chapter  2
12 Pages

Narrative Perspectives

This chapter considers some long-standing objections to the novel before proceeding to identify what it take to be its most significant patterns of salience. It suggests more clearly when they are related to ongoing debates about the effects of liberalism, its elusive goods and strange virtues. The chapter examines Hard Times while bearing in mind recent reflections on the enduring features of liberalism, on its core tenets, principle concerns, and values. Current controversy continues to center on both the limitations and potential of this complex and multifaceted body of thought. The chapter argues that if in Hard Times Charles Dickens identifies certain distinctive strands of modern liberal theory and practice, then it is to gauge their impact on personal well-being broadly conceived. In this reading of the novel the range of Dickens's positives' is seen as far wider in scope, encompassing both life goods and a fundamental good, a constitutive good the good will.