Hardy and Devon, Image: Killerton House © Andrew Butler/National Trust

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Hardy and Devon

An Arts and culture lecture
Date29 May 2012
Time17:00 to 18:00
PlaceQueens Building LT1

Free Public Lecture

University of Exeter
Lecture Theatre 1
Queen’s Building
The Queen’s Drive
Streatham Campus

Advance booking essential. To reserve your seat telelephone: 01392 725879 or email: artsandculture@exeter.ac.uk

Devon, Hardy's 'next county', was 'lower Wessex' in his 'partly real, partly dream-country'.

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.

Hardy was a frequent visitor, by bicycle, train, and, eventually, motorcar. 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.

In this public lecture Dr Angelique Richardson at the University of Exeter will talk about Hardy's connections with Devon and show images of the places that inspired him.

This lecture is part of the University of Exeter lecture series for Wordquest Devon

ProviderArts and culture

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