Exploring Charles Dickens’ “Hard Times For These Times”
Sold by Britannic Auctions for $2,200, this remarkable copy of Charles Dickens’ “Hard Times For These Times” still remains entirely unopened.
Published in 1854 by Bradbury & Evans in London, this edition of “Hard Times For These Times” is a testament to Charles Dickens’ enduring influence on literature.
The immaculate condition of the binding, with only a small bump to the right top corner, sets this copy apart as a rare find. Notably, it remains entirely unopened, preserving its pristine state over the years.
A distinguishing feature of this copy is its secondary binding, as indicated by Smith, with the Chapman & Hall imprint to the spine. This variant adds an desirable dimension to the book’s provenance and historical context, shedding light on the publishing practices of the time.
Provenance Through Bookplates
The bookplate for Barton Currie further enhances the significance of this copy. Barton Wood Currie (1877 – 1962), a prominent figure in the literary world, was not only a book collector but also an accomplished author and journalist.
As the editor of The Country Gentleman, Ladies Home Journal, and World’s Work, Currie wielded significant influence in shaping public opinion and literary tastes in the early twentieth century. His acquisition of an important collection of Joseph Conrad’s works during the author’s period of disfavor in the 1920s underscores his keen eye for literary treasures.
Charles Dickens’ “Hard Times”
“Hard Times” explores the societal impacts of industrialization in 19th-century England.
Set in the fictional Coketown, it delves into themes of class struggle, utilitarianism, and the dehumanizing effects of the factory system. The novel follows characters like Gradgrind and Bounderby as they navigate the harsh realities of life during the Industrial Revolution.
Dickens wrote the novel in his home, Gad’s Hill Place. Upon its publication in 1854, “Hard Times” received mixed reviews, but is today celebrated for its criticism of industrialism.
For collectors of Charles Dickens’ works or enthusiasts of Victorian literature, this copy of “Hard Times For These Times” holds immense value. Its pristine condition, variant binding, and association with Barton Currie make it a prized addition to any collection of rare books or literary memorabilia.