Wessex Tales (Paperback)
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Wessex Tales - Thomas Hardy - Complete Six Tales - Brand New Edition. Wessex Tales is an 1888 collection of tales written by Thomas Hardy, many of which are set before Hardy's birth in 1840. Through them, Thomas Hardy talks about nineteenth century marriage, grammar, class status, how men and women were viewed, medical diseases and more. In 1888, Wessex Tales contained only five stories ('The Three Strangers', 'The Withered Arm', 'Fellow-Townsmen', 'Interlopers at the Knap', and 'The Distracted Preacher') all published first in periodicals. For the 1896 reprinting, Hardy added "An Imaginative Woman," but in 1912 moved this to another collection, Life's Little Ironies, while at the same time transferring two stories - "A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four" and "The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion" - from Life's Little Ironies to Wessex Tales. '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.'