A day devoted to one of Hardy's best-loved novels
Saturday 15th April 2023
Starts 10:00 until 17:00
The Town Hall, The Corn Exchange, High East Street, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1HF

THS Study Day 2023 - The Return of the Native

A day devoted to one of Hardy's best-loved novels

The Town Hall in The Corn Exchange, Dorchester, Dorset

Saturday 15th April at 10.00am (Registration opens at 9.15am)

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Keynote Speakers:

Professor Tim Dolin (Curtin University, Perth, Australia): 'The Return of the Native and the Risks of Art'

Professor Angelique Richardson (University of Exeter): 'Hardy's Animal Worlds'

Dr Arthur Keegan-Bole (Compser): 'A Musical Homage - Holst's Egdon Heath and Hardy'

Mark Chutter (THS Academic Director): An innovative creative workshop based on extracts from The Return of the Native involving writing, art, dance, music and drama

And a Performance by The New Hardy Players

2023 marks the 145th anniversary of the publication of The Return of the Native. After the social satire The Hand of Ethelberta received a lukewarm response Hardy's subsequent novel was highly praised for its 'insatiably observant' descriptions of Egdon Heath, a character in its own right. D.H. Lawrence claimed that the setting provided 'the real stuff of tragedy' and it would also inspire the composer Gustave Holst. The Heath serves as a touchstone for each character, loved by some, loathed by others. Red in tooth and claw it claims as victims those who are unable to appreciate its beauty. The characters have proved devisive from the beginning: a review in the Athaenaeum described the plot as 'a man who is in love with two women, and a woman who is in love with two men; the man and the woman being both selfish and sensual...the two persons know no other law than the gratification of their own passions'. Eustacia Vye as hot-blooded heroine suffering from ennui is compared to a witch and her amour Damon Wildeve is linked with the devil, though it is the omniscient Diggory Venn who was famously described by J.O. Bailey as a 'Mephistopholean visitant'. Is Venn a voyeur as has been claimed by a number of feminist critics, or is he the unheimliche Keeper of the Heath? Is Clym Yeobright to be pitied or does he deserve his fate? Is the relationship between he and Mrs Yeobright uncomfortably Oedipal, and are the Rustics simply an entertaining chorus or something more deeply Pagan in nature?

Tickets are £40, or £20 for students/unwaged persons. This includes all talks, seminars and performances, tea/coffee refreshments, a buffet lunch and a wine reception at the close of the day. A resturant will be booked for those wishing to join us for dinner in the evening, and Dr Tony Fincham will be leading an informative walk across Egdon Heath on Sunday 16th April.

Please register here: https://whttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ths-study-day-2023-the-return-of-the-native-tickets-504511004997ww.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ths-study-day-2023-the-return-of-the-native-tickets-504511004997

If you have any queries please don't hesitate to contact THS Secretary - Dr Tracy Hayes - info@hardysociety.org


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