London: Smith, Elder, & Co, 1878.
First edition, first issue, with the closed quotation mark around ‘A Pair of Blue Eyes’ dropped on the title page in volume I. Frontispiece map by Hardy of the scene of the story in Volume I. [vi], 303; [vi], 297, ; [vi], 320 pp. 3 vols. 8vo. Bound in forest green half morocco backed marble boards with gilt ruling, gilt titles on five-banded spine, and t.e.g. Marble endpapers with handsome bookplate of heiress Gustavia Senff on upper pastedowns, a little bumping on upper corners, else near fine Purdy p.24-27; Sadleir 1113; Wilson 49. Item #365033
The Return of the Native was first published serially in Belgravia from January to December 1878. The first edition in book form of 1,000 copies incorporated several new chapter titles as well as other deletions and additions to the text.
"A renewed preoccupation with regional materials and topography is immediately signalled ... by the presence, as frontispiece, of Hardy's own 'Sketch map of the scene of the story', identifiably based on the heathland of his childhood. Also quickly apparent is the ambitiousness of the novel's conception. Its principal characters may ultimately lack grandeur—the reformist Clym Yeobright emerging as an arid idealist, the romantic Eustacia Vye as a woman of very ordinary imagination and desires—but structure, imagery, and allusions persistently evoke both a native primitivism and the conventions of classical theatre ... The Return of the Native, even so, was not enthusiastically reviewed" (ODNB).
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