HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Hard Times by Charles Dickens
Loading...

Hard Times (1854)

by Charles Dickens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,84185538 (3.49)325
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 325 mentions

English (78)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
We read an excerpt from this novel in a children's lit class as there is a scene from an extreme sort of facts only, pragmatist education. I wanted to see where the novel went from there. I was somewhat disappointed in this is a pretty straight forward criticism of industrial England in the the early 1800's. Very melodramatic. Not Dickens at his best. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
"NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing
but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else,
and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of
reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any
service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own
children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these
children. Stick to Facts, sir!" ( )
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |
Reading this back to back with Pickwick Papers this work is darker and more cynical. But still an excellent book, by turns comic, thoughtful and timely, another great novel by Mr. Dickens. Also a masterful performance by the reader, Anton Lesser. ( )
  charlie68 | Feb 23, 2015 |
This is my 10th Dickens novel, read in rough chronological order of publication. I've read worse, and better. Mercifully a single deck and not the normal triple. There are a few genuinely touching scenes of reconciliation and the theme of the need for love over facts is somewhat modern in this age of information and answers. I don't think this novel will stick in my memory for very long, there is a lot of cliche Dickens, although the quality of the writing - choice of words and sentence structure - as always elevates it above genre fiction.

I was bemused by the association of "Roman" with the evil characters (easily searched in an electronic edition). Mr. Bounderby has a "Roman nose", Mrs. Sparsit also has a Roman nose and eyebrows Coriolanian. She is a "Roman matron going outside the city walls to treat with an invading general." Mr. Slackbridge is compared with a "Roman Brutus", and Mr. Bounderby plays a "Roman part". There were many stereotypes wrapped up in the word "Roman" for a Victorian reader. Dickens seems to blame the upper-class Aristocratic association with Enlightenment ideals who allied with bankers (big-nosed Mediterraneans ie. Jews, foreigners) that then exploited the good people of England, literally sending them down the "hell pit" to die. It's simplistic and ultimately racist in a 19th century way, but overlooked since the message is humanitarian to improve the condition of the working poor. ( )
1 vote Stbalbach | Jan 8, 2015 |
I think I’m fortunate in not having been confronted with long-form Dickens: prior to reading Hard Times, I’d only read the very short A Christmas Carol. Even this short novel, with its simple plot and few characters drags its feet in places, but thankfully those are few and far between.

For much of the novel, the story is told nearly allegorically, with characters being clearly all-good and all-evil and practically defined as stereotypes; but as it progresses shades of gray are introduced, some creative decisions are made, and the plot takes a few turns that move it away from predictability. I particularly liked the characters of Louisa Gradgrind and James Harthouse -- not only did I think their subplot the most interesting, their characters are also more carefully drawn than the others. The book in general moves forwards at a decent enough pace (contrary to what I’d been led to believe about Dickens), and towards the end a few surprises manage to turn up. On the whole, not a bad read. ( )
  Petroglyph | Jul 22, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (98 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chesterton, G.K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foot, DingleIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greiffenhagen, MauriceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Richardson, JoannaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schlicke, PaulEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shapiro, CharlesAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walker, FIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
INSCRIBED TO THOMAS CARLYLE
First words
Now, what I want is, Facts.
Quotations
She was a most wonderful woman for prowling about the house. How she got from story to story was a mystery beyond solution. A lady so decorous in herself, and so highly connected, was not to be suspected of dropping over the banisters or sliding down them, yet her extraordinary facility of locomotion suggested the wild idea. Another noticeable circumstance in Mrs. Sparsit was, that she was never hurried. She would shoot with consummate velocity from the roof to the hall, yet would be in full possession of her breath and dignity on the moment of her arrival there. Neither was she ever seen by human vision to go at a great pace.
There was a library in Coketown, to which general access was easy. Mr. Gradgrind greatly tormented his mind about what the people read in this library: a point whereon little rivers of tabular statements periodically flowed into the howling ocean of tabular statements, which no diver ever got to any depth in and came up sane. It was a disheartening circumstance, but a melancholy fact, that even these readers persisted in wondering. They wondered about human nature, human passions, human hopes and fears, the struggles, triumphs and defeats, the cares and joys and sorrows, the lives and deaths of common men and women! They sometimes, after fifteen hours' work, sat down to read mere fables about men and women, more or less like themselves, and about children, more or less like their own. They took De Foe to their bosoms, instead of Euclid, and seemed to be on the whole more comforted by Goldsmith than by Cocker. Mr. Gradgrind was for ever working, in print and out of print, at this eccentric sum, and he never could make out how it yielded this unaccountable product
For the first time in her life Louisa had come into one of the dwellings of the Coketown Hands; for the first time in her life she was face to face with anything like individuality in connection with them. She knew of their existence by hundreds and by thousands. She knew what results in work a given number of them would produce in a given space of time. She knew them in crowds passing to and from their nests, like ants or beetles. But she knew from her reading infinitely more of the ways of toiling insects than of these toiling men and women.

Something to be worked so much and paid so much, and there ended; something to be infallibly settled by laws of supply and demand; something that blundered against those laws, and floundered into difficulty; something that was a little pinched when wheat was dear, and over-ate itself when wheat was cheap; something that increased at such a rate of percentage, and yielded such another percentage of crime, and such another percentage of pauperism; something wholesale, of which vast fortunes were made; something that occasionally rose like a sea, and did some harm and waste (chiefly to itself), and fell again; this she knew the Coketown Hands to be. But, she had scarcely thought more of separating them into units, than of separating the sea itself into its component drops.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Murdering the Innocent! Facts, Facts, Facts. Teach these children facts, not fancies. Sense, not sentimentality. Conformity, not curiosity. Proof and demonstration, not poetry and drama...On this bleak tenet is run the Gradgrind model day school in Hard Times.

No other work of Dickens presents so relentless an indictment against the callous greed of the Victorian industrial society and its misapplied utilitarian philosophy as this fiercest of his novels. With savage bitterness Dickens unmasks the hellish industries that imprisoned the bodies of the helpless labor class and the equally satanic institutions that shacked the development of their minds. 271
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140430423, Paperback)

In the persons of Gradgrind and Bounderby, Dickens stigmatized the prevalent philosophy of utilitarianism which, whether in school or factory, allowed human beings to be caged in a dreary scenery of brick terraces and foul chimneys, to be enslaved to machines and reduced to numbers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:21 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

"The 'terrible mistake' was the contemporary utilitarian philosophy, expounded in Hard Times (1854) as the Philosophy of Fact by the hard-headed disciplinarian Thomas Gradgrind. But the novel, Dickens's 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" -- publisher websit (July 2007).… (more)

» see all 27 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.49)
0.5 6
1 27
1.5 9
2 107
2.5 29
3 298
3.5 92
4 320
4.5 29
5 165

Audible.com

15 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014143967X, 0141195207, 0141198346, 0141199563

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 98,523,063 books! | Top bar: Always visible