Included in this edition are ten stories, varying in length from sketch to novella, which were never collected into volumes during Hardy's lifetime. Some contained references to actual people, or plot elements that he reused elsewhere; others, such as his only stories for children, weresimply too different from his other work in the short-story form; the longest, `An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress', was apparently left uncollected to allow for a possible reconstruction of the `lost' novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, from which it was drawn. The three final storiesresulted from literary collaborations which were also emotional involvements, with Florence Henniker in `The Spectre of the Real', and with Florence Dugdale, later the second Mrs Hardy, in `Blue Jimmy: The Horse Stealer' and `The Unconquerable' (now published for the first time). Although all of these stories occupy significant positions within Hardy's career as a writer of fiction - extending that career, indeed, both earlier and later than the standard account would allow - none of them has previously received serious editorial treatment. For the most part they have alsobeen ignored or lightly passed over by critics and biographers, and such discussion as they have aroused has frequently been based on false assumptions. This edition remedies some of these deficiencies in Hardy scholarship, both in its historical introductions and in its critically edited texts,which are based on full collations of all editions published before Hardy's death and all surviving manuscripts, typescripts, and proofs (many of which have gone almost entirely unexamined in the past). Complete lists of the variants in these pre-publication witnesses and in all authoriallyauthorized printings supplement the edited texts.