Hard Times Criticism

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When first published in 1854, Hard Times did not receive the same praise that was customary for Dickens's other novels. Reviewers, with a few exceptions, were reluctant to hail it as an example of his best work. Some reviewers thought the book too didactic, too intent on conveying the evils of industrialism, and lacking Dickens's customary humor. Richard Simpson, in the Rambler, described it as a "mere dull melodrama, in which character is caricature, sentiment tinsel, and moral (if any) unsound." On the other hand, the novel did have its defenders. Well-known social critic John Ruskin called it "in several respects the greatest [Dickens] has written," although he faulted it for exaggerating the characters of Bounderby and Stephen Blackpool, making the former into a monster and the latter too perfect. But Edwin P. Whipple, in the Atlantic Monthly, took issue with Ruskin's positive assessment and accused Dickens of exaggerating...

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This section contains 440 words
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Hard Times from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.