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American Notes/The Cricket on the Hearth/A…
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American Notes/The Cricket on the Hearth/A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

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In "A Tale of Two Cities" we enter as the bicentenary of the French Revolution draws near, Dickens' historical novel serves as a timely reminder of nineteenth-century reactions to that great upheaval. Set between 1757 and 1793, A Tale of Two Cities views the causes and effects of the Revolution from an essentially private point of view, showing how private experience relates to public history. Dickens' characters are fictional, and their political activity is minimal, yet all are drawn towards the Paris of the Terror, and all become caught up in its web of human suffering and human sacrifice.

"The Cricket on the Hearth" is novella published in 1845 as a Christmas story. The chapters this book is divided into Chirps. The story revolves around a family with a cricket in the house. The cricket is their guardian angel. At one point the cricket warns the master that his wife may be having an affair. Even though this seems to be a tragic occurrence all is well in the end. Love prevails and a girl may regain her sight. This is a Christmas tale after all.

Charles Dickens set out for America in 1842 and his book "American Notes: For General Circulation" collects his musings. His frank and often-humorous descriptions cover everything from his comically wretched sea voyage to his sheer astonishment at the magnificence of the Niagara Falls, while he also visited hospitals, prisons and law courts and found them exemplary. But Dickens's opinion of America as a land ruled by money, partly built on slavery, with a corrupt press and unsavory manners, provoked a hostile reaction on both sides of the Atlantic. American Notes is an illuminating account of a great writer's revelatory encounter with the New World. ( )
  hermit | May 26, 2008 |
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