THE DISTRACTED PREACHER, AND OTHER TALES
Thomas Hardy's short stories reveal a literary persona, a creative intelligence and an imaginative vision uniquely and unmistakably his own. Those contained within this volume are among his finest and most representative and include The Withered Arm, one of his best known and most gripping; Barbara of the House of Grebe, said by T. S. Eliot to portray 'a world of pure evil'; The Son's Veto, regarded by Hardy as his best story; and, of course, The Distracted Preacher, possible the most flawless of all. Like the novels, the short stories reveal Hardy's preoccupation with affairs of the heart, with love requited and frustrated, fulfilled or doomed. They contain many of his most powerful portraits of women; they are streaked with the grotesque, the macabre and bizarre; and they are permeated by that atmosphere, narrative power, and vivid sense of place and its intimate relation to character which are the essentials of Hardy's genius.