Written between 1877 and 1878, The Return of the Native was Thomas Hardy’s sixth novel, coming after the successful Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), which established his fame as a promising pastoral novelist, and the not-so-satisfactory The Hand of Ethelberta (1876), a social comedy which was received without enthusiasm. After completing The Hand of Ethelberta, Hardy spent some time reading Shakespeare, Goethe, Scott and George Sand, as recommended by Leslie Stephen, the editor of the Cornhill, which had serialized both novels. By doing so Hardy intended to “learn the best line” as he explains in one of his letters (Collected Letters 43) and reconsider his literary choices. T…
Zhang, Chengping. "The Return of the Native". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 August 2013; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7573, accessed 27 April 2015.]