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Far from the Madding Dames - Thomas Hardy                                                lifestyle

Marys Well Lane 1 120117 c Tony Bates-001

Image copyright Tony Bates

An exploration of Thomas Hardy’s Dorset as seen through his eyes in the novel “Far From the Madding Crowd” and his controversial collection of short stories “A Group of Noble Dames”, featuring the scandalous lives of the Wessex aristocracy.

Led by Dr Geoff Doel & Fran Doel, MA

Sun 5 ­ Thur 9 July 2015

 ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ is the first of Hardy’s novels to use the concept of ‘Wessex’ and its publication in the prestigious ‘Cornhill Magazine’ was responsible for Hardy’s emergence as a famous novelist using rural and agricultural settings and themes, in this case of a lady farmer and her three suitors. The novel is set largely in Puddletown and Dorchester and we’ll visit these two towns, the locations of the two farms in the novel, Lulworth Cove (site of Troy’s swimming escapade), Greenhill Fairground site and Hardy’s Birthplace where much of the novel was written.
On this exploration of Hardy’s landscape we will also discover the lesser known group of short stories “A Group of Noble Dames”. Hardy’s meteoric rise up the social scale caused tensions with local aristocracy and he took revenge for this by exposing scandals in this collection, disguising names and sometimes locations. His father as a builder had worked on many of the great houses in ‘Wessex’ and his mother knew traditions of Melbury House, near where she was born. We’ll visit Wolfeton House and Sherborne Castle, both featured in the stories and Melbury Park with external view of the house. We’ll also visit Hardy’s own country house, Max Gate, where the stories were mostly written.
The course will include 3 days of minibus outings to relevant sites, on-site and evening talks, lectures and films.
Geoff is an associate lecturer in literature at the University of Kent and University of Canterbury Christchurch, with a PhD on Thomas Hardy; Fran has an MA in Medieval Studies from UEA.   They have extensive experience of running university summer schools on literary, medieval and folklore topics for Durham, UEA, Exeter, and Birkbeck, as well as tutoring for the Earnley Concourse.   Fran and Geoff have published 13 books, many on folklore and Geoff has made several television appearances, including the Time Team programme.
£485 pp    includes 4 nights sole occupancy accommodation, full board including a home cooked breakfast, tea/cake, lunch and 3 course dinner, all tuition / activities.
Transport and entrance fees are included as per itinerary.
Non- Residential: 
£330 pp     includes all of the above except accommodation and breakfast.
The course will start at 6.00pm with a special dinner and an introductory talk. 
Residents are welcome to arrive from 2pm.
The course will finish at approximately 11am on Thursday with morning tea.
What to bring:
You will need; suitable outdoor clothing and walking boots, rucksack to carry drinks and lunch, notepad and pen.

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