A novel of social and moral themes, Hard Times is the archetypal Dickens novel, filled with family difficulties, estrangement, rotten values and unhappiness. Published in 1854, it is set in the imaginary Coketown, an industrial city inspired by Preston, and tells the story of the family of Thomas Gradgrind, a man obsessed with misguided 'Utilitarian' values that make him trust facts, statistics and practicality over emotion. Based on James Mill (the Utilitarian leader), Gradgrind raises his own children, Louisa and Tom, in line with these same views, forcing an artless existence on them. Contemporary critics such as Macaulay savaged the book for its supposed 'sullen socialism' but it has become well regarded since earning the favour of George Bernard Shaw.
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 near Portsmouth where his father was a clerk in the navy pay office. The family moved to London in 1823, but their fortunes were severely impaired. Dickens was sent to work in a blacking-warehouse when his father was imprisoned for debt. Both experiences deeply affected the future novelist. In 1833 he began contributing stories to newspapers and magazines, and in 1836 started the serial publication of Pickwick Papers. Thereafter, Dickens published his major novels over the course of the next twenty years, from Nicholas Nickleby to Little Dorrit. He also edited the journals Household Words and All the Year Round.
Pub Date: 2017
Size: 5.00 x 8.00 inches