The Industrial Town: Representations of a Changing Way of Life in George Eliotâ€™s The Mill on the Floss and Charles Dickensâ€™s Hard Times by Anna Rogers, San Diego State University
The mid-nineteenth century in England was a period of considerable social upheaval produced by widespread economic, political, and technological shifts. The decades following the Napoleonic wars brought repeated class conflicts and economic depressions as well as continual expansion of British imperial interests and increasing industrialization. The 1850s, in particular, were a period of intense social redefinition in England. The widespread introduction of steam power into manufacturing brought about what many have identified as the Second Industrial Revolution.