The Return of the Native has been vulgarised, in the popular mind, in very much the same way as Wuthering Heights. It is dreadfully easy to see the vast ‘elemental5 heath as a pseudo’ romantic backcloth for human passions of an equally ‘elemental’ kind, and thus to cheapen and distort the real part the landscape plays in the writer’s conception. Of course this is to some extent Hardy’s own fault; the quality of his opening description of the heath and the rather theatrical figure of Eustacia, ‘Queen of Night’, brooding over the landscape incline us to visualise Egdon as a metaphysical entity, a dark and wild tract of land unrelated to any forms of human or animal life. But this abstraction is completely different from the heath as Hardy presents it in the whole book.
KeywordsRomantic Death Wealthy Woman Human Passion Metaphysical Entity Roman Road
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