Dickens and the Pleasure of the Text: The Risks of Hard Times

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Abstract

This essay examines the pleasure of the text in Dickens's novel Hard Times (1854) and considers the risks it takes in its performance as a novel in a utilitarian economy. Walking a tightrope between employing the genre as an agent of social change and entertaining middle-class readers, Dickens fuses homo ludens with homo faber. The sheer pleasure of reading must be shown to be useful, yet the novel has not proven popular until recent years and its moral message does not wear will in a postmodern hedonistic culture. Nevertheless, imagination as means as well as metaphor must be tested by its success, and the author, like Mr Jupe, cannot afford to miss a trick.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-330
Number of pages20
JournalPartial Answers
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011

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