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Hard Times

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  36,706 Ratings  ·  1,767 Reviews
Unusually for Dickens, Hard Times is set, not in London, but in the imaginary mid-Victorian Northern industrial town of Coketown with its blackened factories, downtrodden workers and polluted environment. This is the soulless domain of the strict utilitarian Thomas Gradgrind and the heartless factory owner Josiah Bounderby. However, human joy is not excluded thanks to 'Mr ...more
Paperback, 243 pages
Published January 5th 1995 by Wordsworth Editions (first published 1854)
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Jenny I don't think she's meant to be a 'representative character for Victorian women' - for one thing, Dickens wouldn't have thought of her as a…moreI don't think she's meant to be a 'representative character for Victorian women' - for one thing, Dickens wouldn't have thought of her as a 'Victorian' woman because he was a Victorian himself.
I think Rachael is there as a contrast to Louisa - a good, sensible woman, but one who hasn't been subjected to Louisa's terrible education and isn't afraid to let herself feel.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 29, 2008 Rhiannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is, for me, Dickens' best. I loved every second of it, the darkness of Tom's steady descent into drinking and gambling were brilliant and there were several times I found myself simply rereading a few paragraphs over and over, in awe at them. (The end of Chapter XIX, The Whelp, is something I hold in very high regard as possibly one of his best pieces of writing ever.) I want to deal with the characters individually from here, since I feel they are all very important.

Mr Gradgrind - Fac
Henry Avila
Jul 20, 2014 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Thomas Gradgrind , a very wealthy, former merchant, retired, only believes in facts, mathematics, two plus two, are four, facts are important, facts will lift you into prosperity, fact are what to live by, they are the only thing that matters, everything else is worthless ... knowing. He sets up a model school, were the terrorized students, will learn this ( and other subjects that are unfortunately, also taught), the eminently practical man, teaches his five children at birth ... facts! The ...more
سماح عطية
ربما تحمل بعض الروايات الأجنبية فكرة، حكمة ما؛
تضيق وتتسع بحسب أثرها على القاريء وما تلمسه من نبضات تكوينه .

لكن إبداع اللغة يتجلّى لي في الأدب العربيّ
من جمال أساليبها أحب أن أنهل، وفي روعة بلاغتها أشتاق للإبحار
لا مثيل للحرف العربي في إسعادي وإطرابي ..

“ إنّ الذي ملأ اللغات محاسناً .. جعل الجمال و سرّه في الضّاد ”
- أحمد شوقي
Mar 22, 2016 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the mind of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them."
Mr. Gradgrind, Hard Times

"We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control"

Another Brick in the Wall (Part II) - Roger Waters, Pink Floyd
Roger Waters' lyrics could almost be a direct response to Mr. Gradgrind's ridiculo
Bryce Wilson
Sep 04, 2008 Bryce Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-lit
Not Dicken's best work, but still, ya know, Dickens.

It's pretty much "Lets light some straw men on fire!" day in Dickens land. Presumably Hard Times was chosen as the title because "Let's Kick Some Deserving Fuckers In The Teeth" was already taken.

Still I don't know anyone I'd rather watch burn people and deliver teeth kicks then Dickens.
Dec 20, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard Times is Dickens’s novel set in the fictional Coketown and centering around utilitarian and industrial influences on Victorian society.

Dickens’s brilliant use of characterization can be seen in high form here and as always, his naming of his story’s populace is entertaining by itself. The best is without a doubt Mr. McChokumchild, a teacher.

Louisa Gradgrind is a thinly disguised fictionalization of John Stuart Mill. One of the great things about reading literature from the 1800s or earlie
helen the bookowl
This book is another evidence of Charles Dickens' brilliancy when it comes to writing. He starts with one person and her destiny, but gradually the story becomes more and more intricate and complex, and in the end you end up with a completely different story from what you started out with.
I have quite an ambivalent relationship to Charles Dickens and his books. Some of them I love, some of them confuse me or end up disappointing me. "Hard Times" was a good story, but I was mildly disappointed w
This novel actually really surprised me. Many reviews on Goodreads liken the title to the reading experience, one of pushing through long details and descriptions. Actually, this book has done the opposite for me. My reading of Victorian books has been few and far between. Middlemarch was a great novel, one which I am glad I read, and I recently bought a 16-book Dickens Collection in an attempt to get some more of his under my belt.

Having only read A Tale of Two Cities previously, I was aware th
MJ Nicholls
Hard Times opens with the usual Dickens comic brio and sabre-toothed satire. Mr Gradgrind’s pursuit of Facts, Facts, Facts deadens his daughter Louisa’s sense of Fancy and humour, until she relents to a marriage to Mr. Bounderby—surely the progenitor of this Monty Python sketch. As the novel moves into its second half, the melodramatic and laboured Steven Blackpool narrative distracts from the more poignant story of circus orphan Sissy and the Gradgrinds. Steven’s phonetic Lancastrian dialect is ...more
Aug 06, 2007 Cori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: audio book lovers
From my blog:

NOTE: I listened to the audio version.

For some reason, I could never get into Dickens. I was an English major, for goodness' sake. I tried David Copperfield. I tried the Pickwick Papers. I tried Oliver Twist. All meh, and I didn't finish any of them. I have, however, enjoyed many a film adaptation of his novels, including Bleak House (fan. tas. tic.) and Nicholas Nickleby, so I knew that it couldn't be that bad. Anyway, my friend Hillary has recommended Hard Times for a long time,
الرواية من روايات الأدب الإنجليزي القليلة
اللِّي شدتني .. بعكس (قصة مدينتين) مثلًا ! رغم إنها لم تكن سيئة..
حياة تشارلز ديكنز وطفولتُه البائسة
اثرها ظاهر بِشكل كبير علي شخصياته اللِّي بيرسمها بإحترافية
التجارب الأليمة التي يمر بها كُل شخص هي التي تصنعه بالتأكيد وبالتالي تترك تأثير عظيم
فى نفسه،
رواية تترك بصمة إنسانية عميقة ف الوجدان.
تتضمن الرواية حديث عن الأطفال الصغار الَّذين عانوا الكثير من العذاب والقهر والضياع بسبب
الظروف الاجتماعية السائدة ف مجتمعاتهِم.
البعض يختار الظروف لتكون عونًا له علي
Jan 21, 2009 Rashaan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A slim and compact tale whose characters and story packs a powerful punch, Dickens’ Hard Times is as vitriolic an indictment against the institutionalized teaching model Paolo Friere scathingly criticized as the “banking concept” in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Josiah Bounderby is delectably drawn, as is the crooked and colorful characters of James Harthouse, Mrs. Sparsit, and our cold and calculated heroine, Louisa Gradgrind. Dickens, at first, seems to forgo his typical habit of idealizing w ...more
Craig Robb
Aug 13, 2013 Craig Robb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 12-08-2013
They say no-one reads a book to get to the middle. Well, for Hard Times, perhaps they should, so disappointing the end turns out to be, this is one of the examples of how literature has improved over the years. Having read Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities and enjoying them all immensely I tried Hard Times, having read here and elsewhere that the book represented Dickens at his best. It does not, and to say that it does devalues his other work. The book is filled with shal ...more
Ibrahim Saad

بعد أن انتهيت من قراءة هذه الرواية ، تأكدت من حقيقة مهمة جداً .. وهي "ما أشقى الإنسان الذي لا يرى من هذا العالم إلا ما تبصره عيناه " حقاً ما أشقى هذا الإنسان ..
ماذا تعني الحياة ، ما هو مقياس الحياة ؟ أهي كل ما نراه من حقائق فقط ؟ العمل ، المال، المكانة ، العقل والتفكير المنطقي البعيد عن العواطف والشعور ؟ أنرى هذه الحياة في الإنسان الآلة ، الدائم الحركة والنشاط والعمل ولا وقت لديه ليفكر في مشاعر وحب وما شابه ذلك من -ترهات- في نظره ، أم نرى ذلك في الهدوء والسكون والبعد عن الحركة والناس وال
Apr 16, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Click here for Charles Dickens Disclaimer

I'm not even sure where to start with this book. First of all, Hard Times is one of the shorter, and lesser known of the Dickens novels. At only around four hundred pages, it almost seems like a novella compared to his other tomes of one thousand pages or more. The book has some interesting characters. We have Thomas Gradgrind, the obstinate disciplinarian, who raises his children to use their head and facts in all things and to never "wonder" because th
Mar 22, 2016 Suzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzy by: The Pickwick Club group read
Shelves: listened-to, classics
This is my first Dickens outside of A Christmas Carol. I really enjoyed it, although I have nothing to compare it to in terms of his writing. Published in 1854, it is set in Coketown, a fictitious factory town in England. The central premise of this book is established early on (p. 11) when Thomas Gradgrind is alarmed to find two of his children peeking in on a circus. This after he has delivered his philosophy on the main point of life to the local teacher, Mr. M'Choakumchild:

"Now what I want i
Aliaa Mohamed
" أوقات عصيبة " جميلة بلا شك بس حسيت ف لحظة ان مش ده اسلوب ديكنز او ممكن تكون مكتوبة ف اول عهده
انا معتبراها قصة مش رواية وملاحظة ان ناس كتير درسوها ف المدرسة إلا انا معرفش ليه ؟!
اللى استفزنى من القصة اولا اسمها اللى مش شايفة ليه علاقة اوى بمضمونها .. وكمان النهاية العجيبة ان كل واحد وحش ف الاول بقى كويس ف الاخر فجأة كده مع ان اللى اعرفه ان من شب ع شئ شاب عليه وبالتالى صعب ان الانسان يغير طباعه ف يوم وليلة فحسيت انى قدام فيلم مصرى قديم وهابط كمان !
كمان من عيوب القصة تهميش دور " سيسى " ف اغلب المض
Ahmad Sharabiani
Hard times, Charles Dickens
عنوان: روزگار سخت؛ نویسنده: چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: حسین اعرابی؛ تهران، نگاه، 1364، در 446 ص؛
عنوان: روزگار سخت؛ مترجم: الهام دانش نژاد؛ تلخیص برای نوجوانان، در 71 ص در تهران، دبیر، 1389؛
عنوان دیگر کتاب : دوران سخت؛ مترجم: سید جلیل شاهرودی لنگرودی؛ تهران، نشر سخن، مجید، 1394، در 416 ص؛ شابک: 978600941263؛
In a Muddle

This is probably where Dickens found himself to some extent when sales of his periodical Household Words were falling and he started publishing his new novel Hard Times on its pages in order to improve sales figures. These latter did in fact improve, albeit the novel itself seems to have suffered from the weekly publication mode that was the consequence of Dickens’s decision: Now Dickens had to deliver weekly and to cut up his story into shorter chapters. Apart from that, Dickens must
Heba Zaki
من المؤكــد فقدانى للكثير من المتعة الوجدانية و الثراء الفكرى حينما وقعت بين يـــدى ~ مترجمة ~ و لكن هذا لم يمنعنى من تبنى أبطالها بتفاصيلهم الصغيــرة فى مخيلتــى و تلهفى البالغ أثناء متابعة الأحداث

.. كنت على يقيـــن منذ البداية ان الحيــاة لا تستقيم بـ الحقائق / الواقعية وحدها .. انما تحتــاج لــ مشاعــر فياضة من الحب / الأمــل / الرحمة لتخرج أجمل ما فى بطونها !
Oct 06, 2010 Durdles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I have had this book on my shelf since my wife studied it at college in 1979. I had avoided reading it (although I've enjoyed every Dickens Book I've read). I suppose I associated Hard Times with Hard Book. Who wants to read about industial strife? It's grim oop t'North etc. The way round this for me was the relatively painless outlay of 95p on a download of the book on to the MP3 to listen to while running. The skill of the narrator immediately transports you into the world of Mr Gradgrind's sc ...more
Laurel Hicks
Well done, Mr. Dickens! This novel is as scathing an indictment of materialism as anything I have ever read, and in sentences as measured and poetic as those of A Tale of Two Cities.
Coleccionista  De finales tristes
Charles Dickens he leído: Grandes esperanzas, Historia de 2 ciudades, David, el de Navidad y sus cuentos de fantasmas pero este libro no me pude despegar de el, su inicio es muy bueno y me atrapo desde la primera página donde nos topamos con Thomas Grandgrind padre de 5 hijos educadod en base a realidades y matemáticamente, es decir sin fantasías y adornos innecesarios de la niñez como son cuentos, hadas, etc.

Un día encuentra en la calle a sus hijos Thomas y Luisa espiando un circo lo cual lo

“Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.”

With these ‘Hard’ lines, Dickens begins his novel!
It’s so deep and true and it touches a very delicate spot in my heart. It talks about materiality and arrogance in an extremely powerful critical way. That is why I fell in love with it from the very beginning.
We shouldn’t deny that most of us worship Facts. Most of us believe that facts equal
أحمد  البراجه

هل جال مرة ببال ( تشارلز ديكنز ) المتوفي سنة 1870 م أن تُقرأ إحدى رواياته على رصيف محطة قطار طنطا سنة 2013 م ؟!


مع كل وصف لمدينة ( كوكتاون ) أشعر وكأنه يصف القاهرة ،، بمبانيها وتلوثها وسكانها.


ستيفن بلاكبول

أحد شخصيات الرواية ،، كان عاملًا في مصنع للنسيج يملكه رجل ظالم ،، رفض ( ستيفن ) أن يُشارك مع زملاءه العمال في تكوين نقابة لهم تحفظ حقوقهم ،، كان ( ستيفن ) الوحيد الذي لم ينضم لهذه النقابة ، فكان جزاءه أن يُطرد من مصنع وأُتهم بسرقة مصرف يملكه ص
سارة درويش
It was amazing

بالنسبة لي إني أقرأ بالانجليزية :D

طبعاً ما قرأتش النسخة الـ 500 صفحة وزيادة ، قرأت النسخة المختصرة اللي كانت بتدرس لطلاب 3 ثانوي في سنة من السنين

عجبتني أوي رغم كآبتها .. لكن عجبني إنه خالف بعض توقعاتي في حاجات كتير .

حسيت انه كان ممكن يقول أكتر في شخصية سيسي وتطور ويكون دورها أكبر من كده .

بردو كان نفسي أعرف ليه كان مقاطع والدته وعايش بعيد عنها .

قد يكون الكلام دا كله متوضح في النسخة اللي مش مختصرة !
Aug 31, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
empi difficili sono quelli vissuti dagli operai delle nascenti industrie tessili e minerarie inglesi intorno alla metà del 1800, in cui uomini, donne e bambini trascorrono l’esistenza nelle fabbriche, scandita dal suono di campane che annunciano l’inizio e la fine del lavoro: i lavoratori escono alla stessa ora, percorrono gli stessi marciapiedi, fanno le stesse cose come automi, niente altro che “forza lavoro”, semplici numeri che fanno statistica, senza una luce di speranza che illumini le lor ...more
This is the second novel written by Dickens that I meanly give only three stars. The Dickens chemistry, his verve, and his charisma are not here.

Don't get me wrong - all the characters are typically his, as well as his pathos, his satire, and his WORDSMITHERY. Despite his typical Dickens features, it was one of the most unlikable novel - the characters were all detached from the me, and their inner world eluded me all the time. Their heartbeats, their desires, and their hopes that his character
Joana Marta
Ai Dickens Dickens…

I can’t believe it took me this long to start reading your books. Now I just want to have them all near me and read them one after another, just like a crazy fan.

Hard Times takes place in the imaginary town of Coketown, built by Dickens. An Industrial town, where we meet the eminently practical Thomas Gradgrind and Josiah Bounderby, the first defined as an utilitarian, who teaches how not to “wonder”, and the latter as a picture of materialist thinking. And then we have litt
Aug 10, 2011 Sandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Dickens’ very best at what he does the very best. The so-over-the-top, and yet painfully true-to-life characters, (by virtue of the wonderful names alone: Bounderby, M’Chokumchild, Blackpool) are so precisely defined that they drive the narrative and put such a spotlight on elements of human pride. The story, then, is in the descriptions.

In some books, you can skip the lengthy descriptions, as they just provide realistic detail or clues into the nature of the character’s reaction or his
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Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...more
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“There is a wisdom of the head, and... there is a wisdom of the heart.” 467 likes
“She was the most wonderful woman for prowling about the house. How she got from one story to another was a mystery beyond solution. A lady so decorous in herself, and so highly connected, was not to be suspected of dropping over the banisters or sliding down them, yet her extraordinary facility of locomotion suggested the wild idea.” 61 likes
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