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Thread: Return of the Native, a Page a Day

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  1. #11

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    Default Re: Return of the Native, a Page a Day

    Thanks for the link OV.

    The bit I found interesting was the mention of Iceland.

    I would be thinking Egdon as an actual place though with his saying it is mentioned in the Domesday Book. I would be disappointed.

    I do like the idea of the Roman road shining white in the dark. I'm up to page 7 chapter 2, but you could tell me all about the preceding pages. Still no idea re Thule!

  2. #12

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    Default Re: Return of the Native, a Page a Day

    His observation about Iceland was deep. We are products of a deep time, especially with the current world political situations--so much pain, so much confusion, so much coldness of attitude. Iceland is THE country, although we know its name belies what it is. However, those with funds do travel there and post Facebook photos...no gentle hills and vales.

    You're reading too fast for this project! Ha! I didn't move ahead to 6, but because you're now so terribly far ahead, I'll write about 6 and 7 tomorrow morning, and you'll just have to pull the reins and dig a bit deeply for more, say, Thule. That would be a good research project for you instead of reading so far ahead. Ha!

    At least I investigated the Vale of Tempe. What did you think of that?

    I love his sweep...his awareness that he was doing for the heaths of England what no one had ever done before--the grasp of the mythic. Go, Hardy!! Who could ever forget a heath after reading you???

    More tomorrow morning. Glad you found our place.

  3. #13

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    p. 6 "Colours and beauties so far subdued were, at least, the birthright of all."

    First of all, we spell 'colours' 'colors' in the states. You already know this, Jan, from reading. But I love the 'colour' spelling. It looks richer and promising of a wider range of possibilities.

    Okay, with that little, silliness of observation out of the way, let me comment on subtle colors. It reminds me of being out shopping with my mom yesterday because we didn't go to Maryland. My sick cousin called to cancel and requested after T'giving, which is fine. Anyway, while out and about I made a ridiculous comment to my mother, "This fall hasn't been a very pretty one, has it..." And my mother immediately and gently argued how much she had loved this fall because the weather has been so good. And she was completely correct. In fact, I said, "I really shouldn't have said that it hasn't been very pretty because it has, but in a more subtle way." And I remembered Hardy's writing about the subtlety of color--the subdued colors--on the heath. Our pallette this fall has been subtle and subdued, yet possessed of a beauty quite its own. It hasn't been that of cartoons and foliage hunters, but in a way, lovelier than the in-your-face kind of brilliance of some falls. Oh, heck. That's not even the truth. I love them all, all of the autumns, no matter how they decide to dress themselves.

    And that's it for p. 6 this reading, this time around.

    Will return later in the day to pull a quote from p. 7.

    And Jan, I hope you'll pipe in at some point again. It makes this fun. Still need to check out Thule, both of us. Might do that today, but I have 30 flights to climb on Slieve Donard.


  4. #14

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    Default Re: Return of the Native, a Page a Day

    More on p. 6, Egdon Heath as a real place, and how:

    When Hardy mentions Domesday and Bruaria to set Egdon into a specific area, he does so with actual historical sites. I read a little just now about Bruaria in several scholarly references, and here's a quote directly off the 'net that shows the kind of terrain we're reading about:


    " Silva was timber woodland used for construction; boscus was underwood used for fuel and wattle and bruaria was poor, scrubby brushwood."

    About the site for the above quote, use this link:

    http://irserver.ucd.ie/bitstream/han...pdf?sequence=1

    There's more information there than I want to know right now, but I was interested in the term bruaria.

    Regarding the location in Domesday, yes, Bruaria was a real place and there are numerous links to books on Amazon about the subject of Bruaria (your Dorset, as you've written about). Even though Hardy created Egdon, it's interesting that he establishes it through mentioning Bruaria in Domesday, and that is all factual.

    Later I'll look into Thule a bit more.

    This is what I mean by a slow reading. Digging a bit deeper than a page turning reading would allow. A professor at Duke University said she did such readings every summer because of how rewarding they are. So, slow down, take a deep breath, and look into Hardy while surveying his tale, D'Jan.


  5. #15

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    Default Re: Return of the Native, a Page a Day

    Beginning of digging into Thule.

    First, from a scholarly book:

    "What is least representative about Hardy is his attitude towards his perception: the gloom with which he tinges "the aesthetics of Thule" (Richard Bevis; Road to Egdon Heath; 331). Gloom and doom in Hardy--that's probably why you haven't liked his literature, DJ. The doom part makes him a difficult writer, I suppose, but how he constructs the language is beautiful. I would liken the experience of reading Hardy to that of listening to tragically sad orchestral movements: I want to bow my head over the sad tones yet weep tears of joy over the expression.

    Source for above: https://books.google.com/books?id=7n...0Thule&f=false

    Now...more about Thule itself: It is an inhabited land located in the extremeties of the earth, sometimes Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Scandanavia in general, but a place where the presence of the sun is less felt.

    I suppose for Hardy, with the way the world was changing so greatly the last quarter of the nineteenth century, such a place symbolized for him, as noted about by Richard Bevis, civilization's march toward gloom. Oh, my. Had Hardy lived today with the openness of hatred so many peoples harbor against other cultures, I wonder that he would have been able to raise his pen at all. He sensed the oncoming gloom of our culture, perhaps more than most other writers in his time.

    So, Thule is not any one place; it is a representative place...it sounds mostly dark, cold, harsh...a place where living would be hardly challenged.
    Last edited by Olivivi; November 18th, 2015 at 05:34 PM.

  6. #16

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    Default Re: Return of the Native, a Page a Day

    Thanks for that link. I'm 'getting it' now. Each phrase has so much more in it that you think at first reading. I didn't really rush ahead, I thought you were up to there.

    I really was taking it all at face value. It's going to take me a page a day to understand it then.

    Our Prince Charles cries at sad music, you'd get on well with him...mind you, so would I...he talks to his plants.

    Re Tempe...I bet it's haunted now. All those tragedies taking place there plus a battle. All after Hardy's time of course.

  7. #17

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    Default Re: Return of the Native, a Page a Day

    Quote Originally Posted by Ditto View Post
    Thanks for that link. I'm 'getting it' now. Each phrase has so much more in it that you think at first reading. I didn't really rush ahead, I thought you were up to there.

    I really was taking it all at face value. It's going to take me a page a day to understand it then.

    Our Prince Charles cries at sad music, you'd get on well with him...mind you, so would I...he talks to his plants.

    Re Tempe...I bet it's haunted now. All those tragedies taking place there plus a battle. All after Hardy's time of course.
    I'll bet Tempe is haunted, too. Which battles? I haven't read about those. Interesting about Prince Charles. He has such a bad rep here. It makes me immediately like him more to read what you wrote about his response to sad music...and I wonder does he really talk to his plants. You do to yours? I've read that they thrive better. I'll tell you a story about a plant my mother is trying to coax into blooming, but not tonight. This isn't my best writing time. So sleepy...and for you? Past midnight! I have to be asleep by 8:30!!

  8. #18

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    Default Re: Return of the Native, a Page a Day

    It's nearly quarter to twelve. Yes, I'm not a night person either. Be going to bed in a mo...

    I think I was reading on Wiki, a World War II battle as well as those modern accidents. Look forward to hearing about the plant. I talk to my plants and our fish and the cats...so does Mum. We're quite voluble.

    I didn't know that about Prince Charles, the bad rep, is it because of Diana? He has a wonderful garden. Plants are living creatures just like us, with feelings. I read a story about an African Violet and it's owner died and it literally jumped out of it's pot and keeled over when the relatives came to clear out her abode and the plant heard them talking about her having passed over. That poor plant. Sad.

    Night night, God bless. zzzzzzz

  9. #19

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    Default Re: Return of the Native, a Page a Day

    I'll repaste the quote above that describes the various types of lands. Notice the description of bruaria (the actual location of the mythical Egdon Heath), and this will help you get a feeling for what a heath would look like):

    " Silva was timber woodland used for construction; boscus was underwood used for fuel and wattle and bruaria was poor, scrubby brushwood."

    And now for a bit of quoting from today's page, p. 7, with a wonderful quote:

    To recline on a stump of thorn in the central valley of Egdon, between afternoon and night, as now, where the eye could reach nothing of the world outside the summits and shoulders of heathland which filled the whole circumference of its glance, and to know that everything around and underneath had been from prehistoric times as unaltered as the stars overhead, gave ballast to the mind adrift on change, and harassed by the irrepressible Now" (7).

    Just sensational. I love Hardy's use of 'now' and later "Now"--two entirely different applications of the same word. In the first, he is gently taking us to the heath right now, in the time of the novel, to recline on that stump of thorn with him. He has moved us into the work itself. In the second use, the 'irrepressible Now' is altogether different, a horrid entity that presses and pushes self with too many changes, so many that the soul itself feels 'harassed' by these quick changes. Hardy would truly suffer today, I believe, as I've written before.

    But again, as we move through the novel slowly, which I think Hardy would soundly approve of, we're getting to know the heath, a place in which our minds can become familiar through our imaginations and Hardy's language. We can slowly sit and rest on that thorn stump, take a long look around, let time slow down, begin to breathe easily. It will be good to sit here for a day, don't you agree? Or look up photos of Hardy's heath, but remain here for a day.

    Here's one more quote from p. 7 and I think shows the poet Hardy who is always with his form of expression, and here he writes of the sea quite beautifully:

    "Distilled by the sun, kneaded by the moon, it is renewed in a year, in a day, or in an hour" (7).

    His use of 'distilled' and 'kneaded' gives me great pleasure and satisfaction.

    That's it for a while. Maybe I'll find a few photo of the heath today....


  10. #20

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    Default Re: Return of the Native, a Page a Day

    The plant is one that gets full and pregnant green, then the blossom opens up for a day, and you have to wait months/years for it to bloom again. I'll try to find the name of it, but it's broadly in the Christmas cactus group, although it's not a Christmas cactus, per se. A friend gave us one when my darling Laika died, a wonderful husky, but the darn thing has never bloomed. My mom, who has quite the green thumb, has been babying it for over two years, but the plant just will not bloom. When it does, I'm going to have a party.

    P. 8, Section II, Return of the Native:

    Humanity Appears upon the Scene, Hand in Hand with Trouble

    Well, we won't find out what the trouble is by the bottom of p. 8, so the suspense for the section title name will continue to build.

    [An old man] was white-headed as a mountain.

    And:

    [...] stretched the long, laborious road, dry, empty, and white. It was quite open to the heath on each side, and bisected that vast, dark surface like the parting-line on a head of black hair.

    These two quotes from p. 8 interest me because on the one hand, a person is compared to an element of nature, a mountain; on the other, an element of nature, the heath, is compared to a human physical characteristic, a part in a head of hair. Hardy, in this novel, appears to be setting up a close relationship between humanity and nature, one overlapping the other. It will be interesting to follow this vein to see where it ultimately leads.

    I also am enjoying the simplicity of these comparisons along with the simplicity of colors referred to, such as the subdued hues of the heath and the redman's red.

    Jan, if anything catches your interest on p. 8, do chime in. It's fun reading the commentary.

    Back tomorrow with gatherings from p. 9.

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