Anna Carlsson's Reviews > The Return of the Native

The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
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May 04, 12

Read in March, 2012

It was so easy to get lost in all of the multilayered description in this book--lost in a good way. Also, being (at heart, still) a Latin nerd, I appreciated the plethora of classical references throughout (esp. in reference to Eustacia) and actually think they serve a purpose, rather than Hardy just being like "OMGHELLENISM." That purpose? Clym and Eustacia are both tragic figures, and I think this is partially because they embody traits that would have been lauded in classical antiquity--Clym's passion for learning and knowledge, and Eustacia's possession of the "passions and instincts which make a model goddess"--but that are incompatible with contemporary Victorian society. In light of the time period's obsession with Hellenism, Hardy is commenting on the impossibility of clinging classical ideals in the midst of an industrial and social revolution. I liked it.
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