Authors & Events
Authors & Events
Look Inside | Reading Guide
Jul 10, 2001
| ISBN 9780679642176
Mar 01, 1981
| ISBN 9780553210163
Jun 02, 1992
| ISBN 9780679413233
Jan 17, 2012
| ISBN 9780307950550
Nov 23, 2004
| ISBN 9780553900811
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Jul 10, 2001 | ISBN 9780679642176
Mar 01, 1981 | ISBN 9780553210163
Jun 02, 1992 | ISBN 9780679413233
Jan 17, 2012 | ISBN 9780307950550
Nov 23, 2004 | ISBN 9780553900811
Dickens’s widely read satirical account of the Industrial Revolution. Dickens creates the Victorian industrial city of Coketown, in northern England, and its unforgettable citizens, such as the unwavering utilitarian Thomas Gradgrind and the factory owner Josiah Bounderby, and the result is his famous critique of capitalist philosophy, the exploitative force he believed was destroying human creativity and joy. This edition includes new notes to the text.
Written deliberately to increase the circulation of Dickens’s weekly magazine, Household Words, Hard Times was a huge and instantaneous success upon publication in 1854. Yet this novel is not the cheerful celebration of Victorian life one might have expected from the beloved author of The Pickwick Papers and The Old Curiosity Shop. Compressed, stark, allegorical, it is a bitter exposé of capitalist exploitation during the industrial revolution–and a fierce denunciation of the philosophy of materialism, which threatens the human imagination in all times and places. With a typically unforgettable cast of characters–including the heartless fact-worshipper Mr. Gradgrind, the warmly endearing Sissy Jupe, and the eternally noble Stephen Blackpool–Hard Times carries a uniquely powerful message and remains one of the most widely read of Dickens’s major novels.
“Facts alone are wanted in life.” The children at Mr. Gradgrind’s school are sternly ordered to stifle their imaginations and pay attention only to cold, hard reality. The effects of Gradgrind’s teaching on his own children, Tom and Louisa, are particularly profound and leave them ill-equipped to deal with the unpredictable desires of the human heart. Luckily for them, they have a friend in Sissy Jupe, the child of a circus clown, who retains her warm-hearted, compassionate nature despite the pressures around her.By 1854, when Hard Times was published, Charles Dickens’ magisterial progress as a writer had come to incorporate a many-sided, coherent vision of English society, both as it was and as he wished it to be. Hard Times, a classic Dickensian story of redemption set in a North of England town beset by industrialism, everywhere benefits from this vision – in the trenchancy of its satire, in its sweeping indignation at social injustice, and in the persistent humanity with which its author enlivens his largest and smallest incidents.
Charles Dickens was born in a little house in Landport, Portsea, England, on February 7, 1812. The second of eight children, he grew up in a family frequently beset by financial insecurity. When the family fortunes improved, Charles went back to… More about Charles Dickens
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