The phrase 'life's little ironies' is now proverbial, but it was coined by Hardy as the title for this, his third volume of short stories. While the tales and sketches reflect many of the strengths and themes of the great novels, they are powerful works in their own right. Unified by his quintessential irony, strong visual sense, and engaging characters, they deal with the tragic and the humorous, the metaphysical and the magical. The collection displays the whole range of Hardy's art as a writer of fiction, from fantasy to uncompromising realism, and from the loving re-creation of a vanished rural world to the repressions of fin-de-siecle bourgeois life. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.