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   Hard Times

Hard Times

Author: Dickens, Charles Set In . . .
 Europe, England, Lancashire
Genre: Fiction
Time Frame: 1800s
Published: 1854
Description: Dickens’s tenth novel, “Hard Times”, describes the social and economic conditions of the mid- nineteenth century. Appalled at the working conditions prevalent at the outset of the Industrial Revolution in towns such as Manchester and Preston, he endeavored to “strike the heaviest blow” in his power to educate his readers. The story line deconstructs the assumption that prosperity runs parallel to morality and also attacks the Utilitarian philosophy prevalent at the time; "the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people." In contrast, Dickens felt that the pursuit of a totally rationalized society could lead to great misery. He believed that Utilitarian values promoted contempt between the industrialists and the workers and fostered a lack of imagination in young adults due to an over-emphasis on facts at the expense of more imaginative pursuits. Walter Allen, characterized the novel as being an unsurpassed "critique of industrial society", and George Orwell praised Dickens for his “generous anger." The Pied Piper Classics series offers a beautifully formatted collection of some of the finest writers of the past two centuries; an invitation to explore how certain themes of the human condition have remained timeless, and others have evolved.
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