Search Results: 'hard times'
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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.Hard Times is... More > unusual in several respects. It is by far the shortest of Dickens' novels, barely a quarter of the length of those written before and after it. Also, unlike all but one of his other novels, Hard Times has neither a preface, nor illustrations. Moreover, it is his only novel not to have scenes set in London.< Less
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Hard Times is a novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854. The book is a state-of-the-nation novel, which aimed to highlight the social and economic pressures that some people were... More > experiencing. Unlike other such writings at the time, the novel is unusual in that it is not set in London (as was also Dickens' usual wont), but in the fictitious Victorian industrial town of Coketown, often claimed to be based on Preston.< Less
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A bitter and scathing satire on the belief in "Facts, nothing but Facts" in education, the results developed in a tale of deep and pathetic interest.
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Hard Times is the tenth novel by Charles Dickens. The book appraises English society and is aimed at highlighting the social and economic pressures of the times. Hard Times is unusual in several... More > respects. It is by far shortest of Dickens' novels, barely a quarter of length of those written before and after it. The Utilitarians were one of the targets of this novel. Utilitarianism was a prevalent school of thought during this period, its founders being Jeremy Bentham and James Mill, father to political theorist John Stuart Mill. Theoretical Utilitarian ethics hold that promotion of general social welfare is the ultimate goal for individual and society in general: "the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people." Dickens believed that in practical terms, the pursuit of a totally rationalized society could lead to great misery. Dickens was appalled by what was, in his interpretation, a selfish philosophy of materialist laissez-faire capitalism including exploitation of children..< Less
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Thomas Gradgrind, a wealthy, retired merchant in the industrial city of Coketown, England, devotes his life to a philosophy of rationalism, self-interest, and fact. He raises his oldest children,... More > Louisa and Tom, according to this philosophy and never allows them to engage in fanciful or imaginative pursuits. He founds a school and charitably takes in one of the students, the kindly and imaginative Sissy Jupe, after the disappearance of her father, a circus entertainer.< Less
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The 'terrible mistake' was the contemporary utilitarian philosophy, expounded in Hard Times as the Philosophy of Fact by the hard-headed disciplinarian Thomas Gradgrind. But the novel, Dickens's... More > shortest, is more than a polemical tract for the times; the tragic story of Louisa Gradgrind and her father is one of Dickens's triumphs. When Louisa, trapped in a loveless marriage, falls prey to an idle seducer, the crisis forces her father to reconsider his cherished system. Yet even as the development of the story reflects Dickens's growing pessimism about human nature and society, Hard Times marks his return to the theme which had made his early works so popular: the amusements of the people. Sleary's circus represents Dickens's most considered defence of the necessity of entertainment, and infuses the novel with the good humour which has ensured its appeal to generations of readers.< Less
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One of Dickens's reasons for writing Hard Times was that sales of his weekly periodical, Household Words, were low, and it was hoped its publication in instalments would boost circulation – as... More > indeed proved to be the case. Since publication it has received a mixed response from critics. Critics such as F. R. Leavis, George Bernard Shaw, and Thomas Macaulay have mainly focusing on Dickens's treatment of trade unions and his post–Industrial Revolution pessimism regarding the divide between capitalist mill owners and undervalued workers during the Victorian era.< Less
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Relating back to Dickens' aim to "strike the heaviest blow in my power," he wished to educate readers about the working conditions of some of the factories in the industrial towns of... More > Manchester, and Preston. Relating to this also, Dickens wished to confront the assumption that prosperity runs parallel to morality, a notion which is systematically deconstructed in this novel through his portrayal of the moral monsters, Mr. Bounderby, and James Harthouse. Dickens was also campaigning for the importance of imagination in life, and not for people's life to be reduced to a collection of material facts and statistical analyses. Dickens' favourable portrayal of the Circus, which he describes as caring so "little for Plain Fact", is an example of this.< Less
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Characters, excitement and moral tales a-plenty feature within these covers - Josiah Bounderby, Bitzer, Tom Gradgrind, girl number 20, Mr. Sleary, Lady Scadgers and all - not to mention the dog... More > Merrylegs! Circuses, runnings away, reappearances, disused mineshafts, railways, Mrs. Sparsit's mittens, just deserts, etc., etc.! This new unabridged edition is published in LARGE PRINT making it easy on your eyes, particularly if you have problems with vision.< Less
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Mr. Gradgrind, whose voice is "dictatorial", opens the novel by stating "Now, what I want is facts" at his school in Coketown. He is a man of "facts and calculations."... More > He interrogates one of his pupils, Sissy, whose father is involved with the circus, the members of which are "Fancy" in comparison to Gradgrind's espousal of "Fact." Since her father rides and tends to horses, Gradgrind offers Sissy the definition of horse. She is rebuffed for not being able to define a horse factually; her classmate Bitzer does, however, provide a more zoological profile description and factual definition. She does not learn easily, and is censured for suggesting that she would carpet a floor with pictures of flowers "So you would carpet your room—or your husband's room, if you were a grown woman, and had a husband—with representations of flowers, would you? Why would you?" She is taught to disregard Fancy altogether. It is Fancy Vs Fact.< Less
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