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27/07/2017

LITERARY LIVES

Location: Dorset County Museum - Click for map

Time: 7pm for 7.30pm

Come and join us for an interesting talk by Helen Angear who has been working on the Thomas Hardy Correspondence Archive at Dorset County Museum. “It occurred to me the other day that this year completes the eighteenth of our friendship. That is rather good as between man and woman, which is usually so brittle” (Aug. 1911). So wrote Hardy to Florence Henniker, an aristocratic lady and fellow writer he met in 1893. Hardy’s comment might make you think of the 1989 film ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and the unresolved question of whether men and women can ever be ‘just friends’. In fact, Hardy and Henniker’s platonic friendship lasted almost thirty years and both sides of their correspondence exist within the archive to tell the story. Henniker’s gift of an inkstand, sent in the post in 1893, can also be seen in Hardy’s study upstairs in the Museum. This talk examines the important role that letters played in their enduring friendship. I seek to dispel the assumption that this is simply a story of unrequited love and reveal how their dialogue provides an understanding of intimate, but non-marital, social bonds between the sexes at the turn of the century. A selection of the letters will also be on display. Helen Angear is an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award student at the University of Exeter, in collaboration with Dorset County Museum. She is working on the Hardy correspondence archive, and her PhD is called 'Thomas Hardy’s Correspondents: Proximity and Distance in Postal Communication'. Helen is also an Associate Lecturer at Exeter College. The talk is FREE although a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.

How to book:
For further information contact the Museum on 01305 756827 or email shop@dorsetcountymuseum.org