Charles Dickens was born on 7 February 1812. He is the author of such Classics as Oliver Twist,Nicholas Nickleby,The Old Curiosity Shop, A Christmas Carol and David Copperfield. In later works, such as Bleak House and Little Dorrit, Dickens's social criticism became more radical and his comedy more savage. His last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was never completed and he died on 9 June 1870.
Kate Flint is Professor of English at Rutgers University. Her published work includes The Victorians and The Visual Imagination.
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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 to become 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.