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A Tale of Two Cities (Signet Classics) by…

A Tale of Two Cities (Signet Classics) (original 1859; edition 1997)

by Charles Dickens, Frederick Busch (Introduction)

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21,95627359 (3.93)4 / 809
Title:A Tale of Two Cities (Signet Classics)
Authors:Charles Dickens
Other authors:Frederick Busch (Introduction)
Info:Signet Classics (1997), Mass Market Paperback, 371 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859)

  1. 180
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (krizia_lazaro)
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    The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska, 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 261 (next | show all)
The story is a classic, the book is beautifully written, there are plenty of amusing and thought provoking passages and overall, it's a charming novel. The only downside is that some of the main characters - Lucy, Charles and Lucy - are extremely one dimensional, way too noble & nice, and entirely unrealistic. Fortunately, there are a number of more well rounded and imperfect characters in the story, such as Dr. Manette, the Defarges, Sydney Carton, and Jerry, and they really help keep things lively. ( )
  brikis98 | Nov 11, 2015 |
A Tale of Two Cities is an interesting, humorous and intelligent read. Dickens writing is humorous, complex, detailed, and thought through. Dickens develops complex literary devices through out the story. He makes the story unexpected by revealing a new symbol, secret, foil or plot twist that has been developing almost every chapter. You become attached to Dickens' characters. Dickens' development of characters is amazing. Dickens gives you a glimpse into every character's complex and mysterious life and leaves you wanting to know more. A Tale of Two Cities develops an overused historical reference into a interesting backdrop for a story. A Tale of Two Cities is one of the best books I have ever read because of Dickens' use of language, development of underlying symbols, plot twists and characters. ( )
  CaitlinHooks | Nov 6, 2015 |
It is the best of times for reissues of Dickens classics as this year points the 200th commemoration of his introduction to the world. With a standout amongst the most well known opening sentences ever, A Tale of Two Cities positions among the writer's finest, dissecting the contention in the middle of popularity based and distinguished standards amid the French upheaval.

A "seriously chilly fog" covers the area "like an abhorrent soul". Following 18 years as a political detainee, Doctor Manette is discharged and rejoined with his little girl, the bewildering Lucie, who enthralls the affections of two suitors, a distinguished Frenchman named Darnay and the English attorney Carton. This story of two urban communities (London and Paris) is additionally a story of three sweethearts, with a plot-bit of altruism motivated by Wilkie Collins' play The Frozen Deep, in which Dickens acted.
  Eduzaurus | Oct 29, 2015 |
It's easy to forget that A Tale of Two Cities is Charles Dickens' only historical novel (that is, set in a period that was historical to him). To us, all of his novels are historical, but for this story he had to reach back and do research to make the period come alive. And come alive it does, in all its bloody, fiery glory. This is one of his shorter works but its characters and events are unforgettable. From the loyal Miss Pross and the sinister Madame DeFarge, the tragic ne'er-do-well Sydney Carton and the business-like but soft-hearted lawyer Jarvis Lorry, A Tale of Two Cities is peopled with personalities that stay with you long after the last page.

The plot is so well known I scarcely need to outline it. Set mainly during the French revolution, it's the story of a family indelibly touched by oppression and then haunted by its daughter, revenge. It's a story of a brilliant man who voluntarily chooses failure due to some innate defect of initiative and character—like one caught in a net who struggles only vainly and soon lapses back into its folds. It's a story of a nation fighting so violently to change itself that it does, but only into a mockery of the ideal it once espoused. A happy ending is snatched from the flames, but they burn up so much first.

Carton's sacrifice in trading his life for Darnay's is often compared to that of Jesus Christ, who took the place of condemned criminals so they could go free. There's an interesting reversal in Dickens' picture, however; Darnay, the condemned, is morally innocent of the crimes for which he is sentenced to die. He neither oppressed nor enslaved the French serfs, but only had the misfortune of descending from those who did. Carton, on the other hand, is not so virtuous. While entirely unconnected with the French aristocracy and its crimes, still his life, compared to Darnay's, seems almost a morally culpable waste. In a sense, it was he and not Darnay who was saved by that final, beautiful sacrifice.

Becoming a mother has sharpened the emotions I experience when reading novels or watching movies that depict suffering and loss within families. I think of my child being bereft of his father so cruelly like little Lucy almost was, for no good reason at all, and how hard widowhood and single motherhood would be (sadly, an all too common reality for many). Creation groans. And while the Darnays do escape and Carton does give meaning to his entire life through a courageous death, it is such a dreadful road to get there.

I love how Dickens can show us the hearts and minds of both the maddened peasants who have experienced and therefore commit unthinkable atrocities, and the pleasure-loving aristocracy who suddenly find themselves reaping the bloody harvest they have sown. Dickens is able to enter into the suffering of both sides and while his deepest sympathies are with the oppressed serfs, still he has a tear for those among the aristocracy who are so brutally handled by their former slaves. In between are so many people, caught up in the bloodshed without really having had any stake in it, like the seamstress executed just before Carton, or the simple mender of roads who accidentally becomes a revolutionary. Saddest of all is the children on both sides who suffer for things they had nothing to do with: both the children of the peasants and those of the aristocracy. It's a bit like original sin; you're born to it and all your choices spring from that circumstance.

Simply put, don't miss A Tale of Two Cities. It's grippingly good. ( )
1 vote wisewoman | Oct 25, 2015 |
I know that Dickens is an acquired taste and for many of you reading this your interest in any of his novels is minimal at best. But I hope you'll hear me out as I gush about my favorite Dickens novel, A Tale of Two Cities. Yes, it's his most famous work. That is for a very good reason. It's absolutely phenomenal. The story is told before and during the French Revolution and focuses on a key group of characters who one instantly feels are real. Your heart aches for Dr. Manette, you stand a little straighter with Darnay, and you are filled with hope for the future by Carton. A story of loss, love, and liberty; A Tale of Two Cities can't be beat. ( )
  AliceaP | Oct 9, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (73 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arbonès, JordiTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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
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
Sanders, AndrewEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schirner, BuckNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shuckburgh, Sir JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, Theun deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, A.N.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winterich, John T.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodcock, GeorgeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
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.
Haiku summary
Two men look alike.
They love the same good woman.
They’re all in danger.

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:50 -0400)

(see all 9 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)

(summary from another edition)

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

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439602, 0141031743, 0141325542, 0141196904, 0141199709

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