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Hard Times (Penguin Classics) Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

ISBN-13: 978-0140860559 ISBN-10: 014086055X Edition: abridged edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio; abridged edition edition (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014086055X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140860559
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,297,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-12-Dickens' satire on the Victorian family and the philosophies of a society which sought to turn men into machines.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"This is a work indispensable for a discussion of the reflection of the process of industrialization in European Realism as well as the question of education. A superb social commentary on the times."--Sven H. Rossel, University of Washington


"Nicely printed, but inexpensive, clear edition--what I'm looking for."--Dr. Dolores Luhr, La Salle University


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

One of the grand masters of Victorian literature, Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors' prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and "slave" factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years' formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney's clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.

Customer Reviews

Like all Charles Dickens' novels it features some great, memorable characters.
Chad Radford
Tough to read and understand but if you take the time and slowly read it you will understand and get something out of it.
Amy M. Fenske
In this particular book, Dickens lends skill, imagination, and panache to English language usage.
J. Owen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Oddsfish VINE VOICE on March 30, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I initially lamented the fact that Hard Times was assigned to me in my British lit. class. I had read some of Dickens's melodramas like A Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist and enjoyed them, but everything I heard about Hard Times said this was nothing like those. This was supposedly just strictly social commentary. My interpretation of that: BORING.
But then I read it.
Hard Times isn't like Dickens's other novels, but I don't think that it has any less heart than those masterpieces. In fact, Dickens endured himself much further to me with this novel as he has his characters perform Thomas Carlyle's enduring philosophy.
The novel follows the Gradgrind family who is raised adhering to FACTS and living in a society which worships the manufacturing machine. As the novel progresses, connections are made and broken, and the characters come to the realization that there is much more to reality than the material facts.
Hard Times is told so compassionately. The reader cares for these people and their tragic lives. The story is also told with biting humor that still cuts at today's society (this novel feels really modern), and the underlying philosophy is one which is so needed in our post-modern world. I would certainly recommend this novel to fans of Dickens and to fans of the truly literary novel.
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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE on February 20, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Hard Times" belongs to the second half of Dickens's writing career, in which his work becomes rather more somber and, by common critical assent, more mature and satisfying. Personally, I prefer his earlier work and his very first novel, "Pickwick Papers", is to my mind his greatest. Surprisingly, "Hard Times", despite its title and reputation, contains some brilliant flashes of Dickens humour, especially in the earlier part. The descriptions of Bounderby and Gradgrind, and the early dialogue with the circus folk, are genuinely hilarious.

This is Dickens's shortest novel, about a third of the length of each of his previous four. Themes, subplots and characters are introduced without being fully explored. The author was perhaps feeling the constraints of writing in installments for a periodical, although he was well used to doing that. This relative brevity, together with the youth of some of the central characters, make this book a good introduction to Dickens for young readers.

There are the large dollops of Victorian melodrama and the reliance on unlikely coincidences that mar much of Dickens's work. Also the usual tendency for characters to become caricatures and to have names that are a little too apt (a teacher called Mr. McChoakumchild?).

The respected critic F.R. Leavis considered "Hard Times" to be Dickens's masterpiece and "only serious work of art". This seems to me wildly wrong, but such an extreme opinion may prompt you to read the book, just so that you can form your own opinion.

I read it because I had just finished "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair, which deals with the plight of Chicago factory workers, and I wanted to compare the two. Sinclair's book has greater immediacy. It takes you much closer to the suffering of the workers.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Arguably, Dickens could be classified as the greatest of all English speaking novelists...of all times. There are very few writers that can offer his consistency, novel after novel, story after story. Yes, many have written works that perhaps equal any of his given works, but few if any have been able to turn out such a volume of pure quality. Very, very few authors have had such a large portion of their work pass the test of time. Dickens gains new readers year in and year out and there is a reason for this!

Over the past 50 or so years I have heard this particular work referred to as "not Dickens' best," and "A minor work by Dickens," and other comments along those lines. I am really not in a position, nor do I have the ability to proclaim or rank this author's work one way or the other. Dickens for me is like any other author...I either like it or I do not like it; it either is a joy to read or it is not. Now I have read this short novel at least five times over the years and listen to several versions on CD and Tape. The best, minor Dickens' work, timeless classic, not pertinent in today's world, a mere political rant? Well I don't know. I do know that it is one of my favorites and do look forwarded to reading it again down the road. I am one of those horrid and probably misguided individuals who sort of make their own mind up about anything I read, and more or less ignore the pontifications of those that are suppose to know about such things. All that being said though, I cannot look you in the eye and state that I have ever read one story; one word by this author that I did not enjoy right down to the tip of my toes. He delights me.

The setting of course is in Victorian England and the Industrial Revolution is in full tilt.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Chad Radford on May 2, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Hard Times" is a minor Charles Dickens classic. Like all Charles Dickens' novels it features some great, memorable characters. The setting of the industrial city of Coketown is vividly described as a miserable, polluted town. There are some strong themes of class struggles between the working men in the factories and the harsh upper classes who seek to exploit them. Nearly all of the upper class characters are depicted in a negative light while the real heroes of the story are from the working class. As always, Dickens finds an entertaining way to shine a bright light on the social problems of Victorian-era England. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it. However, if you are choosing your first introduction to Charles Dickens, then you should pick one of his better-known novels.
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