Bread Loaf in Santa Fe, summer 2010

Thomas Hardy, Novelist and Poet/Ms. Keen/

Bring Selected Poetry to class on the first day, and on every class day after that. Be prepared to discuss all of Desperate Remedies on the second day of class.

A reading of selected poetry by Thomas Hardy and close study of his fiction. High Victorian novelist and skeptical modern poet, Hardy bridges both literary periods and generic categories. In addition to selections from his lyric and narrative verse, we will read Hardy’s first published novel, Desperate Remedies (1871), his first big success, Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), and four of his acknowledged masterworks, The Return of the Native (1878), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887) and Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891). Opportunities to write about his short fiction, novels not covered in the course, or his Napoleonic epic-drama The Dynasts will be afforded to interested students if they can acquire texts (The Dynasts will be on reserve as part of The Complete Poetical Works). The course will serve as an introduction to the driving issues of the late Victorian period, including but not limited to loss of faith, the impact of Darwin, and the rapid pace of social change. It will also challenge preconceptions about Hardy as a depressing pessimist afflicted by prudish censors, as we will enjoy the funny, weird and salacious in Hardy’s work. It would be helpful to become familiar with Hardy’s life before the start of the course. Looking at just one biography should do the trick.

Recommended biographies include:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) entry on Hardy is short but comprehensive. Get it online through a research library. Middlebury College has the electronic version.
James Gibson, Thomas Hardy: A Literary Life. As the title suggests, focuses on the writing career.
Geoffrey Harvey, Thomas Hardy. Life and contexts; work; criticism: an intro in Routledge Guides to Literature series.
Michael Millgate, Thomas Hardy: A Biography Revisited. The standard scholarly life.
Ralph Pite, Thomas Hardy: The Guarded Life. Challenges some of the verities about Hardy, promulgated by Hardy himself.
Claire Tomalin, Thomas Hardy, The Time-Torn Man. Hardy's relations with women emphasized.
Paul Turner, The Life of Thomas Hardy. A literary biography, focusing on the writing career.
Merryn Williams, A Preface to Hardy. My favorite short intro to Hardy, emphasizing contexts and influences.

Online resources:

For grammar, punctuation and diction, see the free online version of the Norton Field Guide Handbook.
Thomas Hardy Country. Images.
TTHA, The Thomas Hardy Association (scholarly). See their links and online resources.
The Thomas Hardy Society (based in Dorchester, England).
Victorian Literary Studies on-line Hyper-Concordance.
Prosody practice from University of Virginia's For Better for Verse.

Required texts: Please get the most recent paperback Oxford World Classics editions. Other editions may differ quite markedly. Desperate Remedies (Oxford. ISBN: 0-19-955482-X); Far from the Madding Crowd (Oxford, ISBN: 0-19-953701-1); The Return of the Native (Oxford. ISBN: 0-19-953704-6); The Mayor of Casterbridge (Oxford. ISBN: 0-19-953703-8); The Woodlanders (Oxford. 0-19-953853-0); Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Oxford. ISBN: 0-19-953705-4); Selected Poetry (Oxford. ISBN: 0-19-953850-6).

10% participation, including class work and discussion leader assignment
30% paper #1: 1200-1500 words, close reading of a single poem or short passage
60% paper #2: 3300-4000 words, research-based, open topic

Films on reserve:

Under the Greenwood Tree (Nicholas Laughland). Film version of an early pastoral novel by Hardy.
Far From the Madding Crowd (John Schlesinger)
The Return of the Native (Jack Gould)
The Claim (Michael Winterbottom). A version of The Mayor of Casterbridge.
The Woodlanders (Phil Agland)
Tess (Roman Polanski)
Jude (Michael Winterbottom). Film adaptation of Hardy's last major novel.

Th 6/17 Selected Poetry, “Hap, “Neutral Tones,” “The Ivy-Wife”; studying Hardy (his life)

Tu 6/22 Desperate Remedies (the whole novel); studying Hardy (contexts)
W 6/23 office hours during the day in the side room to the left as you enter the library, with breaks for meals
Th 6/24 Far from the Madding Crowd (3-177); Selected Poetry, “The Impercipient,” “Drummer Hodge,” “The Darkling Thrush, “The Ruined Maid”

Tu 6/29 Far from the Madding Crowd (178-389); Selected Poetry, “In Tenebris I, II, III” “The Curate’s Kindness”
W 6/30 office hours during the day with breaks for meals
Th 7/1 Return of the Native (9-204); Selected Poetry, “A Church Romance, “ “The Roman Road, “ “One We Knew,” and “The Man He Killed”
Friday July 2, paper due (1200-1500 word close reading of a poem or single passage) by 1:00 p.m. in my faculty mail box. If I cannot pick it up after I eat lunch, it is a late paper.

Tu 7/6 Return of the Native (205-390); Selected Poetry, “Channel Firing,” “The Convergence of the Twain,” “Wessex Heights,” and “ ‘Ah, Are You Digging on my Grave?’”
W 7/7 no office hours
Th 7/8 The Mayor of Casterbridge (3-129); Selected Poetry, Poems of 1912-13 (the 21 “Emma” poems)

Tu 7/13 The Mayor of Casterbridge (130-310); Selected Poetry, Satires of Circumstance (15 poem sequence)
W 7/14 office hours during the day with breaks for meals
Th 7/15 The Woodlanders (3-156); Selected Poetry, “The Oxen,” “Logs on the Hearth,” “The Pity of It,” “In Time of Breaking of Nations”
Friday July 16, paper due (3300-4000 word research essay, open topic). by 1:00 p.m. in my faculty mail box. If I cannot pick it up after I eat lunch, it is a late paper.

Tu 7/20 The Woodlanders (157-331); Selected Poetry, “At a House in Hampstead, “ “At the Railway Station, Upway,” “ A Night of Questionings,” “Life and Death at Sunrise”
Th 7/22 Tess of the D’Urbervilles (13-209); Selected Poetry, “Snow in the Suburbs,” “Winter Night in Woodland,” “A Second Attempt,” “At a Pause in a Country Dance”

Tu 7/27 Tess of the D’Urbervilles (210-420); Selected Poetry, “Epitaph on a Pessimist,” “ A Wish for Unconsciousness,” “He Resolves to Say no More,” and “Last Chorus” from The Dynasts