Synopses & Reviews
Reason, Facts, and statistics...
Dickens? scathing portrait of Victorian industrial society and its misapplied utilitarian philosophy, Hard Times features schoolmaster Thomas Gradgrind, one of his most richly dimensional, memorable characters. Filled with the details and wonders of small-town life, it is also a daring novel of ideas?and ultimately, a celebration of love, hope, and limitless possibilities of the imagination.
Dickens's scathing portrait of Victorian industrial society.
Coketown, the depressed mill town that is the setting for one of Charles Dickens's most powerful and unforgettable novels, is all brick, machinery, and smoke-darkened chimneys. Its emblematic citizen, the schoolmaster Thomas Gradgrind, lives to impose his version of education: facts and statistics that feed the mind while starving the soul and spirit. Inflexible and unyielding, he places conformity above curiosity and logic over sentiment, only to see his philosophy warp and destroy the lives of his own family.
Filled with memorable characters and scenes, Hard Times is a daring novel of ideas--and, ultimately, a celebration of love, hope, and imagination.
With an Introduction by Frederick Busch
and an Afterword by Jane Smiley
About the Author
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorneys clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.
Jane Smiley's ten works of fiction include The Age of Grief, The Greenlanders, Ordinary Love and Good Will, Moo, A Thousand Acres (which won the Pulitzer Prize), and most recently the bestselling Horse Heaven.