Masterclass: Tess of the D’Urbervilles with Josie Billington

Read the book? Watched the recent BBC adaptation? Now go deeper…

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Masterclass with Josie Billington

Wednesday 2nd June, 10.30am – 3.00pm
19 Abercromby Square, Liverpool, L69 7ZG
£30, including lunch and refreshments (£15 concessions)


Come along to read and discuss Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles with other readers in the company of Josie Billington, Lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool and The Reader Organisation’s Research Manager. Hardy writes,

She might have seen that what had bowed her head so profoundly – the thought of the world’s concern at her situation – was founded on an illusion. She was not an existence, a passion, a structure of sensations, to anybody but herself. … Almost at a leap Tess thus changed from simple girl to complex woman.

Read (in advance if you can) this brave and powerfully moving story of a young woman’s mistakes, second chances, the world’s crass failure to honour these, and Hardy’s – and her own – vital commitment, amid all, to the human scale.

Passages will be provided on the day but please bring a copy of the novel with you if possible.

To book your place on this Masterclass you need to complete a booking form, which you can download from this page on our website, and return it to Mark Till, Training Programme Assistant, by email or fax 0151 794 2291.

1 thought on “Masterclass: Tess of the D’Urbervilles with Josie Billington”

  1. Both Brian and Josie are most cetainly worthy of finding your stamp and getting off that booking form – fast. What you’ll get along with “a lot of fun” is to read with two quick-witted, warm-hearted, intelligent readers – no coldly aloof nor self-centred research aims here.

    I could think of a million different parts of Hardy’s novel that are also very worthy of quoting here, but, no, no! I will restrain the impulse (for once). Go to the class if you can!

    Well, alright I can’t resist – try the chapter ‘The woman pays’ – mine is an old Pan copy so it’s no use giving page numbers for specific quotes.

    Hardy mixes his own thoughts/heart-throbs into the narrative of Tess and Angel Clare at a climactic moment when both have come too tragicaly close, in division. – Human nature and human knowledge stand guilty of many moral wrongdoings when separated from their natural medium, perhaps Hardy is best at telling this-

    ‘With all his attempted independence of judgement this advanced and well-meaningyoung man, a sample product of the last five and twenty years, was yet the slave to custom and conventionality …….No prophet had told him, and he was not prophet enough to tell himself, that essentially this young wife of his was as deserving of the praise of King Lemuel as any other woman endowed with the same dislike of evil, her moral value having to be reckoned not by achievement but by tendency. …..In considering what Tess was not, he overlooked what she was, and forgot that the defective can be more than the entire’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *