|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
I originally purchased it for English studies, but ended up reading it by myself. I love Hard Times, but I won't go into too many details regarding that. I suppose that many would buy this book not just for reading for fun, and read the reviews to figure out if the book is worth reading.
This edition, in particular, has an introduction (which I would personally read after finishing the original text), some notes, and Dickens's manuscript, all of which contribute greatly to one's understanding and interpretation of the text. They explain some colloquialism, archaic word use, historical connotations, and biblical references. I would certainly not have enjoyed the depth of this work so much without them.
The setting is Coketown, a factory town befouled by industrial smog and populated by underpaid and undereducated laborers. The novel's most prominent character is one of the town's richest citizens, Josiah Bounderby, a pompous blowhard who owns a textile mill and a bank and whose conversation usually includes some boastful story about his impoverished childhood and the hard work that led to his present fortune.
Bounderby is the commercial projection of Thomas Gradgrind, a local schoolteacher and an extraordinarily pragmatic man who instills in his students and his own children the importance of memorizing facts and figures and the iniquity of indulging in entertaining activities. Gradgrind offers to Bounderby his son, Tom Jr., as an unwilling apprentice, and his daughter, Louisa, as an unwilling bride.
On the other end of the town's social scale is Stephen Blackpool, a simple, downcast man who works as a weaver at Bounderby's mill and slogs through life misunderstood and mistreated. When he refuses to join his fellow workers in a labor uprising, he is ostracized; when he criticizes the economic disparity between Bounderby and the workers, he is fired and forced to leave town; when Bounderby's bank is robbed one night, he is suspected as the thief. So halfway through the novel, Dickens grants his reader an interesting, albeit somewhat contrived, plot element to embellish the narrative.Read more ›
It is well known that Dickens was a chronicler of his times, and his mode of expression, the novel. An intensely emotional individual, Dickens was known to be a power walker, starting in the afternoon, covering miles, to return home just before sunrise. It was during these extensive walks that he witnessed the utter poverty and squalor scattered throughout the streets of London. These walks brought inspiration for many of his novels, particularly, Hard Times.
In this novel, Dickens explores the applications of utilitarianism in its highly rational, and in many ways, brutal forms. The novels general theme is that a philosophy that is only concerned with happiness and survival for the majority, will attempt to quash any and all individual thought and effort. Individual ideas, emotion, imagination and creativity must be ruthlessly rejected in order for the majority of people to think alike, work alike and behave alike to attain a status quo of happiness for all. Rationality must prevail because imagination promotes individuality, which is anathema to mob concerns.
This polemic against utilitarianism is expressed clearly and persuasively in the practice of education. In the opening chapter for example, 'The One Thing Needful", the reader is introduced to this dictatorial emphasis on the rational:
"Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
"Hard Times" belongs to the second half of Dickens's writing career, in which his work becomes rather more somber and, by common critical assent, more mature and... Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004 by Peter Reeve
It is unfortunate that HARD TIMES by Charles Dickens is not usually read outside the classroom. It is an unforgettable glimpse of an age that did not prize the worth of the... Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2003 by Martin Asiner
Dickens was a great rhetorician, but not a very deep social thinker. _Hard Times_ is the novel in which he tries to tell us that there are a Whole lot O' Things Wrong with Britain... Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2003 by Mark Silcox
Hard Times is first and foremost a burning indictment on industrialism and the total reliance on reason without consideration for emotions. It is also a great novel. Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2003 by Jennifer B. Barton
In this novel set in industrial revolution era Great Britain, Dickens is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. Read morePublished on Sept. 9 2003 by Vilbs
I hated reading Dickens in high school, and I was never able to get past the first chapter of any of his books, including this one. Read morePublished on June 22 2003 by P. Costello
I initially lamented the fact that Hard Times was assigned to me in my British lit. class. I had read some of Dickens's melodramas like A Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist and... Read morePublished on March 30 2003 by Oddsfish