As John Patterson notes in "Composition and Revision of the Novel," Leslie Stephen, editor of The Cornhill Magazine to whom Hardy submitted a manuscript ("the Ur Novel") containing perhaps sixteen chapters, rejected The Return of the Native because "he feared that relations between Eustacia, Wildeve, and Thomasin might develop into something 'dangerous' for a family magazine."

A. What Stephen probably objected to was the compromising of Thomasin's reputation by her returning without having married Damon Wildeve. Propose something else in those early chapters to which a careful magazine editor might have objected, then explain how it could have violated Victorian "Family Values."

B. How did Hardy "self-bowdlerize" his novel with respect to the character of Eustacia Vye (see Norton edition, pp. 327-330, especially)?

C. According to Patterson, what changes did Hardy make to Thomasin's character, and why? (See pp. 335-7.)

D. Explain the three "phases" through which the character of Diggory Venn "passed" (pp. 337-41)?


Victorian Web Thomas Hardy Leading Questions

Last modified 18 September 2003