Thomas Hardy Society Study Day

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Date & time

On April 7, 2018 at 10:00


The Corn Exchange, Dorchester  See the map

Following the success of our inaugural Thomas Hardy Society Study Day, we are now looking forward to the second such occasion.

This event will again be in the Town Hall in the Corn Exchange in Dorchester, commencing at 10.00am on Saturday 7th April.  
It will follow a similar pattern to last year's inaugural event.  It will end at approximately 6.00pm.

A Pair of Blue Eyes
A Thomas Hardy Society Study Day
2018 marks the 145th anniversary of the publication of A Pair of Blue Eyes, said to be the favourite Hardy novel of both Leslie Stephen and Coventry Patmore. A review in The Spectator in June 1873 described the novel as '...a really powerful story...of varied and deep interest...not too harrowing...relieved by exquisite touches of word-pictures...'.
It is a tale of class and gender clashes, repressed sexuality and
social hypocrisy and contains the scene which gave literature its first literal ‘cliffhanger’. Unusually for a Hardy novel, it is set in
Cornwall - off-Wessex, in Hardy’s literary geography, where he met his first wife Emma Gifford, herself the author of a novella The Maid on the Shore.
This study day is designed to appeal to academics and general readers alike. There will be talks on Hardy's authorial processes, and how his fascination with science and archaeology influenced this
particular novel; an interactive workshop will provide attendees with an insight into the challenges of deciphering and decoding Hardy's correspondence; and there will be a special celebration of Emma's The Maid on the Shore which the Thomas Hardy Society hopes to publish, for the first time, in time for the Study Day. There will also be a chance to hear the latest student research into Hardy studies,
including a unique presentation of original artwork depicting scenes from the novel.
The conference fee of £16 or £8 for unwaged/students includes all refreshments, a buffet lunch, and a wine reception at the conclusion of the day. And for those who wish to continue the festivities, there will be dinner at a local establishment at which all are welcome. We look forward to your participation in this event celebrating Thomas Hardy and his Lyonesse!
To book a place on the study day email Mike Nixon on
Prof. Jane Thomas (University of Hull):
'Writing A Pair of Blue Eyes'.
Dr Rebecca Welshman (University of Liverpool):
'"The Transitory in Earth's long order": Strata, Memory and Source in A Pair of Blue Eyes'.
Prof. Angelique Richardson (University of Exeter)
& Helen Angear (University of Exeter & Dorset County Museum):
'A Pair of Blue Eyes and Hardy's Readers: A Digitization
Marilyn & Andrew Leah (Thomas Hardy Society):
‘Literary Links – A Pair of Blue Eyes and The Maid on the Shore.’
Organiser: Dr Tracy Hayes (THS)
Payment may be made by Paypal or cheque to ‘The Thomas Hardy Society
c/o Dorset County Museum, High West St, Dorchester DT1 1XA