Hard times: for these times

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Broadview Press, Feb 1, 1996 - Fiction - 460 pages
2 Reviews
Despite the title, Dickens's portrayal of early industrial society here is less relentlessly grim than that in novels by contemporaries such as Elizabeth Gaskell or Charles Kingsley. Hard Times weaves the tale of Thomas Gradgrind, a hard-headed politician who raises his children Louisa and Tom without love, of Sissy the circus girl with love to spare who is deserted and adopted into their family, and of the honest mill worker Stephen Blackpool and the bombastic mill owner Josiah Bounderby. The key contrasts created are finally less those between wealth and poverty, or capitalists and workers, than those between the head and the heart, between "Fact"-the cold, rationalistic approach to life that Dickens associates with utilitarianism-and "Fancy"-a warmth of the imagination and of the feelings, which values individuals above ideas.Concentrated and compressed in its narrative form, Hard Times is at once a fable, a novel of ideas, and a social novel that seeks to engage directly and analytically with political issues. The central conflicts raised in the text, between government's duty not to intervene to guarantee the liberty of the subject, and between quantitative and qualitative assessments of progress, remain unresolved today in the late or post industrial stages of liberal democracies.

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User Review  - quiBee - LibraryThing

I've read quite a few of Charles Dickens' books when I was younger, but had never read this one, so picked it up on sale in Audible. Martin Jarvis is a marvelous narrator and does a superb job with ... Read full review

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User Review  - DameMuriel - LibraryThing

I once took a class on Dickens and this was the best book I read for the class. I actually wrote a paper about it called "Fire and the Absence of Fancy" that focused mainly on the character Louisa ... Read full review

Contents

Contents Book the First Sowing Chapter I The One Thing Needful
41
Murdering the Innocents
42
A Loophole
48
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

Charles Dickens (1821-1870) used his fiction to criticize the injustices of his time, especially the brutal treatment

of the poor. He is also the author of "Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, " and "Great Expectations." He was born in Portsmouth, England.

Graham Law is Senior Lecturer in Statistical Epidemiology, University of Leeds.

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