Hard Times

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Hard Times

by Charles Dickens

Penguin UK (PB) | October 25, 2011 | Hardcover

Hard Times is rated 4 out of 5 by 2.
Dickens's great novel of social protest in 19th-century England Thomas Gradgrind, a wealthy, retired merchant, is a cold and industrious man obsessed with facts, statistics, and practicality. He raises his oldest children, Louisa and Tom, according to this philosophy, never allowing them to engage in what he considers to be fanciful pursuits. But when poor Louisa is forced into a loveless marriage to the much older, self-made Josiah Bounderby, she and Tom must risk anger, betrayal, and heartache to break free of their restricted lives and find the happiness they have been so long denied.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 8 × 5.3 × 1.25 in

Published: October 25, 2011

Publisher: Penguin UK (PB)

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0141198346

ISBN - 13: 9780141198347

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from More of the same There is a character that appears in all of Charles Dickens' books whom I can't stand. He is the noble worker, the lower class moral compass, and he is consistently a source of Dickens' naive idealism, which, for a jaded soul like me, is a constant impediment to full enjoyment of Dickens' excellent prose. Bob Cratchett, Scrooge's clerk in A Christmas Carol, is the most insufferable of his kind, Joe Gargery, Pip's Uncle in Great Expectations, is the most sufferable of his kind, and Stephen Blackpool, Mr. Bounderby's weaver in Hard Times, falls somewhere in between. Blackpool is morally perfect throughout Hard Times, the man we are to gauge ourselves and everyone in the book against. Blackpool actually believes in justice to such an extent -- despite evidence in his own life to the contrary -- that he would put himself in danger of imprisonment "to clear his name." Further, he believes in the "goodness" of social conventions so completely that he withholds any chance of full happiness with Rachael so that he won't become a "bad" man. I am not sure what I find more annoying, the fact that Dickens believes that people like this exist in such seeming numbers, or the belief that they are somehow people we should aspire to be like? I will concede that people like this do exist, but these people are, I reiterate, insufferable, and they are generally people who are incapable of truly thinking for themselves. And all of this reveals Dickens as that most painful, wishy washy, and dangerous of people -- the bleeding heart liberal. The kind of person who believes, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that if we all just talk about things and complain peaceably the world will change for the better. I proudly declare myself for the left of the political scale, but I'll be damned if I will get my permit to protest and go home with a happy glow in my heart that I've done the "right" thing, when I know full well that I changed absolutely nothing. For a guy like me Dickens is a tough read. Still, Hard Times was one of Dickens' better ones, and at the very least I recognize and admire the strength of Dickens' prose. He is, politics aside, a beautiful writer.
Date published: 2008-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hard Times This novel, unique to Dickens in that it is the only one set in a ficticious town, take a fascinating look at what mechanical, unimaginative and unemotional approaches to life and family may lead. Outlining a somewhat distorted "objectivistic" attitude in his hard-nosed characters, Dickens compliments them beautifully with fun-loving, carefree characters, such as Cissy and Rachael. This novel has an underlying moral buried beneath, should you choose to find it, and leaves the reader feeling a little bit better about themselves.
Date published: 2000-10-05

– More About This Product –

Hard Times

by Charles Dickens

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 8 × 5.3 × 1.25 in

Published: October 25, 2011

Publisher: Penguin UK (PB)

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0141198346

ISBN - 13: 9780141198347

From the Publisher

Dickens's great novel of social protest in 19th-century England Thomas Gradgrind, a wealthy, retired merchant, is a cold and industrious man obsessed with facts, statistics, and practicality. He raises his oldest children, Louisa and Tom, according to this philosophy, never allowing them to engage in what he considers to be fanciful pursuits. But when poor Louisa is forced into a loveless marriage to the much older, self-made Josiah Bounderby, she and Tom must risk anger, betrayal, and heartache to break free of their restricted lives and find the happiness they have been so long denied.

About the Author

Charles Dickens, perhaps the best British novelist of the Victorian era, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England in 1812. His happy early childhood was interrupted when his father was sent to debtors' prison, and young Dickens had to go to work in a factory at age twelve. Later, he took jobs as an office boy and journalist before publishing essays and stories in the 1830s. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, made him a famous and popular author at the age of twenty-five. Subsequent works were published serially in periodicals and cemented his reputation as a master of colorful characterization, and as a harsh critic of social evils and corrupt institutions. His many books include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens married Catherine Hogarth in 1836, and the couple had nine children before separating in 1858 when he began a long affair with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. Despite the scandal, Dickens remained a public figure, appearing often to read his fiction. He died in 1870, leaving his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.
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