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  • Published: 7 July 2003
  • ISBN: 9780140439007
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $32.99

The Fiddler of the Reels and Other Stories 1888-1900



A companion volume to The Withered Arm & Other Stories, 1874-1888 (0140435328)

The Melancholy Hussar/ A Tragedy of Two Ambitions/ The First Countess of Wessex/ Barbara of the House of Grebe/ For Conscience' Sake/ The Son's Veto/ On the Western Circuit/ An Imaginative Woman/ A Changed Man/ Enter a Dragoon
The 11 short storiesin this collection range from those with the Wessex setting familiar from Hardy's novels, to aristocratic historical fantasies set in the 17th and 18th centuries, and tragic or ironic contemporary dramas. Enormously readable in their own right, thestories can also be seen as a rich testing ground for ideas and themes that receive more sustained treatment in Hardy's most innovative and controversial novels.

  • Published: 7 July 2003
  • ISBN: 9780140439007
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Thomas Hardy


Thomas Hardy was born in a cottage in Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester, on 2 June 1840. He was educated locally and at sixteen was articled to a Dorchester architect, John Hicks. In 1862 he moved to London and found employment with another architect, Arthur Blomfield. He now began to write poetry and published an essay. By 1867 he had returned to Dorset to work as Hicks's assistant and began his first (unpublished) novel, The Poor Man and the Lady.

On an architectural visit to St Juliot in Cornwall in 1870 he met his first wife, Emma Gifford. Before their marriage in 1874 he had published four novels and was earning his living as a writer. More novels followed and in 1878 the Hardys moved from Dorset to the London literary scene. But in 1885, after building his house at Max Gate near Dorchester, Hardy again returned to Dorset. He then produced most of his major novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), The Woodlanders (1887), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891), The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved (1892) and Jude the Obscure (1895). Amidst the controversy caused by Jude the Obscure, he turned to the poetry he had been writing all his life. In the next thirty years he published over nine hundred poems and his epic drama in verse, The Dynasts.

After a long and bitter estrangement, Emma Hardy died at Max Gate in 1912. Paradoxically, the event triggered some of Hardy's finest love poetry. In 1914, however, he married Florence Dugdale, a close friend for several years. In 1910 he had been awarded the Order of Merit and was recognized, even revered, as the major literary figure of the time. He died on 11 January 1928. His ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey and his heart at Stinsford in Dorset.

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