A Man of Character: Thomas Hardy's 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'

Ref: C2344490

'The Mayor of Casterbridge' presents the reader with a gripping tale, and also with many of the themes - love, loss, regret - that characterise Hardy's poetry in later years. This course is a chance to explore both novel and poems in depth, against the background of an extraordinary life lived at a time of rapid change.

Course aim

This course enables students to explore Hardy's novel, in addition using his poetry as a thematic focus.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline and http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • This course is for a group of around 15 students studying in a live video-learning platform conference and an online digital learning environment platform from the comfort of your own home.
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Say a little about plot, characterisation and setting in 'The Mayor of Casterbridge', and the effect on each of Hardy's method of composition.
  • Suggest some thematic links between some of Hardy's poems and the novel.
  • Analyse chosen passages of poetry and/or prose more closely and in context.
  • (Optional) Either undertake research into a related topic of literary or social history and report on this to the class, or respond creatively (in prose, poetry, drama or artwork) to the texts studied.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be useful to read 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' in advance, and a broad knowledge of other Hardy novels would be an asset though not essential.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • As stated above, pre-reading would be an advantage although this will not be assumed.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

A Man of Character: Thomas Hardy's 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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