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Download Hard Times Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Hard Times Audiobook, by Charles Dickens
3.39 out of 53.39 out of 53.39 out of 53.39 out of 53.39 out of 5 3.39 (23 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charles Dickens Narrator: Michael Pennington Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2012 ISBN:
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Penguin Classics presents the abridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Charles Dickens' a stark exposure of capitalist exploitation during the Industrial Revolution, as read by Michael Pennington. Coketown is dominated by the figure of Mr Thomas Gradgrind, school headmaster and model of utilitarian success. Feeding both his pupils and family with facts, he bans fancy and wonder from any young minds.

As a consequence his obedient daughter Louisa marries the loveless businessman and bully of humanity Mr Bounderby, and his son Tom rebels by becoming embroiled in gambling and robbery. And, as their fortunes cross with those of free-spirited circus girl Sissy Jupe and victimized weaver Stephen Blackpool, Gradgrind is eventually forced to recognize the value of the human heart in an age of materialism and machinery.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 2/20/2014

    " I decided to read this shortly after a conversation with a colleague about the book, Poetic Justice, by Martha Nussbaum. Nussbaum focuses on the book's overt agenda of contrasting statistical calculation and the rationality of political economy with the tragedies and triumphs of human suffering and human love. The book is highly effective at this level. Both in his style and in his storytelling, Dickens masterfully tells a compelling story. It is also a complex novel, given the tension between love and reason. I really like this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Ryburn | 2/17/2014

    " not my favorite dickens but necessarily great literature- this is dickens after all. the imagery of one of his characters falling, repeatedly, as if down a large staircase, in her descent to destruction. masterful. again, this is dickens. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kallu Frank | 2/13/2014

    " excellent explain as young boy "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Muffy Kroha | 2/7/2014

    " Brutal- BRUTAL!!!! Oh the pain- This is Dickens at his blackest- You'll never guess why they call it hard times! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 dead letter office | 1/30/2014

    " dickens at his stupidest. an educator named gradgrind bores his students to misery while teaching them nothing of use. a bit ironic that this book is now taught in high school classes everywhere. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shaun Baker | 1/24/2014

    " I enjoyed this quite a bit for the first half to two-thirds. I had never read anything by Dickens before, a sure sin as a Literature major to have not read him by this point, and so I was very excited to get into it. The beginnings was so simple and absurd that it was fun in the same way that a children's novel is, especially with such over the top characters as Mr. Bounderby and Mr. Gradgrind (whom I imagined as Rex Harrison from My Fair Lady and Sam Eagle from the Muppets, respectively). Though the shifting focuses throughout the novel were tell-tale signs of its original serial publication, it was still filled with very interesting characters, in what I've come to learn is a very Dickensonian style of giving each character one or two repetitive and very distinguishing characteristics. It reminds me of something that Matt Groening said of his character design in The Simpsons and Futurama, in that each character should be recognizable by silhouette. It seems like Dickens' characters' personalities are very recognizable by silhouette, and that certainly is what makes them memorable. Whereas Adam Bede, my previous Victorian novel, took 600+ pages to create a layered series of recognized characters, Dickens takes a different approach and achieves the same result without being so exclusionist as George Eliot was in regards to her audience. Hard Times is good pulp-Victorian literature, and as far as I can tell, isn't a proper representative of a typical Dickens' novel. Even with a slightly disappointing ending, mostly because it didn't really feel like it ended at all, this book made me want to read more of Dickens, beyond the feeling that I am required to read more of Dickens. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Vanessa | 1/23/2014

    " I love Dickens but just found this novel a bit too didactic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tessa | 12/30/2013

    " This isn't one of Dickens's most popular books (it's probably one of his most negative--he was more of an optimistic writer), but I still really like it. It's basically the story of what happens when you leave no room for imagination in life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jaya | 12/29/2013

    " I love this, as I do most of Dickens'. I love to lose myself in the world as it was then. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jerome Baladad | 12/20/2013

    " i found this difficult to read; it's one of those required book readings back in high school. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clare | 12/1/2013

    " not that well known, but I really liked "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Delona | 12/1/2013

    " I love Charles Dickens but this book was quite depressing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Samuel Wilson | 11/29/2013

    " Utilitarianism and how it's screwing our generation! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeannille | 9/22/2013

    " An original piece of work, especially those who are interested in the Romantic/Victorian Era. It was hard to follow at first, but then the pieces came together and I fell in love with characters. Dickens is the man. Many valuable lessons from this one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 James | 8/14/2013

    " Hated it, read the first third, skipped to the end and read the final chapter. I really hate Dickens' prose. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Doris | 4/3/2013

    " I had already read quite a bit of Dickens by the time I read this. I think this was the first of Dickens' I read and realized all his characters fill a kind of cast in each of his stories. I like it despite that. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Isabel Johnstone | 3/2/2013

    " it was quite a hard book to read, especially the characters who spoke with an accent. i did enjoy it in the end though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dillon | 12/28/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book by Dickens more than many of his other books. It captured my attention quite well and was a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristi | 12/27/2012

    " I was ready to give this book only three stars, but the ending changed my mind. The ending is well written and so worth the slow beginning. Supposedly Dickens wrote this book purely for the money, but it does not show. I highly recommend this book when studying industrialism in 19th century England. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patricia | 10/14/2012

    " A classic must-read. The plot is prevalent with the time. It would probably help to know what was going on in that era to fully understand the motivations of several characters. Overall, a good read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emusam | 9/24/2012

    " Realized that I'm not a fan of Dickens. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie | 2/19/2012

    " At times almost as windy as Mr Bounderby himself, mostly very good "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Minoucha | 2/18/2012

    " it is a classic however for todays generation the style is quite heavy this is why I rated it okay ( the only reason ) "

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About the Author
Author Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812–1870) was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England, the second of eight children in a family continually plagued by debt. A legacy brought release from the nightmare of debtors’ prison and child labor and afforded him a few years of formal schooling. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his early writings brought him the amazing success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. He was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and he remains popular, responsible for some of English literature’s most iconic characters.

About the Narrator

Michael Pennington is a British director and actor who has played many leading parts for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, and his own English Shakespeare Company. He has appeared as Richard Strauss and Wilhelm Furtwangler in Ronald Harwood’s Collaboration and Taking Sides in the West End and performed two solo shows on Anton Chekhov and William Shakespeare. Although primarily a stage actor, Pennington has also appeared in film, most notably as Moff Jerjerrod in Return of the Jedi and as Michael Foot in The Iron Lady. He is also the author of Hamlet: A User’s Guide, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A User’s Guide, and Are You There, Crocodile? Inventing Anton Chekhov.