The darkly passionate short stories of Thomas Hardy are compelling explorations of love, social class, superstition and legend. This collection contains many of his finest and most representative, and includes "The Withered Arm," an eerie depiction of arcane witchcraft in nineteenth-century England; "Barbara of the House of Grebe," in which a beautiful man's tragic disfigurement by fire is savagely exploited by his rival; "The Son's Veto," showing the cruelty of an educated youth towards his ignorant but tender mother; and "The Distracted Preacher," the story of one man's conflict between heartfelt love and his own sense of moral and civic duty. By turns moving and poetic, and surprisingly modern and brutally macabre, these eloquent tales may be numbered among the greatest creations of Hardy's genius.
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