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A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

by Charles Dickens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
36,79145663 (3.93)5 / 1306
Relates the adventures of a young Englishman who gives his life during the French Revolution to save the husband of the woman he loves.
  1. 210
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (krizia_lazaro)
  2. 140
    The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (MarcusBrutus)
  3. 60
    Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini (morryb)
    morryb: The French Revolutionary Mob becomes a character in each novel.
  4. 71
    The French Revolution: A History by Thomas Carlyle (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: A main source of inspiration for Dickens in writing A Tale of Two Cities.
  5. 30
    Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (harrietbrown)
    harrietbrown: "A Tale of Two Cities" covers the period of the French Revolution, preceding Napoleon Bonaparte's rule of France and subsequent wars, including the war featured in "Vanity Fair." In order to understand how Napoleon came to power, and his domination of Europe, it is necessary to understand the French Revolution.… (more)
  6. 30
    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (harrietbrown)
    harrietbrown: It might be handy to have an understanding of the French Revolution prior to undertaking "War and Peace," because many of the events in Napoleon's wars follow from the French Revolution, which "A Tale of Two Cities" covers.
  7. 21
    The Glass Blowers by Daphne du Maurier (buchstabendompteurin)
AP Lit (89)

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English (430)  Spanish (12)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (452)
Showing 1-5 of 430 (next | show all)
An actual thriller. Loved it and cried. ( )
  tayswift1477 | May 15, 2024 |
I always think of this novel whenever I watch Casablanca. If you've seen it, you might notice a few similarities in their plots, with the striking part being the redeeming sacrifices in their endings, done on account of love. When Rick Blaine lets Isla Lund go off with Victor Laszlo, both proponents of a problematic love triangle, I see Sydney Carton being led to the guillotine to die instead of Charles Darnay, both of whom are in love with Lucy Manette. In both cases, you could easily argue that the former loves more than the latter, and that's why that one has to be the one to die for it, because it's the only way to save the girl. "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own", as Heinlein put it in Stranger in a Strange Land, but I would go so far as to say that love is putting another's happiness above your own, in effect, eradicating your own happiness if necessary. Would a parent do any less for her or his child? Sure, it's unfair, but love often happens that way. ( )
  TheBooksofWrath | Apr 18, 2024 |
Had sydney carton in my locker in high-school, perhaps the root of my being interested in men who drink too much?
One of my favorite dickens, and I like them all ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
Great beginning, great ending, too many words in the middle.

Brilliant characters though. That Mme. Defarge? *shivers* ( )
  cmbohn | Jan 27, 2024 |
'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, ...'. So begins Dickens' novel set in London and Paris at and around the time of the French Revolution. Dr. Alexandre Manette is released from his imprisonment in the Bastille and moves to London to get to know his daughter Lucie, whom he has never met. Manette has a hard time reintegrating into life outside of his prison cell, but finally manages because of the love of and to his daughter. Lucie has two suitors, Sidney Carton and Charles Darnay. The former is a London-based lawyer and the latter is a French aristocrat who comes to London under a different name to hide his relation to the French Marquis St. Evrémonde, who is not liked much in France. Both confess their love to Lucie and she ends up marrying and having a child with Darnay. Upon Darnay's return to France, the Terror is in full reign and he is arrested for emigrating to England and imprisoned immediately. The Manettes travel to France to help Darnay and get him out of prison. I will deliberately not go into further detail here so as not to spoil more of the plot than I have already done. Suffice it to say that as the plot progresses further relations between the characters are revealed and Dickens cleverly works with contrast, as the first sentence of the novel promises.

Approaching A Tale of Two Cities I only knew the famous first sentence and that it is one of the most famous novels ever written. I read the Penguin Classics version with notes in the back and when I first started I was quite taken aback at the amount of notes for only the first few pages. This made it somewhat hard to get into the novel, but once I was a few pages in I was actually gripped with what was happening. Overall, I found the notes quite helpful as they provide interesting background information about certain conventions at the time and historical background about the French Revolution. What I liked most about the novel is how the characters are developed and how the web of entanglement among them is created. My plot summary does not even mention the Defarges, Mr. Lorry and Jerry Cruncher, who are also quite important to the story. I enjoyed this aspect of personal stories and individual fates set against the backdrop of life during the times of the French Revolution very much. 4.5 stars. ( )
  OscarWilde87 | Jan 4, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 430 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (97 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dickens, Charlesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abernethy, Julian W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arbonès, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ben Sussan, ReneIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bordoy Luque, SalvadorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Busch, FrederickIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Busoni, RafaelloIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haaren, Hans vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hibbert, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jarvis, MartinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keeping, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koch, StephenAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lesser, AntonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindo, Mark PragerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maxwell, RichardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nord, JulieEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
PhizIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitt, David G.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rackham, ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanders, AndrewEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sève, Peter deCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schirner, BuckNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shuckburgh, Sir JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, Theun deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wagenknecht, EdwardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiggins, Evelina OakleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, A.N.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, MeganCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winterich, John T.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodcock, GeorgeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Sometimes an old photograph, and old friend, an old letter will remind you that you are not who you once were, for the person who dwelt among them, valued this, chose that, wrote thus, no longer exists. Without noticing it you have traversed a great distance; the strange has become familiar and familiar if not strange at least awkward or uncomfortable.
Rebecca Solnit
"The Blue of Distance"
A Field Guide to Getting Lost
This tale is inscribed to the Lord John Russell in remembrance of many public services and private kindnesses
For Jodi Reamer, slayer of beasts
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.
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.
This is a book work entry; not a video
ISBN 0140620788 is a Penguin edition of A Tale of Two Cities.
ISBN 0141439602 is a Penguin edition of A Tale of Two Cities.
ISBN 1421808196 is a 1st World Library edition of A Tale of Two Cities.
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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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Book description
Hardcover 7x4 1/2x3/4 397 pp. published by "The Modern Library" signed F.C. Simpson AXE-Beta, stamped ALPHA CHI SIGMA 613 Oak St. S. E. Minneapolis, Minn.
Haiku summary
Two men look alike.
They love the same good woman.
They’re all in danger.

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