The Distracted Preacher and Other Tales

The Distracted Preacher and Other Tales

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Introduction by:
Notes by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140431247
  • 368 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


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.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Table of Contents

Hardy’s Life and Works: a Chronology
1. Thomas Hardy as a Short Story Writer
2. The Selected Stories

Hardy’s Wessex
Key to Place-Names

The Distracted Preacher
A Mere Interlude
The Withered Arm
A Tragedy of Two Ambitions
The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion
Barbara of the House of Grebe
On the Western Circuit
The Son’s Veto
The Fiddler of the Reels
An Imaginative Woman
The Grave by the Handpost

Hardy’s General Preface to the Wessex Edition of 1912
Bibliographical Note
Note on the Text
Explanatory Notes