|Module Title||THOMAS HARDY|
|Co-ordinator||Dr Michael Franklin|
|Course delivery||Seminar||20 Hours (10 x 2 hour workshop seminars)|
This module presents an opportunity to (re)assess Hardy in some depth, both as prose-writer and poet. We shall consider to what extent his works resist the structure of literary history, the formulations of critical theory, and the sub-divisions of the syllabus. What exactly makes Hardy a modern(ist) poet, and how far is it adequate to regard him as a Victorian novelist? Hardy simultaneously participates in local and global culture; a component part of national heritage, and the English Tourist Board, he is widely read and translated throughout the world. An intensely private man who literally 'wrote himself' by ghosting his own official biography, Hardy insistently argued that art distorts reality while stressing the absence of autobiographical elements in his work. Studying Hardy invites us to reconsider our notions of 'literary value' and interrogate the process of canon-formation. Reading Hardy remains a pleasure.
1. Emma Lavinia in Lyonesse: the intertextuality of Letters, Poetry and Romance
We shall examine Hardy's letters to 'Dearest Emmie', the 'Poems of 1912-13', written in her memory, and A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) a novel set in Cornwall and partially reflecting his courtship of Emma.
2-3. Julie Christie as Bathsheba: Far From the Madding Crowd (1874)
By means of a special study of John Schlesinger's 1969 film text of Far From the Madding Crowd we shall explore some of the central problems of filming Hardy's novels.
4-5. Auld Dorset Receipts for Frumenty: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1882)
How Green was my Barley? We shall respond to Hardy's concern for corruption, moral, commercial, economic, and agricultural, as twenty-first century readers and purchasers of organic wholefoods.
5-6. A Pure Woman and The Pure Drop: Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891)
Feckless parenting: were Hardy's attitudes towards women, tragedy, and sadism conditioned by early experiences of reading the Greek classics or attending public executions?
7-8. 'A woman of the feminist movement': Sue Bridehead and Jude the Obscure (1895)
Hardy's treatment of sexual relationships, gender, social class, and science in Jude the Obscure will be considered together with how this affected the critical reception of this novel.
9-10. The Breaking of Nations: Satires of Circumstance (1914)
We shall consider Hardy as the first modern poet of war, and a significant influence upon First World War poets, such as Siegfried Sassoon
Detailed bibliographies will be circulated in class. Besides the texts listed above - and do read widely in the poetry - students will find the following useful introductory reading:
Florence Emily Hardy, The Life of Thomas Hardy (Macmillan 1975)
Robert Gittings, Young Thomas Hardy (Penguin 1978)
Robert Gittings, The Older Thomas Hardy (Penguin 1979)
Penny Boumelha, Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and NarrativeForm (Harvester 1984)
Peter Widdowson, Hardy in History: A Study in Literary Sociology (Routledge 1989)
Dale Kramer (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Hardy (CUP 1999)
Begin to explore the web resources; try the Thomas Hardy Association and the pages of Dr Martin Ray of Aberdeen University.