Hard Times, by Charles Dickens, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
Set amid smokestacks and factories, Charles Dickens’s Hard Times is a blistering portrait of Victorian England as it struggles with the massive economic turmoil brought on by the Industrial Revolution.
Championing the mind-numbing materialism of the period is Thomas Gradgrind, one of Dickens’s most vivid characters. He opens the novel by arguing that boys and girls should be taught “nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life.” Forbidding the development of imagination, Gradgrind is ultimately forced to confront the results of his philosophy—his own daughter’s terrible unhappiness.
Full of suspense, humor, and tenderness, Hard Times is a brilliant defense of art in an age of mechanism.
Karen Odden received her Ph.D. from New York University, where she did her dissertation on Victorian literature. Most recently a lecturer at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she is now a freelance writer and lives in Arizona.