Gradgrind

Harry Furniss

1910

13.8 x 7.6 cm framed

Dickens's Hard Times, Part Two, Vol. 5 of Charles Dickens Library Edition, facing title-page.

In the 1910 Charles Dickens Library Edition, Harry Furniss offers just a single character study — a grosteque caricature, in fact — of philanthropist Thomas Gradgrind in Hard Times for These Timnes, which initially appeared without any illustration in 1854 in Dickens's weekly journal Household Words. Furniss has apparently based the illustration on the reader's initial impressions of the mathematical, "hard-edged" Benthamite philosopher of the schoolroom scene that opens the novel, rather than on the later Gradgrind, much softened by subsequent experiences, including the breakdown of his daughter's marriage and his son's embezzling from the bank. [Commentary continued below.]

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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.

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