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 Sowing
5
The Keynotc
23
IO Stephen Blackpool
61
I2 The Old Woman
73
1+ The Great Manufacturer
85
Effects in the Bank
105
Mr Iamcs Harthouse
117
The Whelp
125
Mrs Sparsits Staircase
187
Down
199
Anothcr Thing Nccdful 205
211
Vcry Decided
220
Lost
228
Found
237
The Starlight 24 5
254
Philosophical
265

Men and Masters
137
Fading Away 144
167
IIcariiig the Last of It
179
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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