Though not widely known among general readers, Coppard has experienced a resurgence of popularity as a result of the adaptation of several of his stories for Masterpiece Theatre on public television. For both his mastery of the short-story form and his sensitive portrayal of English rural life, Coppard is an important figure in the development of the short story as a serious literary form. From a background of poverty and with no formal education, Coppard advanced through a number of clerical and accounting jobs in Oxford, reading and associating with the students there. Becoming increasingly active in political activities and writing for journals, Coppard eventually decided to write professionally. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, he was considered one of the foremost short-story writers in England. Coppard’s stories are frequently compared to those of Anton Chekhov and Thomas Hardy, whose influence Coppard acknowledged, and also to those of his contemporaries H. E. Bates and D. H. Lawrence. Although his poetry has not generated much acclaim, Coppard’s prose is eloquently lyrical, its evocation of mood and portrayal of emotion particularly noteworthy.