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Hard Times [Anglais] [Broché]

Charles Dickens , Paul Schlicke
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

CHAPTER I
The One Thing Needful

“Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, Sir!”

The scene was a plain, bare, monotonous vault of a schoolroom, and the speaker’s square forefinger emphasized his observations by underscoring every sentence with a line on the schoolmaster’s sleeve. The emphasis was helped by the speaker’s square wall of a forehead, which had his eyebrows for its base, while his eyes found commodious cellerage in two dark caves, overshadowed by the wall. The emphasis was helped by the speaker’s mouth, which was wide, thin, and hard set. The emphasis was helped by the speaker’s voice, which was inflexible, dry, and dictatorial. The emphasis was helped by the speaker’s hair, which bristled on the skirts of his bald head, a plantation of firs to keep the wind from its shining surface, all covered with knobs, like the crust of a plum pie, as if the head had scarcely warehouse-room for the hard facts stored inside. The speaker’s obstinate carriage, square coat, square legs, square shoulders,—nay, his very neckcloth, trained to take him by the throat with an unaccommodating grasp, like a stubborn fact, as it was,—all helped the emphasis.

“In this life, we want nothing but Facts, Sir; nothing but Facts!”

The speaker, and the schoolmaster, and the third grown person present, all backed a little, and swept with their eyes the inclined plane of little vessels then and there arranged in order, ready to have imperial gallons of facts poured into them until they were full to the brim.

CHAPTER II
Murdering the Innocents

Thomas Gradgrind, Sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be talked into allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradgrind, Sir—peremptorily Thomas—Thomas Gradgrind. With a rule and a pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, Sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple arithmetic. You might hope to get some other nonsensical belief into the head of George Gradgrind, or Augustus Gradgrind, or John Gradgrind, or Joseph Gradgrind (all supposititious, non-existent persons), but into the head of Thomas Gradgrind—no, Sir!

In such terms Mr. Gradgrind always mentally introduced himself, whether to his private circle of acquaintance, or to the public in general. In such terms, no doubt, substituting the words “boys and girls,” for “Sir,” Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts.

Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of childhood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away.

“Girl number twenty,” said Mr. Gradgrind, squarely pointing with his square forefinger, “I don’t know that girl. Who is that girl?”

“Sissy Jupe, sir,” explained number twenty, blushing, standing up, and curtseying.

“Sissy is not a name,” said Mr. Gradgrind. “Don’t call yourself Sissy. Call yourself Cecilia.”

“It’s father as calls me Sissy, sir,” returned the young girl in a trembling voice, and with another curtsey.

“Then he has no business to do it,” said Mr. Gradgrind. “Tell him he mustn’t. Cecilia Jupe. Let me see. What is your father?”

“He belongs to the horse-riding, if you please, sir.”

Mr. Gradgrind frowned, and waved off the objectionable calling with his hand.

“We don’t want to know anything about that, here. You mustn’t tell us about that, here. Your father breaks horses, don’t he?”

“If you please, sir, when they can get any to break, they do break horses in the ring, sir.”

“You mustn’t tell us about the ring, here. Very well, then. Describe your father as a horsebreaker. He doctors sick horses, I dare say?”

“Oh yes, sir.”

“Very well, then. He is a veterinary surgeon, a farrier and horsebreaker. Give me your definition of a horse.”

(Sissy Jupe thrown into the greatest alarm by this demand.)

“Girl number twenty unable to define a horse!” said Mr. Gradgrind, for the general behoof of all the little pitchers. “Girl number twenty possessed of no facts, in reference to one of the commonest of animals! Some boy’s definition of a horse. Bitzer, yours.”

The square finger, moving here and there, lighted suddenly on Bitzer, perhaps because he chanced to sit in the same ray of sunlight which, darting in at one of the bare windows of the intensely whitewashed room, irradiated Sissy. For, the boys and girls sat on the face of the inclined plane in two compact bodies, divided up the centre by a narrow interval; and Sissy, being at the corner of a row on the sunny side, came in for the beginning of a sunbeam, of which Bitzer, being at the corner of a row on the other side, a few rows in advance, caught the end. But, whereas the girl was so dark-eyed and dark-haired, that she seemed to receive a deeper and more lustrous colour from the sun, when it shone upon her, the boy was so light-eyed and light-haired that the self-same rays appeared to draw out of him what little colour he ever possessed. His cold eyes would hardly have been eyes, but for the short ends of lashes which, by bringing them into immediate contrast with something paler than themselves, expressed their form. His short-cropped hair might have been a mere continuation of the sandy freckles on his forehead and face. His skin was so unwholesomely deficient in the natural tinge, that he looked as though, if he were cut, he would bleed white.

“Bitzer,” said Thomas Gradgrind. “Your definition of a horse.”

“Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy countries, sheds hoofs, too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in mouth.” Thus (and much more) Bitzer.

“Now girl number twenty,” said Mr. Gradgrind. “You know what a horse is.”

She curtseyed again, and would have blushed deeper, if she could have blushed deeper than she had blushed all this time. Bitzer, after rapidly blinking at Thomas Gradgrind with both eyes at once, and so catching the light upon his quivering ends of lashes that they looked like the antennæ of busy insects, put his knuckles to his freckled forehead, and sat down again.

The third gentleman now stepped forth. A mighty man at cutting and drying, he was; a government officer; in his way (and in most other people’s too), a professed pugilist; always in training, always with a system to force down the general throat like a bolus, always to be heard of at the bar of his little Public-office, ready to fight all England. To continue in fistic phraseology, he had a genius for coming up to the scratch,2 wherever and whatever it was, and proving himself an ugly customer. He would go in and damage any subject whatever with his right, follow up with his left, stop, exchange, counter, bore his opponent (he always fought All England)3 to the ropes, and fall upon him neatly. He was certain to knock the wind out of common sense, and render that unlucky adversary deaf to the call of time. And he had it in charge from high authority to bring about the great public- office Millennium, when Commissioners should reign upon earth.

“Very well,” said this gentleman, briskly smiling, and folding his arms. “That’s a horse. Now, let me ask you girls and boys, Would you paper a room with representations of horses?”

After a pause, one half of the children cried in chorus, “Yes, Sir!” Upon which the other half, seeing in the gentleman’s face that Yes was wrong, cried out in chorus, “No, Sir!”—as the custom is, in these examinations.

“Of course, No. Why wouldn’t you?”

A pause. One corpulent slow boy, with a wheezy manner of breathing, ventured the answer, Because he wouldn’t paper a room at all, but would paint it.

“You must paper it,” said the gentleman, rather warmly.

“You must paper it,” said Thomas Gradgrind, “whether you like it or not. Don’t tell us you wouldn’t paper it. What do you mean, boy?”


From the Trade Paperback edition. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .

Revue de presse

"A masterpiece...a completely serious work of art" (F.R.Leavis)

"The greatest of Dickens' work...should be studied with close and earnest care" (John Ruskin)

"Big and earnest, though circus folk and bank robbery add colour to its canvas of industrialists and loveless marriages" (Sunday Times) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 352 pages
  • Editeur : Oxford Paperbacks (8 mai 2008)
  • Collection : Oxford World's Classics
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0199536279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199536276
  • Dimensions du produit: 19 x 12,7 x 1,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 639 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
  • Table des matières complète
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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4.0 étoiles sur 5
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Social 21 mars 2012
Par C. Bosch
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Dickens se penche sur la condition des travailleurs dans les usines. Certains personnages sont puissants, et certaines scènes fortes de symboles. On retrouve l'habileté de Dickens à reproduire les accents , la langue parlée (à lire à voix haute pour mieux saisir les nuances) . Etrangement, ce n'est qu'après avoir fermé le livre que je m'en suis régalée ! La lecture me paraissait inégale, mais en fait c'est ,comme souvent chez cet auteur, habilement construit et merveilleusement décrit.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 tres satisfaite 18 novembre 2011
Par elodie
Format:Broché
J'ai recu le livre dans un delai tres correct et en bon etat a part un des angles du livre qui a ete abime car l'emballage n'était pas "en dur" mais cela reste tres correct. Je suis satisfaite de cet achat.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 super 16 septembre 2011
Par barbary
Format:Broché
livre livré rapidement, bien emballé, conforme à la commande, très bon état, je n'hésiterai pas à passer d'autres commande de livre.
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 Hard times 4 juin 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Interesting concept and story, however it is extremely descriptive and slow rendering tough to finish. The book was an assignment in my case.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  158 commentaires
62 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 More Than Facts 31 mars 2003
Par Oddsfish - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
I initially lamented the fact that Hard Times was assigned to me in my British lit. class. I had read some of Dickens's melodramas like A Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist and enjoyed them, but everything I heard about Hard Times said this was nothing like those. This was supposedly just strictly social commentary. My interpretation of that: BORING.
But then I read it.
Hard Times isn't like Dickens's other novels, but I don't think that it has any less heart than those masterpieces. In fact, Dickens endured himself much further to me with this novel as he has his characters perform Thomas Carlyle's enduring philosophy.
The novel follows the Gradgrind family who is raised adhering to FACTS and living in a society which worships the manufacturing machine. As the novel progresses, connections are made and broken, and the characters come to the realization that there is much more to reality than the material facts.
Hard Times is told so compassionately. The reader cares for these people and their tragic lives. The story is also told with biting humor that still cuts at today's society (this novel feels really modern), and the underlying philosophy is one which is so needed in our post-modern world. I would certainly recommend this novel to fans of Dickens and to fans of the truly literary novel.
59 internautes sur 65 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Hardly a masterpiece, but brilliant at times 21 février 2004
Par Peter Reeve - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
"Hard Times" belongs to the second half of Dickens's writing career, in which his work becomes rather more somber and, by common critical assent, more mature and satisfying. Personally, I prefer his earlier work and his very first novel, "Pickwick Papers", is to my mind his greatest. Surprisingly, "Hard Times", despite its title and reputation, contains some brilliant flashes of Dickens humour, especially in the earlier part. The descriptions of Bounderby and Gradgrind, and the early dialogue with the circus folk, are genuinely hilarious.

This is Dickens's shortest novel, about a third of the length of each of his previous four. Themes, subplots and characters are introduced without being fully explored. The author was perhaps feeling the constraints of writing in installments for a periodical, although he was well used to doing that. This relative brevity, together with the youth of some of the central characters, make this book a good introduction to Dickens for young readers.

There are the large dollops of Victorian melodrama and the reliance on unlikely coincidences that mar much of Dickens's work. Also the usual tendency for characters to become caricatures and to have names that are a little too apt (a teacher called Mr. McChoakumchild?).

The respected critic F.R. Leavis considered "Hard Times" to be Dickens's masterpiece and "only serious work of art". This seems to me wildly wrong, but such an extreme opinion may prompt you to read the book, just so that you can form your own opinion.

I read it because I had just finished "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair, which deals with the plight of Chicago factory workers, and I wanted to compare the two. Sinclair's book has greater immediacy. It takes you much closer to the suffering of the workers. In the Dickens novel, the mill workers and their plight are distanced; they are relegated to being the background to a family drama, which is what really interests the author. A third, and still greater work, that examines the same themes, is Zola's "Germinal". I recommend all three. Together, they give real insight into the social conditions that led to the proletarian political and revolutionary movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
26 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 CERTAINLY ONE OF MY FAVORITES. There have been so many readings, this one is like an old friend. 7 février 2010
Par D. Blankenship - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
Arguably, Dickens could be classified as the greatest of all English speaking novelists...of all times. There are very few writers that can offer his consistency, novel after novel, story after story. Yes, many have written works that perhaps equal any of his given works, but few if any have been able to turn out such a volume of pure quality. Very, very few authors have had such a large portion of their work pass the test of time. Dickens gains new readers year in and year out and there is a reason for this!

Over the past 50 or so years I have heard this particular work referred to as "not Dickens' best," and "A minor work by Dickens," and other comments along those lines. I am really not in a position, nor do I have the ability to proclaim or rank this author's work one way or the other. Dickens for me is like any other author...I either like it or I do not like it; it either is a joy to read or it is not. Now I have read this short novel at least five times over the years and listen to several versions on CD and Tape. The best, minor Dickens' work, timeless classic, not pertinent in today's world, a mere political rant? Well I don't know. I do know that it is one of my favorites and do look forwarded to reading it again down the road. I am one of those horrid and probably misguided individuals who sort of make their own mind up about anything I read, and more or less ignore the pontifications of those that are suppose to know about such things. All that being said though, I cannot look you in the eye and state that I have ever read one story; one word by this author that I did not enjoy right down to the tip of my toes. He delights me.

The setting of course is in Victorian England and the Industrial Revolution is in full tilt. Make no mistake; Dickens makes no pretenses of not being of the extreme left ilk...a good little Socialist through and through. This work, like many others make his feeling well known. Like much of his work, there is no in-between here. The characters portrayed here are either very, very evil or they are very, very good. The author handles social situations in much the same way he handles his characters in this work. All are exaggerated to a certain extent, all are black and white and there is little middle ground to be found. The Capitalists are truly pigs and the working classes, the proletariat, are all Saint like creatures. For what the author is attempting here, this is quite appropriate.

Now let it be know right here that I have spent a lifetime trying my best of completely ignore the effete yammering from the left and the bellicose braying from the right in all matters. I am one of those creatures who simply do not care and more or less chose my own road. I read this story and others like it, for the sheer joy of soaking in the written words of a maters story teller. While the political and social message here is not lost on me, I simply choose to ignore it. That is just me though and it certainly makes me feel nothing less of those that take the political message and run with, or reject it... more power to them.

As with all of his other work, Dickens has created some unforgettable, if exaggerated characters in this work; my favorite Gradgrind (who, I must admit, sort of reminding me of my own father), his children Tom and Louisa, the young girl Grangrind has taken to raise, Sissy Jupe and of course the completely obnoxious cad Bounderby. Even the location; the city of Coketown is more like a character than a place displaying many of the characteristics of a human, rather than that of a town or village. Dickens is able to describe these people and places in such a way that they become close friends...even the evil ones, soon after they are introduced....well, maybe not friends, but certainly people you know and will want to revisit from time to time at the very least.

The term "hard times," while a good title for this work is a bit misleading in a way, as there is plenty of humor injected throughout the book. Seldom does a chapter pass that I find myself not chuckling over the bits of ironic humor and scathing satire the author inserts here and there. The opening tirade of Bounderby is an absolute hoot even to this day, as it certainly was at the time it was written.

And the plot! While it is simple at first glance in this work, there is never-the -less many little side plots going constantly, with personalities created an thrown in here and there to add flavor and spice to the overall story. The author skillfully blends these side paths he takes us upon and before the end of the story, brings us back to the main road. I like this! In many ways simple; in many ways so complex. I suppose the reader will find what they want.

As with all of Dickens' work, the reader must at all times keep in mind when, where and why it was written. Time and place are quite important in the understanding of this particular author and to not consider these things, much will be lost to the modern mind.

Highly recommend this one and I hope it brings others the same reading joy it has brought to be over the years.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
17 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Memorable Characters From Dickens 3 mai 2008
Par Chad Radford - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
"Hard Times" is a minor Charles Dickens classic. Like all Charles Dickens' novels it features some great, memorable characters. The setting of the industrial city of Coketown is vividly described as a miserable, polluted town. There are some strong themes of class struggles between the working men in the factories and the harsh upper classes who seek to exploit them. Nearly all of the upper class characters are depicted in a negative light while the real heroes of the story are from the working class. As always, Dickens finds an entertaining way to shine a bright light on the social problems of Victorian-era England. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it. However, if you are choosing your first introduction to Charles Dickens, then you should pick one of his better-known novels.
19 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Decent, But... Keep This Away From the Kids 24 octobre 2005
Par DonAthos - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
This is Charles Dickens.

Charles. Frikken. Dickens.

There's no way that any self-respecting booklover, as I style myself to be, can take a Charles Dicken's novel and tell you that it's <shudder> boring, or even not all that great. Unless the book lover in question happens to be a particularly honest one who doesn't mind the Dicken's squad clicking "unhelpful" over and over again...

Let's proceed.

Hard Times begins promisingly, as it slams the education system about as hard as I've ever seen (and almost as hard as it deserves), as teachers Gradgrind and Choakumchild (yeah, I know) try to throttle the imaginations of their charges and fill them instead with sand-dry "Facts." But then, Hard Times loses the trail of its narrative, following one of the school kids for a while, then another couple of kids, then another character, then another.... It skips around so often for so long, introducing one character or another (and pausing for social commentary) that it seems as though it might never develop a plot.

Near the end, it does take on a plot utilizing all of its developed characters, and the energy of the novel picks up considerably, but less-hearty readers will likely have given up long before then. One of the current "Spotlight Reviews" for this novel currently states: "[The] relative brevity, together with the youth of some of the central characters, make this book a good introduction to Dickens for young readers." No, no, no. A million times no! It's not that the novel is awful--it's decent, despite the dismal pacing of the first three quarters, and some of the comedy is gold (Josiah Bounderby of Coketown is precious!)--but this is *not* a good novel for children, most of whom won't have had enough experience with real-life Bounderbys or perspective on formal education to fully enjoy the satire. This is not the novel to use as an introduction to Dickens for just about anyone, let alone a young reader.

Unless, of course, you have sympathy with M. Choakumchild's pedagogical philosophy.

In the hands of a child, this novel will likely stifle any appreciation for classic literature, Charles Dickens, and perhaps reading, itself, that might otherwise develop. Start with A Christmas Carol--it has ghosts--and then move on to A Tale of Two Cities--all around better book (and it has decapitations!). Hard Times is for mature, well-read individuals who want to see "what else Charles Dickens wrote."

A decent novel with some genuinely great moments, but on the whole fairly dry. As with medication, a blessing and a boon to mankind, it's best to keep this out of the reach of young children.
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