Hard Times (version 2), Locked Out and On Strike


Read by Phil Benson

(5 stars; 4 reviews)

Hard Times was Dickens's shortest novel and the only one to be set in the industrial north of England. A fast moving story with a typical cast of larger than life characters, the novel is a vehicle for a humanist critique of both utilitarian education ('Teach these boys and girls nothing but facts', says Mr. Gradgrind in the opening paragraph) and the mutual antagonism between capital and the trade union. A humanist education system, it turns out, is Dickens's solution to the class struggle. Hard Times is set in the fictional Coketown and was partly inspired by a visit to Preston during the factory lockout that brought the town's industry to a standstill in 1853. This version is read as it appeared in 20 issues of Dickens's weekly Household Words from April to August 1854. It is followed by two earlier articles - Locked Out and On Strike - that describe Dickens' visit to Preston and do much to clarify his thinking on education and class conflict. - Summary by Phil Benson (11 hr 41 min)

Chapters

1 April 1854 - Chapters 1-3 28:19 Read by Phil Benson
8 April 1854 - Chapters 4-5 30:11 Read by Phil Benson
15 April 1854 - Chapter 6 29:49 Read by Phil Benson
22 April 1854 - Chapters 7-8 28:43 Read by Phil Benson
29 April 1854 - Chapters 9-10 29:46 Read by Phil Benson
6 May 1854 - Chapters11-12 29:20 Read by Phil Benson
13 May 1854 - Chapters 13-14 28:39 Read by Phil Benson
20 May 1854 - Chapters 15-16 30:09 Read by Phil Benson
27 May 1854 - Chapter 17 29:24 Read by Phil Benson
3 June 1854 - Chapters 18-19 29:10 Read by Phil Benson
10 June 1854 - Chapters 20-21 34:24 Read by Phil Benson
17 June 1854 - Chapter 22 27:02 Read by Phil Benson
24 June 1854 - Chapter 23 28:25 Read by Phil Benson
1 July 1854 - Chapter 24 29:28 Read by Phil Benson
8 July 1854 - Chapters 25-26 29:02 Read by Phil Benson
15 July 1854 - Chapters 27-28 30:34 Read by Phil Benson
22 July 1854 - Chapters 29-30 34:00 Read by Phil Benson
29 July 1854 - Chapters 31-32 42:03 Read by Phil Benson
5 August 1854 - Chapters 33-34 42:50 Read by Phil Benson
12 August 1854 - Chapters 35-36 54:04 Read by Phil Benson
Locked Out 19:32 Read by Phil Benson
On Strike 36:48 Read by Phil Benson