That is to say: An Imaginative Woman | The Three Strangers | The Withered Arm | Fellow-Townsmen | Interlopers at the Knap | and The Distracted Preacher. With an Etching by H. Macbeth-Raeburn and a Map of Wessex. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1896. Original dark green cloth with monogram device in gilt.
"Wessex Novels" edition -- containing the first American appearance of Hardy's short story "An Imaginative Woman," which he had recently written in 1893 (after TESS and before JUDE). WESSEX TALES was Hardy's first collection of short stories, originally published in two volumes in 1888; however it consisted of only the five other tales, which he had written by then. Osgood McIlvaine in the UK, and Harper in the US (as here), published this first uniform edition of Hardy's works, volume-by-volume during the period 1895-96. It is an important edition, because the text of every title was thoroughly revised by Hardy -- and with this title, he actually added a new tale. Hardy also wrote a Preface for each 1895-1896 volume, and here he says "[An Imaginative Woman] turns upon a physical possibility that may attach to women of imaginative temperament, and that is well supported by the experiences of medical men and other observers of such manifestations" -- specifically, if a pregnant woman becomes emotionally attached to a man who is not the father of her child, the child may acquire the characteristics of that other man. This copy is close to fine, with just a hint of wear at some corners. See Purdy p. 60 and pp 279-282. Item #14929