Wessex Tales

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But these tales also portray the social and economic stresses of s Dorset, and reveal Hardy's growing scepticism about the possibility of achieving personal and sexual satisfaction in the modern world.

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By turns humorous, ironic, macabre, and elegiac, these seven stories show the range of Hardy's story-telling genius. The critically established text, the first to be based on detailed study of all revised texts, presents manuscript readings which have never before appeared in print.

We use cookies to deliver a better user experience and to show you ads based on your interests. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our Privacy Policy. The story centres on a scorned ex-wife whose jealous loathing of her successor brings about, apparently supernaturally, a physical deterioration in her rival.

This short story concerns two young brothers who are aiming to achieve high status in the church but are continually frustrated by their embarrassing father, resolutely bucolic and regularly drunk.

Wessex Tales, by Thomas Hardy : contents

The tale ends tragi-comically with the inebriated father falling into a river and drowning while his two steadfastly religious sons look on. This time the wife falls for the occupant of the lodgings which she and her husband are using for their family holiday — the twist being that she never meets the occupant but only reads his poetry and communicates under a pen-name, which leads him to commit suicide because of this unattainable love.

Wessex Tales by Thomas Hardy - Audiobook

Again, it is a story of unattainable love: a young girl falls for a German soldier whose battalion is encamped just beyond her house on Bincombe Down, near Weymouth. His plan to elope with her fails and he is shot for desertion.

The Withered Arm and Other Wessex Tales

Kingsley played the sadistic second husband who tries to terrorise his wife into loving him — which inevitably ends in disaster. Email This Post. Dorset Life Magazine.

As his family lacked the means to send him to university, he was apprenticed to a local architect. However, he was not happy living in London, and after five years he returned to Dorset, deciding to devote himself to writing.

Wessex Tales, by Thomas Hardy

In , he met and fell in love with Emma Gifford, and they married three years later. Although not an entirely happy marriage, Hardy was devastated by her death in and his Poems —14 are an elegy to her memory. His first novel failed to find a publisher and the next two were published under a pseudonym.

The first novel published under his own name, A Pair of Blue Eyes , based on his relationship with Emma, appeared in The success of Far From the Madding Crowd enabled him to become a full-time author.


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During the following 25 years he produced 10 novels. His first short story was published in and his first collection, Wessex Tales, appeared in two volumes in The map Hardy drew of his fictional Wessex is a fascinating mixture of real and invented place names; key towns such as Bristol, Bath and Southampton are given their real names, whilst other names, such as Exonbury, Melchester and Knollsea, are his invented titles for existing places.

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Some are based on real events, others are pure invention. Sometimes the two are so intermingled that even the author himself may be unsure which is which. Hardy writes in a footnote on A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four that he thought he had invented what he considered the rather unlikely situation of a sighting of Napoleon Bonaparte on these shores, only to learn years later that the story was already extant and accepted locally as a fact.

But, however far-fetched a tale, the great pleasure was in the telling.