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Wessex Tales

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By: (1840-1928)

Wessex Tales is a collection of six short stories written by Hardy in the 1880’s. If you’ve never read Hardy they’ll serve as a good introduction to his writing. Though not as comprehensive as his major works they do contain all the ingredients that make him instantly recognisable. (Introduction by T. Hynes.)

First Page:

WESSEX TALES

Contents:

Preface An Imaginative Woman The Three Strangers The Withered Arm Fellow Townsmen Interlopers at the Knap The Distracted Preacher

PREFACE

An apology is perhaps needed for the neglect of contrast which is shown by presenting two consecutive stories of hangmen in such a small collection as the following. But in the neighbourhood of county towns tales of executions used to form a large proportion of the local traditions; and though never personally acquainted with any chief operator at such scenes, the writer of these pages had as a boy the privilege of being on speaking terms with a man who applied for the office, and who sank into an incurable melancholy because he failed to get it, some slight mitigation of his grief being to dwell upon striking episodes in the lives of those happier ones who had held it with success and renown. His tale of disappointment used to cause some wonder why his ambition should have taken such an unfortunate form, but its nobleness was never questioned. In those days, too, there was still living an old woman who, for the cure of some eating disease, had been taken in her youth to have her 'blood turned' by a convict's corpse, in the manner described in 'The Withered Arm... Continue reading book >>


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