Killerton House, Devon
(c) Andrew Butler/National Trust
Hardy and Devon Public Lecture
Dr Angelique Richardson from the English department will discuss novelist and poet Thomas Hardy's connections with Devon in a Public Lecture.
Novelist and poet Thomas Hardy was a frequent visitor to Devon - by bicycle, train, and eventually, motorcar. It was his 'next country' and 'lower Wessex' in his 'partly real, partly dream country', and the places and people of Devon echo through his life and works.
Over the Valley of the Exe hangs a dense white fog, 'ending against the hills on either side'. Plymouth breakwater appears 'like a streak of phosphoric light upon the surface of the sea'; the city is marble-streeted and schoolgirls laugh along the hoe as the ships come and go.
He had a romantic attachment to his cousin Tryphena Sparks, who later became a headmistress in Plymouth, before marrying and moving to Topsham, and he married the Plymouth-born Emma Lavinia Gifford, his 'West of Wessex Girl'. As a young man he was articled to the Totnes-born architect, John Hicks. The places and people of Devon echo through his life and works. His stories include a milkmaid in Silverton (who narrowly escapes eloping with Baron von Xanten in his yacht at Sidmouth), music and dancing teachers in Exeter, a reluctant school teacher in Torquay, express train journeys between Paddington and Plymouth, and a wedding dress made in Exeter.
When Hardy's first wife, Emma, recalled leaving Devon at the age of eighteen, she wrote 'no county has ever been taken to my heart like that one: its loveliness of place, its gentleness, and the generosity of the people are deeply impressed upon my memory.'
In this talk Dr Angelique Richardson from the English department will discuss Hardy's connections with Devon and show images of the places that inspired him.
Tuesday 29 May, 5pm
Location: University of Exeter Lecture Theatre 1, Queen's Building, The Queen's Drive, Streatham Campus, Exeter, EX4 4QH
Free entry, advanced booking essential. To reserve your seat: Tel 01392 725879 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This lecture is part of the University of Exeter lecture series for Wordquest Devon.
Date: 11 May 2012