Egdon Heath Dorset - Thomas Hardy Country

Egdon Heath Dorset

Hardy was a child of the Heath, who, as a middle-aged refugee from the metropolis of London, made Egdon the centre of his creative universe. Not only was The Return of the Native to become the core text of his fiction, but Egdon became the central locus of an expanding Wessex - to which he was to return time and again in his writings. Hardy’s early enthusiastic reading of Charles Darwin led him to reject the Wordsworthian ideal of a Beneficent Nature, and thus the heath becomes a metaphor for nature’s indifference to human suffering and despair: a place he considered to be ‘absolutely in keeping with the more thinking among mankind’.‘Haggard Egdon’ is best explored at twilight in an atmosphere which evokes the opening pages of The Return of the Native – Rainbarrow, Mistover and Blooms-End are readily accessible on foot.

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