Containing the 1892 serial version as well as the version that appeared in book form in 1897, this volume makes available one of Thomas Hardy's lesser-known works. At the center of the story is a sculptor obsessed with the ideal woman, who falls in love with three women in the same family, each of a different generation. Considering the storyline's possibilities, Hardy presents two different "what-ifs".
Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset in 1840 and became an apprentice architect at the age of sixteen. He spent his twenties in London, where he wrote his first poems. In 1867 Hardy returned to his native Dorset, whose rugged landscape was a great source of inspiration for his writing. Between 1871 and 1897 he wrote fourteen novels, including Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure. This final work was received savagely; thereafter Hardy turned away from novels and spent the last thirty year of his life focusing on poetry. He died in 1928.