Hard Times. For These Times.

“There is a wisdom of the head, and... there is a wisdom of the heart": First edition of Charles Dickens' Hard Times

Hard Times. For These Times.

DICKENS, Charles.


Item Number: 121032

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 including the “Price 5/-” in gilt at the base of the spine and p.244 misnumbered as 44. In near fine condition with the half-title present, which is often lacking. Housed in a custom three quarter morocco and chemise slipcase.

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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