Victorian Fayre

William Barnes Society Fund-Raising Event to celebrate the life of William Barnes the Dorset dialect poet.

Saturday 24th February 2018

From Thursday 14th September 2017 19:00 until Thursday 14th September 2017 21:00

Literary Lives: The Infants' Grammar
By Alan Chedzoy

Alan Chedzoy
Alan Chedzoy

Is it possible to teach English grammar in pictures? Some early educators thought so. This illustrated talk takes place on Thursday 14 September 2017 in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and will present two nineteenth-century picture books which attempted to inculcate small children with an understanding of the most basic grammatical subject, namely the ‘parts of speech’.

The books introduced their readers to a cast of linguistic ‘characters’ including not only the parts of speech themselves, but also Bobby who hates grammar, and Dr Brown, a sort of resident pedagogue, who swishes his cane at the little dunces in his care.
Though displaying many delightful absurdities, these books exhibit a considerable ingenuity. Yet in doing so, they raise a number of linguistic and even philosophical problems, including issues of children’s conceptual development. How can we define a preposition to them? Should we even attempt to do so?

No previous knowledge of grammar is required from those who attend. Indeed, those who have forgotten the last shreds of their grammatical knowledge may regain at least a modest insight into the most elementary foundations of the subject.
The talk is addressed to a general audience but may be of especial interest to teachers who find themselves obliged by governmental decree to explain English grammar to little ones.

The speaker Alan Chedzoy taught in secondary schools, and for eighteen years in teacher education. A graduate in literature and philosophy, his doctoral thesis related the theory of literature to educational philosophy. His work has been published in such educational journals as: The Use of English and The Oxford Review of Education. His recent years have been chiefly devoted to writing literary biographies, and as a member of the William Barnes Society is an authority on Dorset literature and dialect. His readings of the work of Thomas Hardy and William Barnes have been widely praised. The Gramophone magazine’s verdict on his recordings of dialect poetry was that ‘you will hear none better’.

This lecture is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm and talks start at 7.30pm.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Literary Lives: The Infants Grammar
A contraction of "E'er a one"

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Forthcoming events

Victorian Fayre William Barnes Society Fund-Raising Event to celebrate the life of William Barnes the Dorset dialect poet. Saturday 24th February 2018
What’s the point of William Barnes in 21st Century? For the many years of the dominance of Received Pronunciation (RP) it was easy to see William Barnes as an irrelevant eccentric. With more recent developments in linguistics, and a growing interest in national and regional diversity, it may be time for Barnes to reclaim his place as a significant figure in the world!! Dr Richard Bradbury will also discuss his more socially engaged prose works. Tuesday 27th March 2018
Annual Service of Remembrance of William Barnes Morning service, with dialect reading and wreath laying at William Barnes and and his daughter Laura grave Sunday 22nd April 2018
The Serpent and it’s Local Connections Come an listen to musician, Philip Humphries talk on the history and development of the strange bass wind instrument known as the 'Serpent' due to its curious shape. This talk will be interspersed with music and poetry. Tuesday 15th May 2018

Latest news

John Blackmore captivates Society members Following the recent William Barnes Society Annual General Meeting, John Blackmore presented 'Music and Song' to the audience. Sunday 15th October 2017
Service of Remembrance to William Barnes On Sunday 8h October 2017 10:30am, at St Peter’s Church, Dorchester, the Morning Service to commemorate the anniversary of the death of William Barnes took place. It was followed by a wreath laying at the statute. Monday 9th October 2017
Crossways Library opens its doors to welcome William Barnes Poetry On 19th September 2017, a group of William Barnes Society members gave an evening of poetry, music and song at Crossways Library for the Local History Group and guests. Wednesday 20th September 2017
Stock Gaylard Oak Fair 2017 Once again Members of the William Barnes Society were invited on August 27th to The Stock Gaylard Oak Fair. for the special event celebrating woodcraft, timber, conservation and the countryside. Monday 28th August 2017

William Barnes and Winslow Homer

William Barnes and Winslow HomerWilliam Barnes and Winslow Homer Jim Potts examines the illustrations by artists Winslow Homer and Hammatt Billings for William Barnes book 'Rural Poems' published in Boston, America in 1869


MusicMusic Many of Barnes' poems have been set to music, most famously 'Linden Lea' by Ralph Vaughan Williams
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