Hard Times for These Times

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Penguin, 2008 - Fiction - 313 pages
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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.

 

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Contents

Introduction
vii
List of Characters
5
Sowing
7
The One Thing Needful
9
Murdering the Innocents
10
A Loophole
16
Mr Bounderby
21
The Keynote
28
Men and Brothers
143
Men and Masters
151
Fading Away
158
Gunpowder
170
Explosion
183
Hearing the Last of It
195
Mrs Sparsits Staircase
204
Lower and Lower
208

Slearys Horsemanship
34
Mrs Sparsit
48
Never Wonder
55
Sissys Progress
61
Stephen Blackpool
69
No Way Out
74
The Old Woman
82
Rachel
87
The Great Manufacturer
95
Father and Daughter
100
Husband and Wife
108
Reaping
115
Effects in the Bank
117
Mr James Harthouse
130
The Whelp
138
Down
217
Garnering
223
Another Thing Needful
225
Very Ridiculous
231
Very Decided
240
Lost
249
Found
258
The Starlight
267
Whelphunting
277
Philosophical
288
Final
295
Afterword
301
Selected Bibliography
311
A Note on the Text
315
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

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.

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