Marking the 140th anniversary of the publication of Hardy's novel.

The Trumpet-Major Study Day

A Thomas Hardy Society Study Day in association with the University of Exeter

Saturday, 4 April 2020 at 10.00am

The Corn Exchange, Dorchester



Dr Faysal Mikdadi (THS Academic Director)

Jerry Bird (Folklore Society, Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society)

Andrew North (Military Historian) and Mark North (Dorset County Museum)

And a performance by the New Hardy Players


2020 will mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Trumpet-Major. Hardy classed it as one of his 'Romances and Fantasies', and it was much more warmly received by his contemporaries than its predecessor The Return of the Native. It has been described as a humorous, picturesque, romantic tale based on historical fact, one of a number of works Hardy wrote revolving around the Napoleonic Wars, including The Dynasts and a number of short stories. Containing passages of both hilarity and poignancy, it records the interruption into rural routine of a military presence readying itself for battle with Bonaparte, and how this impacts upon the lives of the Lovedays, the Garlands and the Derrimans.

This Study Day has been designed to appeal to academics, students, and enthusiasts alike. Along with a keynote lecture there will be a musical demonstration, a plenary on the topography of the novel and the history of the Dorset militia during the Napoleonic Wars, and a performance by the always excellent New Hardy Players. There will also be a chance to hear papers from students, and to participate in a roundtable discussion.


9.15-10.00: Registration

10.00-10.15: Welcome and Announcements

10.15-11.15: Dr Faysal Mikdadi, 'The Trumpet-Major: A Happy Wessex Pastoral Romance or a Clumsy Historical Narrative?'

11.15-11.30: Morning Tea Break

11.30-12.15: Andrew North and Mark North, 'A Ridge in Wessex: South Dorset During the Napoleonic Wars'

12.15-12.45: The New Hardy Players - 'The Awkward Squad'

12.45-1.30: Lunch

1.30-2.15: Jerry Bird, ' "Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy": Songs From the French Wars'

2.15-3.00: Andrew Hewitt, 'Time, Memory and Emotion in The Trumpet-Major'

3.00-3.15: Afternoon Tea Break

3.15-4.00: Dr Tracy Hayes - 'Hardy's Silly Soldiers'

4.00-4.30: Panel Discussion, 'The Trumpet-Major: Major or Minor?'

4.30-5.30: Wine Reception

6.00: Dinner at Lee Garden Chinese Resturant, 45 High East St, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1HU


Tickets: £20 or Student/Unwaged £10. This includes all refreshments, a buffet lunch, and a wine reception at the conclusion of the day. There will be dinner at the nearby Lee Gardens Chinese resturant for all who wish to join us!

Please contact the Secretary - Dr Tracy Hayes - for further information.


*The Thomas Hardy Society takes the health, safety, and wellbeing of everyone who attends our events very seriously, and are following government and medical advice to determine our response to the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, including reviewing our schedule of events. We will let you know via this website and our Facebook pages of any decisions to cancel.  

As of 17/03/20 this event is now postponed until October 2020. If you have any concerns please email the Secretary - Tracy Hayes -

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