WESSEX TALES: STRANGE, LIVELY AND COMMONPLACE. London and New York: Macmillan and Co., 1888. Octavo, two volumes: pp. [1-8] [1-3] 4-247 [248: blank]; [1-8] [1-3] 4-212 [313-316: ads] [note: a blank leaf precedes the half title leaf in each volume], original dark green cloth, front panels stamped in light green, spine panels stamped in light green and gold, publisher's monograms stamped in light green on rear panels, all edges untrimmed. First edition. Published on 4 May 1888 in an edition of 750 copies of which only 634 were bound up. Five stories, including "The Withered Arm" and "The Three Strangers," his two most frequently anthologized supernatural horror stories. "With his fatalistic sensibility, ghostly atmosphere, and unparalleled sense of doom and gloom, Hardy was a natural for horror stories ... Dark irony, a definitive characteristic of modern supernatural horror, is manipulated more masterfully by Hardy than perhaps by any other English writer." - Tymn (ed), Horror Literature 3-90. "... Hardy's ghost and Gothic fiction are acknowledged as among the most artistically satisfying produced and are successful contributions to both the supernatural genre and English literature in general." - Wilson, Shadows in the Attic, p. 240. "Hardy is usually described as bleak, but an almost impish sense of black humor, an appreciation of 'life's little ironies,' runs through his work like a leavening agent. So too does the shadowy working (especially in the short stories) of supernatural forces, forces akin to the fate and cosmic irony we see so often in the novels." - Robert Eldridge. Sullivan (ed), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, pp. 190-92. Queen, The Detective Short Story, p. 50. Purdy, pp. 58-9. Small embossed stamp of William Creighton Spencer on half title, title, and last text leaf of each volume. Slight spine lean, cloth lightly worn at spine ends and corner tips, some rubbing along outer joints, endpapers foxed, a very good copy. A fairly nice copy overall. (#149463).
No statement of printing.