Vintage, Paperback, 9780307947208, 288pp.
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
The shortest of Charles Dickens's novels, Hard Times is also his most pointed and impassioned satire of social injustice.
Set in Coketown, a fictional industrial town in the north of England, Hard Times was born of its author's indignation at the soul-crushing conditions of the industrial age, and yet it vibrantly transcends the stock situations and polemical weaknesses typical of social protest fiction of the time. The indelible characters--Mr. Gradgrind, whose utilitarian educational philosophy emotionally cripples his own children; the hypocritical factory owner Josiah Bounderby; Stephen Blackpool, an honest worker wrongly accused of a crime; and Sissy Jupe, a circus performer whose father abandons her to what he hopes is a better life--all come alive in classic Dickensian fashion, and contribute to a satiric vision of society tempered equally by righteous anger and compassionate humanity.