Dickens had studied and written about Preston, a
notorious for its harsh employers, and he wished to create a
novel about disputes between mill-owners and workers; and also about
educational policy; materialism; theories about art and design;
divorce law; and industrial safety regulations [Alan S Watts: The
Life and Times of Charles Dickens, p99].
Hard Times (1854) is a compact novel, with a small cast of
in contrast to the giants that preceded and followed it,
Bleak House (1853), and Little Dorritt (1855-57).
Book the First. Sowing
~ 17 September 2005 ~
I. The One Thing Needful ~ Entire ~ Facts; Emphasis.
II. Murdering the Innocents ~ Entire ~ Defining a Horse; Fact
III. A Loophole ~ Entire ~ Stone Lodge versus Sleary’s
IV. Mr Bounderby ~ Entire ~ An Autobiography;
& an injunction to be something-ological.
V. The Key-Note ~ 3pp to ‘... Creation were repealed?’ ~ Coketown’s
Melancholy Mad Elephant.
~ 15 October ~
VI. Sleary’s Horsemanship ~ Entire ~ Sissy Jupe, Mr E W B
Childers, Mr Sleary & others.
VII. Mrs Sparsit ~ Entire ~ Gentility & Humility.
VIII. Never Wonder ~ Last 3 paragraphs from ‘Louisa denied ...’ ~
Louisa versus Mrs Gradgrind.
IX. Sissy’s Progress ~ 3pp to ‘... don’t like it.’ ~ Sissy versus the
X. Stephen Blackpool ~ 2pp to ‘... five-and-thirty years of age.’ ~
XII. The Old Woman ~ 2pp to ‘... as it had been.’ ~ Her Pilgrimage.
XIV. The Great Manufacturer ~ Entire ~ A Hint from Tom.
XV. Father & Daughter ~ Entire ~ Mrs Bounderby.
XVI. Husband & Wife ~ Entire ~ Approaching
the First Difficulty.
Book the Second. Reaping
~ 21 January 2006 ~
I. Effects in The Bank ~ Entire ~ Mrs
Sparsit at the Bank, & a Visitor.
II. Mr James Harthouse ~ Entire ~ Mr Bounderby on Mill Work.
IV. Men and Brothers ~ 2pp to ‘... and for Right?’ ~ A Professional
~ 18 February ~
V. Men and Masters ~ 2pp to ‘... an angry finger.’ ~ Gusty Weather.
VI. Fading Away ~ 2pp to ‘... and distresses.’ ~ The Old Woman Again.
VII. Gunpowder ~ 6pp to ‘... abruptly broke off.’ ~ James
Harthouse in Confidence.
VIII. Explosion ~ Entire ~ A ‘Hand’ in the Robbery;
Tom has Nothing to Tell.
~ 18 March ~
IX. Hearing the Last of It ~ Entire ~ A
Singular World, Sir; Louisa Visits her Mother.
X. Mrs Sparsit’s Staircase ~ Entire ~ Mrs
Sparsit Keeps Watch.
XI. Lower & Lower ~ Entire ~ Mrs Sparsit in Ambuscade.
XII. Down ~ Entire ~ Louisa & her Father.
Book the Third. Garnering
~ 15 April ~
I. Another Thing Needful ~ Entire ~ A Light Tread near the Door.
II. Very Ridiculous ~ Entire ~ Perplexity of Mr Harthouse.
have it from me.’ ~ Louisa Misunderstood.
V. Found ~ Skip 3pp; then 4pp from ‘The spectacle ...’ to ‘... Good
evening!’ ~ Mr
VI. The Starlight ~ Last 2pp from ‘I ha’ fell into th’ pit ...’ ~
~ 20 May ~
VII. Whelp-Hunting ~ Entire ~ The Whelp put in Disguise.
VIII. Philosophical ~ Entire ~ Mr Sleary on Canine Sagacity.
IX. Final ~ Entire ~ A Dip into the Future.
~ ~ ~