The Companion to Hard Times
Margaret Simpson received her PhD from the Queen's University of Belfast, where she has been an occasional tutor in the School of English. She has published articles and reviews on Dickens and on aspects of Victorian social history. This is her first book.
List of Illustrations General Preface by the Editors Acknowledgements Abbreviations for Dickens's Works and Related Material Bibliographical Symbols and Abbreviations Introduction A Note on the Text How to Use the Notes The Notes Appendix A: Glossary of Lancashire Dialect Words Used in "Hard Times" Appendix B: Glossary of Slang Terms Used in "Hard Times" Appendex C: Table of Factory Accidents, 1852-4 Appendix D: Table of the "Household Words" Articles Relevant to Topics in "Hard Times" Appendix E: Ballads of the Preston Strike, 1853-4 Select Bibliography Index
As I've indicated, everything necessary for the student of Hard Times is here in abundance: explanations of allusions, details of relevant political, social and cultural issues, and bibliographical material. All readers of Dickens's comparatively short but taut, intense novel will find this Companion an indispensable fund of information.
Donald Hawes Analytical & Enumerative Bibliography
Sixième volume d’une série de “companions” éditée par Susan Shatto et David Paroissien, l’œuvre de Margaret Simpson est, à l’image des ouvrages précédents, un outil de travail précieux pour les chercheurs aussi bien que pour les étudiants …Elle offre au lecteur une connaissance très étendue de l’époque victorienne incluant des sujets tels que le droit, l’éducation, la médicine, l’industrie et ses techniques de fabrication, le système économique et politique (l’utilitarisme par exemple) aussi bien que des sujets plus marginaux tels la vie des animateurs de cirque et le traitement des états dépressifs chez les femmes de la bourgeoisie. Les explications des références bibliques sont approfondies et examinent l’utilisation qui en est faire par Dickens et ses contemporains. … En outre, l’index est détaillé et pratique, la “select bibliography” de bonne qualité, et les illustrations éclairantes et bien analysées.
Sara Thornton Études anglaises, T.52: 1
Margaret Simpson’s book is a cornucopia of interest and delight, the result of a great deal of resourceful and imaginative research. … This volume, however, is more than just a miscellaneous commentary. Through many of the entries runs the argument that Hard Times needs to be placed, for its richest explication, in the context of Household Words. The proposition is not new, but Simpson’s presentation of it is the fullest yet. … what this … reveals is the imaginative and sympathetic thoughtfulness which informs this Companion and makes it so attractive. It is a book full of facts, but they are deployed in no Gradgrindian spirit.
Stephen Gill The Review of English Studies, n.s. 50: 199
... This is a book in its own right, a fragmentary social and cultural history oriented around a single fictional text. It makes for fascinating reading, maybe even for those who have little or no knowledge of the novel itself ...
Malcolm Andrews Dickensian
... 'Hard Times' ... has never been explained so clearly, justified so fully, and on the basis of oriignal research expalined so well as in the account given by this present, ever helpful, alert and attentive companion. It is encyclopaedic; not everything in it is vital to every reading; but it is difficult to envisage a reading that would not gain from much that it tells us ...
K. J. Fielding Dickens Quarterly
Margaret Simpson’s admirably thorough Companion can stand as a valuable supplement to paperback and scholarly editions, not least because a reader can keep it open next to the novel itself. Not even the longest on-page footnote could comfortably provide as much background on nineteenth-century labour relations as Simpson’s annotations, some of which are almost essays in themselves. Even more useful are the links made between the serialized sections of the novel and contemporary articles on similar topics in Household Words. But the incidental delights are also worthy of notice … this book is comprehensive without being coercive; it should prompt gratitude—and not just from research students engaged in one-upmanship.
The Times Literary Supplement
Size: 239 x 163 mm
Publication: October 1, 1997
Series: Dickens Companions 6