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THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE by  Thomas Hardy - First Edition - 1878 - from Sumner & Stillman (SKU: 14462)


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by Hardy, Thomas

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  • hardcover
  • First
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Yarmouth, Maine
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About This Item

1878. In Three Volumes. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1878. 2 pp undated ads in Vol II. Original brown cloth decorated in black and gilt. First Edition, which consisted of only 1000 copies. This is Hardy's famous tale of Damon Wildeve of Egdon Heath and the two women who love him, Thomasin Yeobright and Eustacia Vye -- and the return of the native (Thomasin's cousin, Clym Yeobright) from his stint as a diamond merchant in Paris. The book was controversial upon publication, due to its frank treatment of sexuality (including an extramarital affair); present also is Hardy's usual mercilessness of the fates. "The twin triumphs of the book are Eustacia -- rebellious, passionate, longing for another sky and different air -- and Egdon Heath itself" [CGEL]. This is one of the 900 copies in the primary binding, with a blind-stamped two-rule border on the rear covers; Purdy cites a very similar secondary binding that has a three-rule border, used for 100 copies known to have been remaindered in 1882. This set is in very good-plus condition, perhaps near-fine -- still in the original cloth and endpapers, and without re-backing or any other sort of restoration. As usual there is minor wear at some of the notoriously-brittle spine ends, but the spine gilt remains bright, the covers are clean, and the delicate pale-yellow endpapers are remarkably intact (just one short crack at the top of one hinge); atypically, there is NO evidence of lending-library labels on the front covers. Copies in the original cloth in this condition are today rather scarce -- since most of the first edition went directly to the lending libraries and were then read to death. This is one of the four novels typically cited as constituting the peak of Hardy's oeuvre -- the others being THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES. Purdy pp 24-27; Sadleir 1113; Wolff 2989. Housed in a morocco-backed slipcase with inner chemise.


The Return of the Native is Thomas Hardy's sixth published novel. It first appeared in the serial Belgravia, a publication known for its sensationalism, and was presented in twelve monthly installments from January to December of 1878. Due to the novel's controversial themes, Hardy had some difficulty finding a publisher; reviews, however, though somewhat mixed, were generally positive. In the twentieth century, The Return of the Native became one of Hardy's most popular novels.


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Sumner & Stillman US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
Hardy, Thomas
Book condition
Quantity available
Date published
Bookseller catalogs
Fiction (19th Century); Three-Decker Novels;

Terms of Sale

Sumner & Stillman

30 day return guarantee, with full refund including original shipping costs for up to 30 days after delivery if an item arrives misdescribed or damaged.

About the Seller

Sumner & Stillman

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2009
Yarmouth, Maine
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About Sumner & Stillman

Founded in 1980, Sumner & Stillman is a small family business providing personal service in the buying and selling of literary first editions of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) for over 30 years.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[more]
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...[more]
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....[more]
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...[more]

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