To be loved to madness - such was her great desire' Eustacia Vye criss-crosses the wild Egdon Heath, eager to experience life to the full in her quest for 'music, poetry, passion, war'. She marries Clym Yeobright, native of the heath, but his idealis
m frustrates her romantic ambitions and her discontent draws others into a tangled web of deceit and unhappiness. Early readers responded to Hardy's 'insatiably observant' descriptions of the heath, a setting that for D. H. Lawrence provided the 'rea
l stuff of tragedy'. For modern readers, the tension between the mythic setting of the heath and the modernity of the characters challenges our freedom to shape the world as we wish; like Eustacia, we may not always be able to live our dreams. This e
dition has a critically established text based on the manuscript and first edition, and without the later changes that substantially altered Hardy's original intentions.