When first published as a periodical in Victorian Britain, this novel was highly controversial -- and Hardy was forced to add a sixth, unplanned book "Aftercourses" to provide the happy ending demanded by the public.
during winter darkness, tempests, and mists. Then Egdon was aroused to reciprocity; for the storm was its lover, and the wind its friend. Then it became the home of strange phantoms; and it was found to be the hitherto unrecognized original of those wild regions of obscurity which are vaguely felt to be compassing us about in midnight dreams of flight and disaster, and are never thought of after the dream till revived by scenes like this.
It was at present a place perfectly accordant with man's nature--neither ghastly, hateful, nor ugly; neither commonplace, unmeaning, nor tame; but, like man, slighted and enduring; and withal singularly colossal and mysterious in its swarthy monotony. As with some persons who have long lived apart, solitude seemed to look out of its countenance. It had a lonely face, suggesting tragical possibilities.
This obscure, obsolete, superseded country figures in Domesday. Its condition is recorded therein as that of heathy, furzy, briary wilderness--"Bruaria." Then fol
The tale of Eustacia and the heath
I am not sure why Hardy chose this title, because this story seemed to be about a conflict between an unchanging heath and it's habitants and the always changing Eustacia and her will, rather than the story the title would suggest.
The heath is the part of England where Eustacia Vye lives; and like the moors in Wuthering Heights, its presence is always felt: cool, damp and foreboding.
Eustacia is not from the heath, she's young, coquettish a bit of a conniver and some may even feel she's a bit of a witch.
So how does a willful, enigmatic young woman deal with an old, unchanging, unfeeling and unsympathetic countryside?
Tragically, I'm afraid.
Wonderfully written, a bit like Wuthering Heights, a bit like Jude the Obscure.
Magnificent! So descriptive, you'll see and smell the "heath" just as if you were there. So romantic...so tragic...