Hard Times (Collins Classics)

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HarperCollins UK, May 31, 2012 - Fiction - 384 pages
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‘It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood, it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage.’

Set in fictitious Coketown, England during the Industrial Revolution of the 1850s, Dickens wished to expose the enormous gulf between the rich and poor through his writing. In Hard Times, the social and moral purpose of his work is at its most evident. Openly ironic and satirical in its tone, Dickens suggests a mechanization of society, where the wealthy are ruthless and uncharitable towards those less fortunate than themselves.

Siblings Louisa and Tom Gradgrind are raised by their father, a harsh and pragmatic educator and his influence means that they go on to lead lives that are lacking in all areas. Louisa marries the arrogant and greedy Josiah Bounderby, ending in an unhappy pairing and the unfeeling and villainous Tom robs his own brother-in-law’s bank. As their father watches their plight, he realises that his own principles may have led to their downfall.

 

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Contents

BOOK THE FIRST
CHAPTER 1
CHAPTER 2
CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 4
CHAPTER 5
CHAPTER 6
CHAPTER 7
CHAPTER 6
CHAPTER 7
CHAPTER 8
CHAPTER 9
CHAPTER 10
CHAPTER 11
CHAPTER 12
BOOK THE THIRD

CHAPTER 8
CHAPTER 9
CHAPTER 10
CHAPTER 11
CHAPTER 12
CHAPTER 13
CHAPTER 14
CHAPTER 15
CHAPTER 16
BOOK THE SECOND
CHAPTER 1
CHAPTER 2
CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 4
CHAPTER 5
CHAPTER 1
CHAPTER 2
CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 4
CHAPTER 5
CHAPTER 6
CHAPTER 7
CHAPTER 8
CHAPTER 9
WORDS AND PHRASESadapted from the Collins English Dictionary
HISTORY OF COLLINS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
COPYRIGHT
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Charles Dickens, perhaps the best British novelist of the Victorian era, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England on February 7, 1812. His happy early childhood was interrupted when his father was sent to debtors' prison, and young Dickens had to go to work in a factory at age twelve. Later, he took jobs as an office boy and journalist before publishing essays and stories in the 1830s. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, made him a famous and popular author at the age of twenty-five. Subsequent works were published serially in periodicals and cemented his reputation as a master of colorful characterization, and as a harsh critic of social evils and corrupt institutions. His many books include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens married Catherine Hogarth in 1836, and the couple had nine children before separating in 1858 when he began a long affair with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. Despite the scandal, Dickens remained a public figure, appearing often to read his fiction. He died in 1870, leaving his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.

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