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A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

Book Overview: 

A Tale of Two Cities is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. It is moreover a moral novel strongly concerned with themes of guilt, shame, redemption and patriotism. With well over 200 million copies sold, it is among the most famous works of fiction.

The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period. It follows the lives of several protagonists through these events. The most notable are Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. Darnay is a French once-aristocrat who falls victim to the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution despite his virtuous nature, and Carton is a dissipated British barrister who endeavours to redeem his ill-spent life out of his unrequited love for Darnay's wife, Lucie Manette.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .agitation when he was questioned, and that pondering or brooding look which made him old, had been upon him, like a heavy cloud, ever since. As he passed out, the jury, who had turned back and paused a moment, spoke, through their foreman.

They were not agreed, and wished to retire. My Lord (perhaps with George Washington on his mind) showed some surprise that they were not agreed, but signified his pleasure that they should retire under watch and ward, and retired himself. The trial had lasted all day, and the lamps in the court were now being lighted. It began to be rumoured that the jury would be out a long while. The spectators dropped off to get refreshment, and the prisoner withdrew to the back of the dock, and sat down.

Mr. Lorry, who had gone out when the young lady and her father went out, now reappeared, and beckoned to Jerry: who, in the slackened interest, could easily get near him.

"Jerry, if you wish to take something to eat. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Charles Dickens is a demanding writer. The narratives of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist are relaxed and simple when compared to this. Reading Dickens requires concentration, and a will to carry on when sometimes the writing gives you a headache.

This is a historical novel. Dickens tells the story of...more

883. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a historical novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The novel tells the story of the French Doctor Manette, his 18-year-long imprisonment in the Bastille in Paris and...more

قصة مدينتين

استعرت هذه الرواية من مكتبة الجامعة في بداية الألفية، كان ذلك قبل عالم الانترنت، عندما كنا لا نلتقي ولا نتعرف على الكتب ومشاهير المؤلفين إلا من خلال الصحف أو الكتب التي تسقط بين أيدينا اتفاقاً، ديكنز كان مألوفاً لي حينها، كنت قد قرأت له دايفد كوبرفيلد، وأعرف موقعه كروائي إ...more

“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 ev...more

انا بيت قديم جدرانه من الخوف شرخت✒
انا نكتة حلوة اتكررت و اهي بوخت
انا ارض بور اخذها الهم حق انتفاع
انا باب مقفول من سنين ومفتاحه ضاع
اهلا بكم في ☀مدينة سيدني كارتون..حيث للعدل وجهين..و للتضحية معنيين..و للحب لونين..و للثورات منتفعين

Hundreds, thousands of stories long to have a quotable verse, just one.

Tale of Two Cities, Dickens masterpiece as far as I'm concerned, is bookended by two of the most recognizable quotes in all of English language.

This is also the darkest story I have read of his, and no doubt, it's about the...more

”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 rarely happens that a quote from a book haunts me but this one, well, this one does. I finished “A Tale of Two Cities” about two weeks ago, yet I’m still not over the e...more

“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 spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”

So begins A Tale of Two Cities, a perennial favourite. It was an instant success when it was first published, and its popularity has...more

Most satisfying ending in the English language.

Yes, the last line is a classic ("It is a far, far better thing ..."), concluding, in astonishingly concise language (for Dickens), the peace and redemption of the story's most poignant romantic hero. But this novel delivers such a gratifying experi...more

My primary goal when I'm teaching A Tale of Two Cities to my sophomores is to make them realize that Charles Dickens didn't write creaky, dusty long novels that teachers embraced as a twisted rite of passage for teenagers. Instead, I want them them to understand why Dickens was one of the most popular writers i...writer

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