Hard Times

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Hard Times

by Charles Dickens
Introduction by Frederick Busch
Afterword by Jane Smiley

Signet Classics | July 1, 2008 | Mass Market Paperbound

Hard Times is rated 4 out of 5 by 2.
Reason, Facts, and statistics...

Dickens? scathing portrait of Victorian industrial society and its misapplied utilitarian philosophy, Hard Times features schoolmaster Thomas Gradgrind, one of his most richly dimensional, memorable characters. Filled with the details and wonders of small-town life, it is also a daring novel of ideas?and ultimately, a celebration of love, hope, and limitless possibilities of the imagination.

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 336 pages, 6.78 × 4.32 × 0.91 in

Published: July 1, 2008

Publisher: Signet Classics

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0451530993

ISBN - 13: 9780451530998

Found in: Fiction and Literature
Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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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
Introduction by Frederick Busch
Afterword by Jane Smiley

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 336 pages, 6.78 × 4.32 × 0.91 in

Published: July 1, 2008

Publisher: Signet Classics

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0451530993

ISBN - 13: 9780451530998

From the Publisher

Reason, Facts, and statistics...

Dickens? scathing portrait of Victorian industrial society and its misapplied utilitarian philosophy, Hard Times features schoolmaster Thomas Gradgrind, one of his most richly dimensional, memorable characters. Filled with the details and wonders of small-town life, it is also a daring novel of ideas?and ultimately, a celebration of love, hope, and limitless possibilities of the imagination.

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.


Jane Smiley''s ten works of fiction include The Age of Grief, The Greenlanders, Ordinary Love and Good Will, Moo, A Thousand Acres (which won the Pulitzer Prize), and most recently the bestselling Horse Heaven.

Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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