Communing With Wessex: Tracy’s Postcard From Dorchester

Tracy and two fellow Hardy students admiring Hardy Birthplace Cottage, Bockhampton, Dorset in 2012

Tracy and two fellow Hardy students admiring Hardy Birthplace Cottage, Bockhampton, Dorset in 2012

Why I went…

The first novel I read by Thomas Hardy was Far From the Madding Crowd, which remains my favourite to this day. The beauty of the language, the glorious depictions of Wessex countryside, characters that have now become as family to me after many re-readings, thus began my Hardy obsession. I have been studying Hardy since my undergrad days many moons ago, my MA dissertation focussed upon how he subverts Milton’s Paradise Lost, and my PhD thesis investigates masculinities in the novels. However it was not until three years ago that I finally had the opportunity to visit Dorset, attending the Thomas Hardy international conference and festival in 2012. I had spent so many years reading and writing about the great man that I was desperate to see where he had been born, and the house in which he wrote my favourite book.

What I got out of the experience…

For me seeing the Birthplace Cottage at Bockhampton was akin to arriving in Valhalla, I had finally found the place I felt I belonged to. The house itself is beautiful, as are the gardens and the church and cemetery where he is buried close by. I was able to stand in the very room in which he was born, grew up in and returned to in order to write Far From the Madding Crowd, to look from the same window through which he had viewed his beloved Dorset countryside, and to feel the very presence of the man. It was a humbling experience, and I was lucky enough to share it with friends who are avid Hardy students like myself. I have since met many wonderful people within the Hardy community, and Dorset is a place I return to on a regular basis.

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2 thoughts on “Communing With Wessex: Tracy’s Postcard From Dorchester

  1. Tracy, thanks for your postcard and for placing it on the Hardy Society distro list.
    That action brought me to this Placing the Author blog, destined to become a favorite virtual destination.

    Like

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