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Hard Times is Dickens’s novel set in the fictional Coketown and centering around utilitarian and industrial influences on Victorian society.
“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.”
So begins Hard Times, and what an opening this is! We know instantly from this, some of what the novel will be about, and the character of the man who says these words. He is plain-speaking in his “inflexible, dry, and dictatorial” voice, direct and committed to his extreme view of teaching as instruction. His name is Mr. Thomas Gradgrind, “an eminently practical man”, and he has an ailing wife, and five children called Louisa, Tom, Jane - and revealingly - Adam Smith and Malthus. He has a misguided idea of Utilitarianism as an ideal in all things, only valuing facts and statistics, and ruthlessly suppressing the imaginative sides of his children's nature.
Mr. Gradgrind also has a close friend, a banker and mill owner, Josiah Bounderby, who boasts that he is a self-made man, proud that he raised himself in the streets after being abandoned as a child - and in the meantime never letting anyone forget it. Whereas both men express the same hardnosed views, Josiah Bounderby is a very different sort of man, a blustering, arrogant and hypocritical man.
Hard Times is an unusual novel for Dickens and it deals with the working conditions of the “hands” or workers there.
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Cambridge Literature is a series of literary texts edited for study by students aged 14-18 in English-speaking classrooms. It will include novels, poetry, short stories, essays, travel-writing and other non-fiction.From the Publisher:
The Broadview Literary Texts series is an effort to represent the ever-changing canon of literature in English by bringing together texts long regarded as classics with valuable, though lesser-known literature.
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Descrizione libro Signet Classics. MASS MARKET PAPERBACK. Condizione libro: New. 0451523008 MP15. Codice libro della libreria EZ-EXHK-A97M