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Hard Times is perhaps the archetypal Dickens novel, full as it is with family difficulties, estrangement, rotten values and unhappiness. It was published in 1854 and it is the story of the family of Thomas Gradgrind, and occurs in the imaginary Coketown, an industrial city inspired by Preston. Gradgrind is a man obsessed with misguided 'Utilitarian' values that make him trust facts, statistics and practicality more than emotion and is based upon James Mill (the Utilitarian leader). He directs his own children, Louisa and Tom, in this same way: enforcing an artless existence upon them. Contemporary critics such as Macaulay savaged the book for its supposed 'sullen socialism' but it has become well thought-of since the favour of George Bernard Shaw.Illustrated by Harry French, with an Afterword by David Stuart Davies.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781905716388
ISBN-10: 1905716389
Format: Hardback
(157mm x 100mm x 22mm)
Pages: 416
Imprint: Macmillan Collector's Library
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publish Date: 1-Sep-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in 1812 near Portsmouth, where his father worked as a clerk. Living in London in 1824, Dickens was sent by his family to work in a blacking-warehouse, and his father was arrested and imprisoned for debt. Fortunes improved and Dickens returned to school, eventually becoming a parliamentary reporter. His first piece of fiction was published by a magazine in December 1832, and by 1836 he had begun his first novel, The Pickwick Papers. He focused his career on writing, completing fourteen highly successful novels, as well as penning journalism, shorter fiction and travel books. He died in 1870.

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