The novel is unusual in that it did not contain illustrations; nor is it set in or around London (both usual in Dickens' novels). Instead the story is set in the fictitious Victorian industrial Coketown, a generic Northern English mill-town partially based upon 19th-century Preston.
Dickens' reasons for writing Hard Times were mostly monetary. Sales of his weekly periodical, Household Words, were low, and he hoped the inclusion of this novel in instalments would increase sales. Since publication it has received a mixed response from a diverse range of critics, such as F.R. Leavis, George Bernard Shaw, and Thomas Macaulay, mainly focusing on Dickens' treatment of trade unions and his post-Industrial Revolution pessimism regarding the divide between capitalistic mill owners and undervalued workers during the Victorian era.
- iPod Touch