Thomas Hardy novel trigger warning sparks fury: 'Our universities are preparing their students for world of woke'

The novel depicts the “cruelty of nature and the rural life”, a trigger warning says


The trigger warning placed on a Thomas Hardy novel by a UK university has sparked fury, with an MP saying: “Our universities are preparing their students for world of woke.”

Mr Hardy, an English novelist who died in 1928, was renowned for writing about the realities of Victorian rural life.

But now, students at the University of Warwick are being told that Mr Hardy’s "Far from the Madding Crowd" novel depicts the “cruelty of nature and the rural life”.

The warning issued by the university’s English department said: “Far from the Madding Crowd: Contains some potentially rather upsetting scenes concerning the cruelty of nature and the rural life,” as quoted by The Telegraph.

Thomas Hardy
Thomas Hardy
University of Warwick
University of Warwick

The book, originally published in 1874, contains passages describing dead and dying sheep.

But the trigger warning has been slammed by Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who said: “Who is actually calling for these trigger or content warnings?

“Is it resilient young people or woke-afflicted academics? It is getting out of control and harming the next generation.

“When I attended university, it was to be educated and prepared for the world of work.

“It now appears our universities are preparing their students for a world of woke.”

While a second-year student at the university says they “understand why content notes are there.”

They added to the university’s newspaper, the Warwick tab: “Sometimes we work with some really heavy material (like mental illness) that might be uncomfortable to read and that’s obviously understandable. Whilst literature is all about confronting the uncensored, it’s still important to give people that choice.”

A university of Warwick spokesperson said: “'We believe students should be exposed to challenging ideas, stories and themes through their studies – and view it as an essential part of learning and understanding different perspectives.

“That's why the university does not ask departments to issue content guidance notices for course materials.

“However, a small number of departments and academics choose to do so, making their own judgement and rationale for deciding on what guidance they feel may be needed for the coursework they set.

“We fully respect our colleagues right to exercise their academic freedom in this way, but the practice remains rare within the university – with less than 1 percent of our overall curriculum including any content guidance,” they told MailOnline.

Additional reporting: Isabelle Pethick + Tara Goodsell