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Hard Times
Cover of Hard Times
Hard Times
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Originally written for Dickens's weekly magazine, Household Words, this short novel follows the fate of Sissy Jupe, a warm-hearted circus child, and the family that adopts her. Deserted by her ailing father, Sissy is taken into the cold household of the Gradgrind family, which operates a school. The "eminently practical" Thomas Gradgrind believes only in facts and figures and has raised his children accordingly, thoroughly suppressing the imaginative sides of their nature. They grow up in ignorance of love and affection, of beauty and culture, or of empathy for others, and the consequences are devastating. Only after numerous crises does Thomas realize that his principles have corrupted their lives.

Dickens's satirical exposé of the Industrial Revolution condemns the utilitarianism that exploited the bodies, minds, and souls of the vulnerable labor class.

Originally written for Dickens's weekly magazine, Household Words, this short novel follows the fate of Sissy Jupe, a warm-hearted circus child, and the family that adopts her. Deserted by her ailing father, Sissy is taken into the cold household of the Gradgrind family, which operates a school. The "eminently practical" Thomas Gradgrind believes only in facts and figures and has raised his children accordingly, thoroughly suppressing the imaginative sides of their nature. They grow up in ignorance of love and affection, of beauty and culture, or of empathy for others, and the consequences are devastating. Only after numerous crises does Thomas realize that his principles have corrupted their lives.

Dickens's satirical exposé of the Industrial Revolution condemns the utilitarianism that exploited the bodies, minds, and souls of the vulnerable labor class.

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    9 - 12

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About the Author-
  • Charles Dickens (1812–1870) was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England, the second of eight children in a family continually plagued by debt. A legacy brought release from the nightmare of debtors' prison and child labor and afforded him a few years of formal schooling. He worked as an attorney's clerk and newspaper reporter until his early writings brought him the amazing success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. He was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and he remains popular, responsible for some of English literature's most iconic characters.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine In Dickens's story of the horrors of a utilitarian upbringing, reason and facts are everything, and imagination and creativity are nothing. The narrator's British accent goes well with Dickens's overly dramatic and lush prose. He uses different English accents for the numerous male characters, some speech defects for others and a breathy falsetto voice for all the women. While a straight rendition of the dialogue would be an improvement, luckily the story is mainly narrative. Some classics simply may not translate well either to audiobooks or to the 1990's. E.F. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
  • AudioFile Magazine Once in a while a great reader captures a classic work with such perfection that the listener can't put the headphones down. British actor Martin Jarvis, who lately achieved attention in the movie Titanic, attempts a full character portrayal, and succeeds--he glides effortlessly from one character to another. A sprightly old woman, for example, he enunciates in a high-pitched near-falsetto--it could be the woman herself. Professor Gradgrind's flat words sound like the prim schoolmaster he is. Mr. Bounderby, who throws his weight around throughout the book, is loud and blustery and insufferable. Jarvis carries the narrative portions nicely, too: His voice is precise, deliberate and yet smooth and expressive. Dickens was in the full flower of his talent when he wrote Hard Times, and this performance is a tribute to him. D.W. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine
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    Blackstone Publishing
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Hard Times
Hard Times
Charles Dickens
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