Schwanebeck, Wieland (2019):
"A Self-Made Man: Hard Times and the Dickensian Impostor." Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik 67.4: 359-374.
Journal Article

This essay examines the impostor trope within the works of Charles Dickens, focusing on the example of Josiah Bounderby, the villain of Hard Times (1854), in particular. As a product of the Victorian age’s obsession with character-building and the spirit of industriousness as epitomised in the work of Samuel Smiles, Bounderby not only embodies much of what Dickens found objectionable about utilitarian thought but also a number of tropes that were and remain crucial to the cultural imaginary of the United States (even though Hard Times only briefly alludes to America). As a charismatic rogue who tinkers with his own biography, Bounderby foreshadows the coming of the impostor in turn-of-the-century European literature, an aspect of Hard Times that has so far been overlooked in critical accounts of the novel.