A Mirthy Group Lecture by Tracy Hayes

Hardy and Milton: Subverting Paradise Lost

A Mirthy Group Lecture by Tracy Hayes

Tuesday 9th August at 4pm. This is a free online event.

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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 CrowdThe 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.

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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 ProceedingsPalgrave CommunicationsRRRMerry 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.

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Mirthy is an events platform promoting learning and community in retirement. We believe that an active life bursting with education and meaningful connections should be accessible to all.
Launched in 2020, Mirthy has supported over 50,000 users, and won several awards/competitions in that short time including Mental Wellness Social Enterprise of the Year 2022 at the UK Enterprise Awards. Mirthy offers over 100 online events every month covering a variety of health & well-being activities and learning interests including pilates, yoga, musical concerts, cooking demonstration, dancing and craft workshops, and educational lectures.
Driven by our mission of promoting health & well-being and championing connection and community, we support people to lead healthier, happy lives and create lasting social impact. We are delighted to be partnering with The Thomas Hardy Society to provide high-quality educational events. With Free and Premium membership available, we'd love to welcome any Thomas Hardy Society members to try out Mirthy for themselves and attend the following events for free! Visit: www.mirthy.co.uk 

The link for the talk can be found here: https://www.mirthy.co.uk/event-calendar/fallen-wessex-hardy-milton/

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