Hard Times

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012 - Fiction - 276 pages
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The shortest of Charles Dickens's novels, Hard Times is also his most pointed and impassioned satire of social injustice.

Set in Coketown, a fictional industrial town in the north of England, Hard Times was born of its author's indignation at the soul-crushing conditions of the industrial age, and yet it vibrantly transcends the stock situations and polemical weaknesses typical of social protest fiction of the time. The indelible characters—Mr. Gradgrind, whose utilitarian educational philosophy emotionally cripples his own children; the hypocritical factory owner Josiah Bounderby; Stephen Blackpool, an honest worker wrongly accused of a crime; and Sissy Jupe, a circus performer whose father abandons her to what he hopes is a better life—all come alive in classic Dickensian fashion, and contribute to a satiric vision of society tempered equally by righteous anger and compassionate humanity.

 

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Contents

Book the First Soming
5
IO Stephen Blackpool
61
I2 The Old Woman
73
I4 The Great Manufacturer
85
I6 Husband and Wife
98
Book the Second Reaping
105
Mr James Harthouse
117
The Whelp
125
Hearing the Last of It
179
IO Mrs Sparsits Staircase
187
Another Thing Needful
205
Very Ridiculous
211
Very Decided
220
Lost
228
Found
237
The Starlight
245

Men and Masters
137
Fading Away I44
144
Gunpowder
155
Explosion
167
Whelphunting
254
Philosophical
265
Final
271
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was born in Portsmouth, England, and spent most of his life in London. When he was twelve, his father was sent to debtor's prison and he was forced to work in a boot polish factory, an experience that marked him for life. He became a passionate advocate of social reform and the most popular writer of the Victorian era.

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