‘Dorset Delights’ at Birkenhead Library

We’re getting into the swing of things on Brian Nellist’s ‘Dorset Delights’ course on Thursday mornings in Birkenhead Central Library, where we’ve been ambling serenely through Thomas Hardy’s Under the Greenwood Tree, pausing regularly to take in the evocatively described Wessex scenery and admire the author’s warmly couched social observations.

The first part of the novel describes the Mellstock church band making the rounds of the village on Christmas Eve, and last week Brian treated us to a hearty rendition of the Christmas carol ‘Remember Adam’s Fall’, as sung by the choir to the comely new schoolmistress Fancy Day. Unlike Adam, Hardy’s rural idyll remains intact so far in this early novel, which contrasts with the darker tone of later works such as Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure.

We’ve discovered a lot about the background to the novel and Hardy’s early life and career – including his false start as a failed satirist of London high society – thanks to Brian’s boundless energy and enthusiasm, which you can see for yourself here.

There are still seven weeks of the course remaining, so if you’d like to come along then contact Mike Butler, Communications Intern: mikebutler@thereader.org.uk, or you can find more information here – discounted prices are available for latecomers!

Alternatively, keep a look-out for details of Part Two of the course which will start in January, when we’ll be exploring works by Austen, Wordsworth and John Fowles.

All proceeds support The Reader Organisation.

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