A Thomas Hardy Society Study Day

Saturday, 10th April 2021 at 10.00am

The Corn Exchange, Dorchester


Professor Roger Ebbatson (University of Lancaster)

Professor Oindrila Ghosh (Diamond Harbour Women’s University)

Dr Karin Koehler (University of Bangor)

Dr Tony Fincham (Thomas Hardy Society Chairman)

Reverend Richard Franklin (Honorary Curator of the Thomas Hardy Archives)

And a performance by the New Hardy Players

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. The Thomas Hardy Society warmly invites proposals for twenty-minute presentations on any aspect of Tess of the d’Urbervilles which may include, but are not limited to:

  • Female subjectivity and Victorian masculinity
  • The sexual double standard
  • Nineteenth-century societal expectations
  • Hardy as a social commentator
  • The Victorian class system
  • Tess in the age of #metoo
  • Working conditions of the rural poor
  • Religious hypocricy

To support attendance at this day which has been designed to appeal to academics and general enthusiasts alike, the Society will once again be offering two bursaries of £50 each to students who would otherwise find travel or accommodation costs prohibitive. Please send proposals of not more than 350 words, and no later than 28 February 2021, along with a brief description, if you are a student, of how a bursary would benefit your studies, to Dr Tracy Hayes at

This post has been re-published by permission from the BAVS Postgraduates Blog. Please see the original post at