Hard Times

Charles Dickens

Hard Times, by Charles Dickens - click to see full size image

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Hard Times: For These Times (commonly known as Hard Times) is the tenth novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854. Unlike most of Dickens' novels, this one is not set in London but in a fictitious Northern mill-town, and it tells the story of several characters whose lives are intertwined. Thomas Gradgrind, a wealthy, retired merchant who runs a school and devotes his life to a philosophy of rationalism, self-interest, and facts. Josiah Bounderby is a mill-owner, a man 'perfectly devoid of sentiment', and Gradgrind's close friend. Louisa Gradgrind, Thomas's daughter who finds herself being married off to Bounderby, who is thirty years her senior. Tom, Louisa's brother who turns to gambling and drinking. Sissy Jupe, a young girl in Gradgrind's classroom who is taken in by him when her father runs off. Stephen Blackpool, a worker in one of Bounderby's mills, he forms a close bond with a co-worker, but has an alcoholic wife at home whom he wishes to divorce.

The book was first serialised in Household Words, a weekly magazine edited by Dickens. He wrote it initially to help flagging sales, but also wished to educate his readers about poor working conditions in some of the factories in the industrial towns. Hard Times has been adapated several times for television, theatre, and film.

№ 32 in Goodreads 100 Best Nineteenth-Century British and Irish Novels.

This book has 103,473 words, 195 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1854.

Production notes: This ebook of Hard Times was published by Global Grey on the 20th October 2021. The artwork used for the cover is 'Part of a City' by Aleksander Gierymski.

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