A day of talks and seminars celebrating Hardy's best loved novel.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Annual THS Study Day 2021

Saturday 23 October, 10.00am at the Rear Hall of the United Church, Dorchester (registration from 9.15am)

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2021 will mark the 130th anniversary of the publication of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, arguably the most widely loved of Hardy's novels, containing one of the most memorable heroines in all of English literature. While contemporary society was scandalized by the concept of a fallen woman being championed as pure, the novel was scathing in its exposure of hypocritical nineteenth-century sexual and social mores. Subjects depicted that remain in continual debate to the present day are the question of rape/seduction, who is the true villain of the story – Alec or Angel?, was Tess justified in murdering Alec?, and was it right that Tess received the death penalty for her crime? This is a story that has transcended time and place, still resonating with audiences around the globe.

Due to the continuation of Covid Travel Restrictions for certain countries and counties, a number of these presentations will be given on screen rather than in person.

We thank you for your patience and are grateful for your continued support.


9.00 – 9.45: Registration

9.45 – 10.00: Welcome and Introduction

10.00 – 10.45 Keynote Lecture: Professor Roger Ebbatson (University of Lancaster): 'The d'Urberville Portraits: Faciality and Identity'

10.45 – 11.00: Morning Break

11.00 – 11.45 Plenary: Dr Oindrila Ghosh (Diamond Harbour Women's University): 'Hardy's Tess: Adaptations, Cultural Transpositions and Engendering Notions of                                                Alternative Modernity'

11.45 – 12.30 Plenary: Dr Tony Fincham (Thomas Hardy Society Vice-President): 'Tess's Tracks: The Perambulations of a Pure Woman'

12.30 - 1.15: Lunch

1.15 – 1.45: 'Retelling Tess' – Devised and Performed by Tim Laycock (Director of The New Hardy Players)

1.45 – 3.05: Panel A:                 

                   Yurie Watanabe (University of Durham): 'Sympathy and Plurality of Purity in Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles'

                   Natasha Anderson (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz): 'Sensory Sympathy: Shared Experiences of Embodiment in Tess of the d'Urbervilles'

                   Céleste Callen (University of Edinburgh): 'The Experience of Marginality and Rejection in Tess of the d'Urbervilles'

                   Sukanya Bhadra (Vivekananda College for Women): 'Tess and Lois: Only Women; Neither Angels Nor Demons'

3.05 – 3.30: Afternoon Break

3.30 – 4.15 Plenary: Rt Rev Richard Franklin (Honorary Curator: Thomas Hardy Collection at the Dorset Museum): 'Evangelicalism in Tess of the d'Urbervilles'

4.15 – 5.35 Panel B:

                 Helen Ingham (University of Birmingham): 'Soundscapes in Tess of the d'Urbervilles'

                 Emily Vause (University of Edingburgh): 'The Dissolution of the Human/Natural Divide in Tess of the d'Urbervilles'

                 Peter Villiers (Independent Researcher): 'Religious Hypocrisy in Tess of the d'Urbervilles'

                 Carolina Elices (Independent Researcher): 'Sites of Ruin in Tess of the d'Urbervilles'

5.35: Close and Thanks

Tickets: £30 or Student/Unwaged £15 (To include all refreshments and a buffet lunch)

Please book tickets here: Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Annual THS Study Day 2021 Tickets, Sat 23 Oct 2021 at 09:30 | Eventbrite

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