Coketown is dominated by the figure of Mr Thomas Gradgrind, school headmaster and model of Utilitarian success. Feeding both his pupils and family with facts, he bans fancy and wonder from any young minds.
Charles Dickens was born on 7 February 1812. He is the author of
such Classics as Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby,
The Old Curiosity Shop, A Christmas Carol and David
Copperfield. In later works, such as Bleak House and
Little Dorrit, Dickens's social criticism became more
radical and his comedy more savage. His last novel, The Mystery
of Edwin Drood, was never completed and he died on 9 June
Kate Flint is Professor of English at Rutgers University. Her published work includes The Victorians and The Visual Imagination.
Hard Times is Dickens's most political novel. Taking place in the industrial burg of Coke-town, the drama among the characters illustrates the author's view of the dehumanizing effects of industrialization and utilitarianism on the lives of all involved and is essentially a "moral fable" illustrating the principle that one reaps what one sows. VERDICT Anton Lesser, a classical actor and an award-winning audiobook reader, gives a spirited reading, bringing out the character of each persona-the dictatorial Gradgrind, the pompous Bounderby, and the meek Sissy-with skill and verve. An entertaining and captivating listening experience; all libraries should consider. [See the Dickens roundup, p. 68.-Ed.]-Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll. Lib., Lynchburg (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.