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A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
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A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

by Charles Dickens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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  1. 160
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (krizia_lazaro)
  2. 100
    The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (MarcusBrutus)
  3. 40
    Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini (morryb)
    morryb: The French Revolutionary Mob becomes a character in each novel.
  4. 41
    The French Revolution: A History by Thomas Carlyle (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: A main source of inspiration for Dickens in writing A Tale of Two Cities.
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Showing 1-5 of 240 (next | show all)
Amazing book! It gets better every time I read it! ( )
  darcy36 | Jul 8, 2014 |
http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/3207912/

I own a copy and bookcrossed a copy.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
A unique prospective on the French Revolution as seen through the lives of several characters who are affected by it. Classic Dickens. ( )
  Tina_Ervin | Jun 21, 2014 |
One of Dickens' greatest works! Read this for the first time in high school as required reading. As much as I hated the idea of being forced to read it, it is one of the best assignments that I was ever required to do. The storyline is fantastic. The characters are memorable. And the ending is awe-inspiring. Must-have classic. ( )
  mgeorge2755 | May 14, 2014 |
Sometimes you read a book at just the right time, and now was just the right time for me to read A Tale of Two Cities. I'd never read it before and knew nothing of the story, going in, so it was a terrific adventure.

There were three types of thing I was enjoying and paying attention to as I read. The first was just the rollicking good plot, and how Dickens carried it off--what pieces of information he planted when, in order to bring them up later, how some scenes in the beginning foreshadowed other scenes later on, how he interwove fast action with scene setting and so on. Some developments--namely, the climactic role to be played by Sydney Carton--I could see coming a mile off, but I didn't mind that fact. Other plot twists took me completely by surprise, such that I actually screamed aloud. Good story, Mr. Dickens!

The second was the picture of a totalitarian state in the grip of an ideology. It could have been Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, but it wasn't; it was more than a century earlier than either. But you see the same focus on ideological purity, the same requirement that everything be sacrificeable to the ideology. When Doctor Manette, the beloved of the revolutionaries, protests his son-in-law's rearrest, he's told,
If the Republic demands sacrifices from you, without doubt you as a good patriot will be happy to make them. The Republic goes before all. The People is supreme.
(Not to imply that Dickens is saying that the population was wrong to revolt; on the contrary, he makes it quite clear that the revolution was justified: he paints the crimes of the aristocrats and the suffering of the population quite graphically. It's just where the engine of revolution goes once it's started rolling that he's appalled by.)

The third thing is Madame Defarge. She has about 80 percent of the excellent, quotable lines of dialogue in the book, and the rest belong almost entirely to Sydney Carton. Her implacability, her will to destroy--it's breathtaking. She's pretty much a force of nature, like the things she draws on for her metaphors of retribution and revenge--lightning, earthquakes, wind and fire. Only when it becomes clear that she wants to destroy Charles Darnay's family down to his little daughter does she descend to true villain, and even then, her self-justifying speech isn't without persuasiveness:
, I was brought up among the fishermen of the sea-shore, and that peasant family so injured by the two Evremonde brothers, as that Bastille paper describes, is my family. Defarge, that sister of the mortally wounded boy upon the ground was my sister, that husband was my sister’s husband, that unborn child was their child, that brother was my brother, that father was my father, those dead are my dead, and that summons to answer for those things descends to me!
Her family died unjustly; why, then, should not the family of those responsible for their deaths pay the price?


Why not indeed. There's the argument that revenge is a hunger that cannot be satisfied: the more deaths you feed it, the hungrier it becomes. But that's not the argument Dickens makes. His is more about human kindness. The revenge that Madame Defarge wants is her personal ideology, to which all must be sacrified (even her husband--nothing is more important than the idea of revenge. Dickens simultaneously shows the magnificence of someone who's given their life to an idea . . . and also the horror. The particularistic claims of human affection have no sway over her--her humanity itself is sacrificed to the idea in her head, her drive for revenge, and that's what Dickens finds fascinatingly horrible.
...And I have more to say, maybe, but it's late and I'm falling asleep as I type. More later! (Maybe) ( )
1 vote FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (76 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ben Sussan, ReneIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browne, Hablot KnightIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Busch, FrederickIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Busoni, RafaelloIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haaren, Hans vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jarvis, MartinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keeping, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koch, StephenAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lesser, AntonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindo, Mark PragerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maxwell, RichardContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maxwell, RichardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nord, JulieEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
PhizIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitt, David G.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanders, AndrewEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schirner, BuckNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shuckburgh, Sir JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, Theun deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, Theun deIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, A.N.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winterich, John T.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodcock, GeorgeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
This tale is inscribed to the Lord John Russell in remembrance of many public services and private kindnesses
First words
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Quotations
It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the main work for A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Please do not combine with any adaptation, abridgement, etc.
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Book description
Relates the adventures of a young Englishman who gives his life during the French Revolution to save the husband of the woman he loves.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141439602, Paperback)

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil lanes of London, they are all drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:07 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the aging Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine. This edition uses the text as it appeared in its first serial publication in 1859 to convey the full scope of Dickens's vision, and includes the original illustrations by H.K. Browne ('Phiz'). Richard Maxwell's introduction discusses the intricate interweaving of epic drama with personal tragedy.… (more)

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Audible.com

42 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Five editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439602, 0141031743, 0141325542, 0141196904, 0141199709

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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Urban Romantics

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