The Return of the Native is Hardy’s most imitative, most self-conscious, and generally least successful effort at high tragedy. In many ways an impressive novel — in concept of personality, in awareness of the symbolic value of setting—it is probably most accurately thought of as the kind of novel that a determined and self-taught writer had to get out of his system before he could go on to find his own manner. This is not to say that The Return of the Native is a “sport” in Hardy’s oeuvre — far from it — or that Hardy did not repeat in later works many of the false notes in this novel, but that its distinctive qualities were blended in subsequent books with techniques and concepts of aesthetic form that were more of Hardy’s own devising.
KeywordsParisian Vocation Aesthetic Form Tragic Hero Open Heath False Note
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