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English Literature   >   Dickens: Hard Times


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Dickens: Hard Times

In this course, Dr Alfie Bown (University of Manchester) explores Dickens’ 1854 novel, Hard Times. As we move through the course, we think about the philosophy of Utilitarianism (thinking in particular about Mr. Gradgrind), about class (thinking in particular about Mr. Bounderby), about regulation and surveillance in Coketown (thinking in particular about Mrs. Sparsit) and, finally, about comedy (thinking in particular about the Circus).


In this module, we provide a general background to the novel and the socio-political context of the mid-nineteenth century. In particular, we think about the extent to which Hard Times engages with the same kinds of issues as Marx raises in his Communist Manifesto, published just six years before in 1848.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Bown, A. (2018, August 15). Dickens: Hard Times - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Bown, A. "Dickens: Hard Times – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


Dr Alfie Bown

Dr Alfie Bown

Royal Holloway, London