Hard Times- For These Times. is a novel by Charles Dickens, first published in 1854. The book is a state-of-the-nation novel, which aimed to highlight the social and economic pressures that some people were experiencing. Unlike other such writings at the time, the novel is unusual in that it is not set in London (as was also Dickens' usual wont), but in the fictitious Victorian industrial town of Coketown, often claimed to be based on Preston. It met a mixed response from a diverse range of critics, such as F.R. Leavis, George Bernard Shaw, and Thomas Macaulay, mainly focusing on Dickens' treatment of trade unions, coupled with post-Industrial Revolution pessimism regarding the divide between capitalistic mill owners and undervalued workers during the Victorian era of Britain. Dickens's reasons for writing Hard Times were monetary, educational and critical. Sales of his weekly pulp fiction periodical, Household Words, were low, and he hoped the inclusion of this novel in instalments would increase sales. Gaskell's North and South published a year later, was another state-of-the-nation novel to first appear in Household Words. Dickens wished to satirize radical Utilitarians whom he described in a letter to Charles Knight as see[ing] figures and averages, and nothing else. He also wished to campaign for reform of working conditions. Dickens had visited factories in Manchester as early as 1839, and was appalled by the environment in which workers toiled. Drawing upon his own childhood experiences, Dickens resolved to strike the heaviest blow in my power for those who laboured in horrific conditions. - Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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January 01, 2007
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