Synopses & Reviews
In "Hard Times", Dickens creates the Victorian industrial city of Coketown in Northern England in order to critique the capitalist philosophy he believed to be exploiting the lives of so many working-class people and destroying human creativity and joy. The citizens of Coketown are some of Dickens's most memorable characters, such as the unwavering utilitarian Thomas Gradgrind and his daughter Louisa, the despicable factory owner Josiah Bounderby, and the hilarious and joyful Mr. Searly.
"Hard Times" was an immediate success upon publication in 1854, regained popularity in the twentieth century with critics like George Bernard Shaw and F.E. Leavis, and endures today as one of Dickens's most widely-read novels.