Dickens and the Pleasure of the Text: The Risks of Hard Times Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011