A. E. Coppard's short stories belong more to the tradition of the folktale than to that of modern literary fiction. Coppard's work has its sophistications, but they are not the sophistications of the twentieth-century novel. Though in temperament and weltanschauung very different from Hardy, there are affinities in the way the two use the materials of folktale and ballad. Coppard's themes are the eternal verities of the folk narrative: love and death, jealousy and suicide. There is a wryness of method and outlook, a refusal to overwrite, which prevents such materials from becoming merely melodramatic. In "The Black Dog" this elemental world is mediated through the presence of a far from elemental protagonist, the Honorable Gerald Loughlin.
The Black Dog -- Alas, poor Bollington! -- The ballet girl -- Simple Simon -- The tiger -- Mordecai and Cocking -- The man from Kilsheelan -- Tribute -- The handsome lady -- The fancy dress ball -- The cat, the dog, and the bad old dame -- The wife of Ted Wickham -- Tanil -- The devil in the churchyard -- Huxley Rustem -- Big game -- The poor man -- Luxury.