43 and is set on Puddletown Heath (called Egdon Heath in the novel), on which Upper Bockhampton is situated”

Whew!  Now that we’ve got where the story is taking place.  Let’s talk about what the story is about.

Need some inspiration to pick up the title?  Here’s what the back of my Signet Classics copy says:

The rural tranquillity of the heather-covered English countryside is the setting for this moving novel of conflicting aspirations and tragic destiny.  Clym Yeobright returns from Paris to the village of his birth, idealistically inspired to improve the life of the men and women of Egdon Heath.  But his plans are upset when he falls in love with a passionately beautiful darkly discontented girl, Eustacia Vye, who longs to escape from her provincial surroundings.

What happens to Clym and Eustacia?  Oh, spoilers aren’t allowed on this blog, so you’ll just have to read along with us to find out.

Here are the details.  SWB recommends the edition shown here.  We’re not dealing with a translation this time, so here’s the link for the free kindle version.

Grab a copy of Hardy’s The Return of the Native and get ready to read
A book of classic dimension and heroic design”…   “the forerunner of the twentieth-century psychological novel–poetic, compassionate, vivid in its associations, universal in its meanings.”

This map should answer our questions about Hardy’s Wessex.

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7 Comments

Posted by on November 19, 2012 in The Return of the Native

 

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7 responses to “Let’s take a trip.

  1. dangermom

    November 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Hm, my Thomas Hardy book in my pile is “Far From the Madding Crowd,” but I’m definitely tempted! I’d love to join you for this book. I’ll get it from the library.

     
    • Adriana @ Classical Quest

      November 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Oh! I hope you will Jean! Love your insights. 🙂

       
    • Christine

      November 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      Wonderful!

       
  2. Christina Joy

    November 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Wait a minute, Wessex isn’t real? I thought my husband’s family came from Wessex. This is disheartening. I may need to consult the family tree.

     
    • Christine

      November 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      No, no, no. I was in the wrong. Egdon Heath is invented (based on his own home). Hardy didn’t invent Wessex; he just decided to use the area from Anglo-Saxon Britain. Is there a geography version of Well-Educated Mind?

       
      • dangermom

        November 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm

        There should be! Just think of all the places we can’t find on a modern map–Dalmatia, Wessex, and the USSR, not to mention Barsetshire. There should be a book.

         

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