Hard Times: (Starbooks Classics Editions)

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Overview

Hard Times - For These Times (commonly known as Hard Times) is the tenth novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854. The book appraises English society and is aimed at highlighting the social and economic pressures of the times.

Literary significance & criticism

Critics have had a diverse range of opinions on the novel. The critic John Ruskin declared Hard Times to be his favourite Dickens work due to its exploration of important ...

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Hard Times (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

Hard Times - For These Times (commonly known as Hard Times) is the tenth novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854. The book appraises English society and is aimed at highlighting the social and economic pressures of the times.

Literary significance & criticism

Critics have had a diverse range of opinions on the novel. The critic John Ruskin declared Hard Times to be his favourite Dickens work due to its exploration of important social questions. However, Thomas Macaulay branded it "sullen socialism", on the grounds that Dickens did not fully comprehend the politics of the time. This point was also made by George Bernard Shaw, who decreed Hard Times to be a novel of "passionate revolt against the whole industrial order of the modern world." Shaw criticised the novel for its failure to provide an accurate account of trade unionism of the time, deeming Dickens's character of Slackbridge, the poisonous orator, "a mere figment of middle-class imagination." However, believing it to be very different from Dickens's other novels, he also said: "Many readers find the change disappointing. Others find Dickens worth reading almost for the first time."

F. R. Leavis, in The Great Tradition, described the book as essentially a moral fable, and said that 'of all Dickens' works (it is) the one that has all the strengths of his genius - that of a completely serious work of art'. This, however, was a view which he later revised in Dickens the Novelist, which recognised that Dickens's strengths and artistry appeared fully in other works.

Walter Allen, in an introduction to an alternative edition, characterised Hard Times as being an unsurpassed "critique of industrial society", which was later superseded by works of D. H. Lawrence. Other writers have described the novel as being, as G. K. Chesterton commented in his work Appreciations and Criticisms, "the harshest of his stories"; whereas George Orwell praised the novel (and Dickens himself) for "generous anger."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497354739
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/15/2014
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 - 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular.

Biography

Born on February 7, 1812, Charles Dickens was the second of eight children in a family burdened with financial troubles. Despite difficult early years, he became the most successful British writer of the Victorian age.

In 1824, young Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work at a boot-blacking factory when his improvident father, accompanied by his mother and siblings, was sentenced to three months in a debtor's prison. Once they were released, Charles attended a private school for three years. The young man then became a solicitor's clerk, mastered shorthand, and before long was employed as a Parliamentary reporter. When he was in his early twenties, Dickens began to publish stories and sketches of London life in a variety of periodicals.

It was the publication of Pickwick Papers (1836-1837) that catapulted the twenty-five-year-old author to national renown. Dickens wrote with unequaled speed and often worked on several novels at a time, publishing them first in monthly installments and then as books. His early novels Oliver Twist (1837-1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841), and A Christmas Carol (1843) solidified his enormous, ongoing popularity. As Dickens matured, his social criticism became increasingly biting, his humor dark, and his view of poverty darker still. David Copperfield (1849-1850), Bleak House (1852-1853), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865) are the great works of his masterful and prolific period.

In 1858 Dickens's twenty-three-year marriage to Catherine Hogarth dissolved when he fell in love with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. The last years of his life were filled with intense activity: writing, managing amateur theatricals, and undertaking several reading tours that reinforced the public's favorable view of his work but took an enormous toll on his health. Working feverishly to the last, Dickens collapsed and died on June 8, 1870, leaving The Mystery of Edwin Drood uncompleted.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of David Copperfield.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles John Huffam Dickens (full name) "Boz" (pen name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1812
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portsmouth, England
    1. Date of Death:
      June 18, 1870
    2. Place of Death:
      Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 77 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(5)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great

    Hard Times is probably Dickens' most underrated novel. It is a good protest against conditions and attitudes during the Victorian period however its main focus is not on the working class, although it seems to be with the first chapters. It is a book everyone interested in Victorian literature - and British literature in general - should read. It has an unbelievable writing style.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008

    Brilliant

    Absolutely Wonderful! This book is so fascinating and remarkable! I thought it extremely educational and interesting at the same time. I would read it again and I am not one to read books more than once! Bravo Dickens!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2002

    Thank you for spoiling everything!

    Thank you to the nimrod who, in a very self-aggrandizing sort of way, just gave away the entire PLOT to Hard Times. First of all, I've already read the book so your forsoothly monologue didn't tell me anything I didn't already know (and I have written a few papers on the book) and second of all, who's actually going to want to go out and buy the book now? THINK next time before you post! Okay? If people want the Cliffs Notes version, they can purchase it at Barnes & Noble!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This truly one of dickens most overlooked works. It is classic i

    This truly one of dickens most overlooked works. It is classic in its depiction of the effects, good and bad, of industrialization on the people of Victorian England. From a teacher's perspective, this book could be used in just about any course as a across curriculum reading. A good read; classic Dickens!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2011

    Dull

    I felt it would be unfair to give this book only one star, since it is a classic. But, considering how painful it was to get through with the endless narration, incomprehensible accents of certain people, and run-on sentences, I've decided to shy away from the opinions of literary scholars and voice my own opinion. And the fact that it was terribly boring leaves me with no guilt in giving Hard Times a poor rating.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2010

    Great Dickens

    I love all of Dickens's novels, and while this falls a bit short when compared to Great Expectations or David Copperfield, it is well worth reading. Character development leaves a bit to be desired in that, in order to explore his ideas about human development and politics, some of his characters are a bit caricaturish. Nonetheless, this is a great book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book

    This is a great book. I am a big fan of Charles Dickens, and I would recommend any of his books.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    A Giraffe

    Rams into Alex and pushes him off the cliff with me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    Benny

    *Runs down a hallway*

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    Alex to Mason

    Reaches up and wraps a chain around your arm. "It's a lose/lose situation, my friend. If I'm goin' down, you're comin' with."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    Benny

    GODMODDING ON PAT

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    Jordan

    I don't care, Pat. First off, that's on the verge of godmodding. Second of all, I've stared the devil in the eye. I think I can survive a case of light poisoning.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    PJ

    "Another day greeks....another day." Kicks the bin over the side of the Mountain and washes away in gold and lets Mason go.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    Kenny - Benny

    C'mon. Back to camp.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    Mason

    Jumps off morphs to a worm and morphs to an egale and flys back up.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Boring.

    Nothing much happened, just a lot of talking.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2013

    Silverbullet

    Hey Optimus! It's me. What up?
    ~{•Silverbullet•}

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Wolvine

    I was aware about the grey ting, but dont kniw what he said will you tell me?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    Loathe

    Hisses slowly getting up. He glared hatefully. Take them and go. Dissipears.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews

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