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SocialBook assignment

November 20, 2017


Use an online library resource to create a scholarly footnote for Hard Times. Your footnote will entail both annotation (comment upon) and historical research.

–  Email invitations to a SocialBook group will be sent before Thanksgiving. On Monday let me know if you have not yet received one.
– Browser recommendation: Safari or Chrome
– The English department has a dedicated TA to assist with media/technology issues. He holds regular lab hours in South Hall 2509.
– Deadline: end of Week 9
– Assessment: exemplary, proficient, developing

Sample library resources (use a proxy server if you are not on campus)
Oxford English Dictionary; Times (London) archive; Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO); C19 Index; Historical Newspapers Online
–> Other indexes and research databases available from the Davidson Library page:

  • Oxford English Dictionary option: gloss a word in Hard Times. See what meaning is operative in *a twenty-year period around the date of publication*. How does a change or difference in definition affect your reading? [Note: you must use the OED to account for the meaning of your chosen word in the mid 19th century.]
  • Everyday life: look up some aspect of the fictional world of the novel (again working with about a 20-year period). How does it illuminate your reading?
  • Object option: look up a material object to find out the meaning or significance of this object in Dickens’ moment. How does it function within the text?
  • Periodicals option: look up a review of Hard Times from around the date of publication. What aspects of the text were singled out for comment?
  • Manuscript option: research some aspect of the publication of Hard Times (e.g. serialization, advertisements in the magazine, Household Words). What do you learn about the audience or publication practices?


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