Wessex Tales is an 1888 collection of tales written by Thomas Hardy, many of which are set before Hardy's birth in 1840.
Through them, Thomas Hardy talks about nineteenth century marriage, grammar, class status, how men and women were viewed, medical diseases and more.
In 1888, Wessex Tales contained only five stories ('The Three Strangers', 'The Withered Arm', 'Fellow-Townsmen', 'Interlopers at the Knap', and 'The Distracted Preacher') all published first in periodicals.
For the 1896 reprinting, Hardy added "An Imaginative Woman," but in 1912 moved this to another collection, Life's Little Ironies, while at the same time transferring two stories – "A Tradition of Eighteen Hundred and Four" and "The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion" – from Life's Little Ironies to Wessex Tales.
TV and Film Adaptations
Six of the short stories were adapted as television dramas by the BBC as the anthology series called Wessex Tales:
- "The Withered Arm" (7 Nov 1973 BBC2), adapted by Rhys Adrian, directed by Desmond Davis and starring Billie Whitelaw
- "Fellow-Townsmen" (14 Nov 1973 BBC2), adapted by Douglas Livingstone, directed by Barry Davis and starring Jane Asher
- "A Tragedy of Two Ambitions" (21 Nov 1973 BBC2), adapted by Dennis Potter, directed by Michael Tuchner and starring John Hurt
- "An Imaginative Woman" (28 Nov 1973 BBC2), adapted by William Trevor, directed by Gavin Millar and starring Claire Bloom
- "The Melancholy Hussar" (5 Dec 1973 BBC2), adapted by Ken Taylor, directed by Mike Newell and starring Ben Cross
- "Barbara of the House of Grebe" (12 Dec 1973 BBC2), adapted by David Mercer, directed by David Jones and starring Nick Brimble and Ben Kingsley
- The Internet Movie Database claims Davis is uncredited; this is an error.
- Hardy, Thomas (1998-07-02). Kathryn King (editor), ed. Wessex Tales. Oxford University Press. p. 280. ISBN 0-19-283558-0. Retrieved 2006-03-30.
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