A THS Conference/Festival Lecture by Dr Tracy Hayes

'Fallen Wessex: Hardy's Subversion of Milton's Paradise Lost'

A THS Conference/Festival Lecture by Dr Tracy Hayes

Friday 29th July at 9.15am - The United Church, Dorchester

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John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667) is a central monument in British literary history and was considered the canonical text by Victorian scholars. For Thomas Addison the poem is 'universal' in its scope and 'useful' for teaching 'the great moral of obedience'. Eve damned all women as weak and vain creatures through her succumbing to temptation by Satan in the Garden of Eden. It was Eve's 'fall' that corrupted Adam, and by extension, all of mankind. Milton represented the convention of silencing Eve within male-authored texts, until Thomas Hardy subverted the ethos of the 'fall' through three particular novels - Far From the Madding Crowd, The Woodlanders and Jude the Obscure. Hardy proposes not one but two Eve figures - the tempter and the punished - for each Adam and these figures are not gender-specific. Through the 'Eve complex' Hardy provided an alternative reading of the foundation myth which challenged contemporary gender conventions, famously prompting Margaret Oliphant's castigating review 'The Anti-Marriage League' in Blackwood's Magazine in 1896 and driving the Bishop of Wakefield to throw his copy of Jude into the fire.

Tracy Hayes received her PhD in 2017 with a thesis investigating masculinity in the novels of Thomas Hardy. She is the Secretary and Website/Social Media Director for the Thomas Hardy Society and regularly organizes conferences and study days. Having presented papers on Hardy, M.R. James and Edgar Allan Poe at numerous conferences throughout the UK, Dr Hayes has also published in various journals including the DNHAS Proceedings, Palgrave Communications, RRR, Merry Meet, the Victorian Popular Fiction Association journal and Short Fiction Studies, and she has contributed chapters to various collections on Hardy, Relationships, the Brontës, Poe and the Gothic. Her current research centres around representations of Gothic masculinity in the short stories of Poe, Hardy and M.R. James.

This lecture is free to full conference delegates. However tickets can be purchased for £10 (£8 for members) here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fallen-wessex-hardys-subversion-of-milton-by-dr-tracy-hayes-tickets-301936990667

For any enquiries please contact THS Secretary - Dr Tracy Hayes - info@hardysociety.org


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