Perhaps Thomas Hardy wished his readers to have a proper sense of the juxtaposition of the various sites on Egdon Heath where the action transpires. Certainly, one does not immediately gain such a sense of Egdon Heath in the 1878 illustrations for the Belgravia serialisation of the novel, although illustrator Arthur Hopkins captures some sense of its hostile, unyielding nature in the March plate, Unconscious of her presence, he still went on singing, in which Clym and Humphrey hack away at the furze as Eustacia seems to hover in the background. For the three-volume, first edition of the novel Hardy himself drafted a guide to the region of the heath. 1878. 14 cm high by 8.8 cm wide, framed, in The Return of the Native, in three volumes, the Smith, Elder Edition. The topographical map with place names indicated is a far more prosaic composition than the elegant line drawing of the Scottish illustrator Henry Macbeth-Raeburn in the first Uniform Edition of the Wessex Novels, volume 6 (1896), The "Egdon Heath" of the Story.

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

The illustration from the first volume of The Return of the Native (Smith, Elder; 1878) appears courtesy of the University of Victoria Libraries Special Collections & University Archives.


Hardy, Thomas. The Return of the Native. Illustrated by Arthur Hopkins. Belgravia. January—December 1878.

Hardy, Thomas. The Return of the Native. With an illustration by Thomas Hardy. 3 vols. London: Smith, Elder, 1878.

Hardy, Thomas. The Return of the Native. Illustrated by Henry Macbeth-Raeburn. Volume Six in the Complete Uniform Edition of the Wessex Novels. London: Osgood, McIlvaine; 1895.

Purdy, Richard L. Thomas Hardy: A Bibliographical Study. Oxford: Clarendon, 1954, rpt. 1978.

Wright, Sarah Bird. Thomas Hardy A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts on File, 2002.

Last modified 5 February 2017