Resources for C19th Non-fiction and Thomas Hardye

We are delighted to announce that 100 letters to the novelist and poet Thomas Hardy – phase one of the Hardy’s Correspondents Project, a collaborative project between Dorset Museum and the University of Exeter – are now available to the public and free to use. We hope that these will be of use to all GCSE and A level English language and literature teachers and students, including everyone who is currently working remotely.
Hardy’s Correspondents
About The Letters. In 1840, the year that the poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was born, the Uniform Penny Post set in train a communications revolution.

All material is free of charge and supports the contextual study of 19th-century literature at GCSE and A level as well as GCSE English Language. The letters also lend themselves to the study of non-fiction at KS3 and Language Variation at KS5 and the resource itself provides a stimulus for creative writing at KS3 and KS4.

The letters are accompanied by a free educational resource developed by the University of Exeter in collaboration with Dorset Museum. The resource provides teachers and students with additional late 19th- and early 20th- century non-fiction texts. We have now updated our webpage to provide a teaching pack, which includes all the non-fiction texts, along with transcripts, for easy use in the classroom. This pack, and lesson plans, accompany our electronic resource, which encourages independent, active learning in and beyond the classroom. There are built-in questions with answers but the resource can also support independent research projects where students find 21st-century texts on similar topics.

We would love to hear about your use of the resources and any lessons that you deliver using any of the material so do please email me directly to let us know or to give us any other feedback!

A key theme is the exploration of historical relations with animals. Students will encounter areas such as Victorian pets and empire and animals as well as letters to and from Hardy. This opens up opportunities for discussion and comparison with 21st-century topical material, such as recent changes in legislation surrounding the use of circus animals. The themes covered by the resource also provide scope for e.g. AQA English Language Paper Two for making connections with such documentaries as Tiger King which many students may have watched during lockdown.
As a taster text, here is a short news item from the Graphic in 1891.

For recent news items and features on Hardy’s Correspondents Project see
Newly discovered letters from Thomas Hardy’s wife Florence – The TLS
Letters | Newly discovered letters from Thomas Hardy’s wife Florence. Essay by Angelique Richardson, University of Exeter
Discovery of letters shines light on Thomas Hardy’s second marriage | Books | The Guardian
Author’s second wife, Florence Dugdale, tells of celebrity pressures, and joy at living with ‘one of the kindest men in the world’
How Thomas Hardy’s feminist fans found inspiration in Tess, the milkmaid exploited and betrayed by the men around her – The Telegraph
She is not only one of English literature’s most beloved of tragic heroines, but recently discovered fan mail has now revealed that Thomas Hardy’s character Tess of the D’Urbervilles …

New English language GCSE expands opportunites | Tes News
GCSE English: ‘New, exciting’ approaches . As students sit the reformed GCSE English language exam, two educators explain the benefits of working with 19th-century texts. By Angelique Richardson and Helen Angear 05 June 2018 – 12:15. Share this. The recent reform of the English language GCSE to include pre-20th-century unseen texts means …

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