Thomas Hardy was not just a great poet and novelist. He was also a keen musician and an enthusiastic dancer.
As a boy he played at dances in his neighbourhood and heard many of the traditional songs and melodies which were beginning to die out.
As a young man in London he attended dances at the popular dance halls where he became familiar with many of the new polkas and quadrilles.
References to dancing appear throughout his long career as a writer. Many of his novels bring characters together in a dance while numerous poems list the titles of tunes that he was able to recall in his old age, although they can have meant little to many of his urban readers.
In addition, Hardy was fascinated by the image of couples clasped for a dance and the figures they trod.
This talk will examine some of the references to dance in Hardy’s writings, including poems novels and short stories. Musical examples will be played to illustrate some of the dances.
The speaker has written on Hardy and Jane Austen and has played in folk bands for many years.