Hard Times. For These Times.

“There is a wisdom of the head, and... there is a wisdom of the heart": First edition of Hard Times from the library of British Prime Minister and novelist Benjamin Disraeli

Hard Times. For These Times.

DICKENS, Charles (Benjamin Disraeli).

Item Number: 96192

London: Bradbury & Evans, 1854.

First edition in book form of Dickens’ attack on the living conditions of England’s mid-19th century industrial cities. Octavo, original green cloth blindstamped with gilt titles to the spine. From the library of British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli with his armorial bookplate to the pastedown. Disraeli played a central role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party in the United Kingdom and served as the country’s prime minister for two terms. He is the only British prime minister to have been of Jewish birth and was also a novelist, publishing works of fiction even as prime minister. In very good condition with the half-title present, which is often lacking and some loss to the front free endpaper. Housed in a custom half morocco and chemise slipcase. An exceptional association linking these two great writers and figures of the nineteenth century.

Initially published serially in Household Words between April and August of 1854, Hard Times was published in book form almost immediately following the final serial in 1854. Viewed as a departure from Dickens' previous tales, the work presents what was to become an increasingly somber picture of contemporary society in Dickens’ works. Critics such as George Bernard Shaw and Thomas Macaulay focused on Dickens' treatment of trade unions and his post–Industrial Revolution pessimism in regards to the divide between capitalist mill owners and undervalued workers during the Victorian era. F. R. Leavis, a great admirer of the book, included it – but not as a whole – in his Great Tradition of English novels.

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