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Title: Thomas Hardy and education
Author: Memel, Jonathan Godshaw
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 7825
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2015
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Thomas Hardy wrote during a time of extraordinary growth in British education when the purposes of learning were being passionately questioned. This thesis situates Hardy’s writing both within and beyond these debates, showing how his writing avows a Victorian fascination with education while contesting its often rigid actualization in nineteenth-century society. This project places new emphasis on the range of educationalists that Hardy counted as friends. These included the dialect poet and early-Victorian schoolmaster, William Barnes; the influential architect of the 1870s board schools, Thomas Roger Smith; and the leader of late-century reforms to female teacher training colleges, Joshua Fitch. Caught between life in rural surroundings and systemized forms of education, Hardy's characters frequently endure dislocation from community and estrangement from natural environments as penalties of their intellectual development. Much previous scholarship has for this reason claimed education as a source of despair in Hardy’s writing. However, this thesis reveals the people and experiences which rigid institutions exclude, and foregrounds Hardy’s depiction of the natural environment as an alternative source of learning. Exploring Hardy's representations of education as both reflective of contemporary change and suggestive of new possibilities, chapters focus on aspects of education most resonant with Hardy's own life and central to his fiction, including the professionalization and training of schoolmistresses, the working-class movement for liberal education, educational architecture, and rural forms of education. By exploring connections between fiction and social and political concerns, the thesis demonstrates how the idea of education relates to some key characteristics of Hardy's writing, for example the observant onlooker and the native returned.
Supervisor: Richardson, Angelique ; Kendall, Tim Sponsor: National Trust ; Great Western Research
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education ; Hardy