A Tale of Two Cities

( 921 )

Overview

When the starving French masses rise in hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent government, both the guilty and innocent become victims of their frenzied anger. Soon nothing stands in the way of the chilling figure they enlist for their cause—La Guillotine—the new invention for efficiently chopping off heads.

Charles Dickens' compelling portrait of the results of terror and treason, love and supreme sacrifice continues to captivate readers ...
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A Tale of Two Cities

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Overview

When the starving French masses rise in hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent government, both the guilty and innocent become victims of their frenzied anger. Soon nothing stands in the way of the chilling figure they enlist for their cause—La Guillotine—the new invention for efficiently chopping off heads.

Charles Dickens' compelling portrait of the results of terror and treason, love and supreme sacrifice continues to captivate readers around the world. With Frank Muller's brilliant performance, unforgettable characters—the ever-knitting Madame Defarge, the lovely Lucie Manette, her broken father, the honorable Charles Darnay, and the sometimes scurrilous Sydney Carton—burst from the pages, full of life and passion.

This novel provides a highly-charged examination of human suffering and human sacrifice. Private experience and public history, during the French Revolution.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Charles Dickens's classic of the French Revolution is expertly dramatized by Simon Vance." —-AudioFile
Leigh Weaver
Great book
Anonymous
Classic Dickens. An amazing portrayal of the French Revolution.
From Barnes & Noble
The human story behind the French Revolution is embodied in four of Dickens's greatest characters: Madame Defarge, Lucie Manette and her husband Charles Darnay, and the misanthrope Sydney Carton whose final sacrifice gives meaning to his life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141309330
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/1/2000
  • Series: Classic, Puffin Series
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.

Biography

Born on February 7, 1812, Charles Dickens was the second of eight children in a family burdened with financial troubles. Despite difficult early years, he became the most successful British writer of the Victorian age.

In 1824, young Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work at a boot-blacking factory when his improvident father, accompanied by his mother and siblings, was sentenced to three months in a debtor's prison. Once they were released, Charles attended a private school for three years. The young man then became a solicitor's clerk, mastered shorthand, and before long was employed as a Parliamentary reporter. When he was in his early twenties, Dickens began to publish stories and sketches of London life in a variety of periodicals.

It was the publication of Pickwick Papers (1836-1837) that catapulted the twenty-five-year-old author to national renown. Dickens wrote with unequaled speed and often worked on several novels at a time, publishing them first in monthly installments and then as books. His early novels Oliver Twist (1837-1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841), and A Christmas Carol (1843) solidified his enormous, ongoing popularity. As Dickens matured, his social criticism became increasingly biting, his humor dark, and his view of poverty darker still. David Copperfield (1849-1850), Bleak House (1852-1853), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865) are the great works of his masterful and prolific period.

In 1858 Dickens's twenty-three-year marriage to Catherine Hogarth dissolved when he fell in love with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. The last years of his life were filled with intense activity: writing, managing amateur theatricals, and undertaking several reading tours that reinforced the public's favorable view of his work but took an enormous toll on his health. Working feverishly to the last, Dickens collapsed and died on June 8, 1870, leaving The Mystery of Edwin Drood uncompleted.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of David Copperfield.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles John Huffam Dickens (full name) "Boz" (pen name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1812
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portsmouth, England
    1. Date of Death:
      June 18, 1870
    2. Place of Death:
      Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Period

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.There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever.

It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at that favoured period, as at this. Mrs. Southcott had recently attained her five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a prophetic private in the Life Guards had heralded the sublime appearance by announcing that arrangements were made for the swallowing up of London and Westminster. Even the Cock Lane ghost had been laid only a round dozen of years, after rapping out its messages, as the spirits of this very year last past (supernaturally deficient in originality) rapped out theirs. Mere messages in the earthly order of events had lately come tothe English Crown and People, from a congress of British subjects in America: which, strange to relate, have proved more important to the human race than any communications yet received through any of the chickens of the Cock Lane brood.France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothness down hill, making paper money and spending it. Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards. It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that in the rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent to Paris, there were sheltered from the weather that very day, rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was to be atheistical and traitorous.

In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night; families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town without removing their furniture to upholsterers' warehouses for security; the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow tradesman whom he stopped in his character of 'the Captain,' gallantly shot him through the head and rode away; the mail was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, 'in consequence of the failure of his ammunition'; after which the mail was robbed in peace; that magnificent potentate, the Lord Mayor of London, was made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green, by one highwayman, who despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all his retinue; prisoners in London gaols fought battles with their turnkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamond crosses from the necks of noble lords at Court drawing rooms; musketeers went into St. Giles's, to search for contraband goods, and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fired on the mob, and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; today, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and tomorrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer's boy of sixpence.

All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Environed by them, while the Woodman and the Farmer worked unheeded, those two of the large jaws, and those other two of the plain and the fair faces, trod with stir enough, and carried their divine rights with a high hand.

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Table of Contents

Insights into Charles Dickens
Book 1 Recalled to Life
Chapter 1 The Period 16
Chapter 2 The Mail 20
Chapter 3 The Night Shadows (Summary) 27
Chapter 4 The Preparation 28
Chapter 5 The Wine-Shop 41
Chapter 6 The Shoemaker 53
Book 2 The Golden Thread
Chapter 1 Five Years Later (Summary) 67
Chapter 2 A Sight 69
Chapter 3 A Disappointment 77
Chapter 4 Congratulatory (Summary) 92
Chapter 5 The Jackal 94
Chapter 6 Hundreds of People (Summary) 101
Chapter 7 Monseigneur in Town (Summary) 103
Chapter 8 Monseigneur in the Country (Summary) 104
Chapter 9 The Gorgon's Head 105
Chapter 10 Two Promises 119
Chapter 11 A Companion Picture (Summary) 127
Chapter 12 The Fellow of Delicacy (Summary) 128
Chapter 13 The Fellow of No Delicacy 129
Chapter 14 The Honest Tradesman 134
Chapter 15 Knitting 145
Chapter 16 Still Knitting 157
Chapter 17 One Night (Summary) 169
Chapter 18 Nine Days 170
Chapter 19 An Opinion 177
Chapter 20 A Plea (Summary) 185
Chapter 21 Echoing Footsteps 186
Chapter 22 The Sea Still Rises 199
Chapter 23 Fire Rises (Summary) 205
Chapter 24 Drawn to the Loadstone Rock 207
Book 3 The Track of A Storm
Chapter 1 In Secret 221
Chapter 2 The Grindstone (Summary) 234
Chapter 3 The Shadow 236
Chapter 4 Calm in Storm (Summary) 242
Chapter 5 The Wood-Sawyer (Summary) 244
Chapter 6 Triumph 246
Chapter 7 A Knock at the Door (Summary) 254
Chapter 8 A Hand at Cards 255
Chapter 9 The Game Made 268
Chapter 10 The Substance of the Shadow 283
Chapter 11 Dusk (Summary) 298
Chapter 12 Darkness 299
Chapter 13 Fifty-Two 308
Chapter 14 The Knitting Done 321
Chapter 15 The Footsteps Die Out Forever 334
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 921 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(482)

4 Star

(165)

3 Star

(105)

2 Star

(48)

1 Star

(121)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 925 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2009

    Finally an unabridged reading!

    Excellently done!

    24 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 15, 2011

    Extremely poor scan

    You get what you pay for! This is a very crude version of the text, straight from a scan via OCR with no proofreading whatsoever. Spend the few bucks to get a version of this great book that you can actually read!

    19 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2011

    Very good read

    The Tale of Two Cities is a very good book about the 1700's. The author uses fake characters to describe the life abd times there. This is an excellent book for those who want history but a little fun too. All in all, I would recommend this book.

    19 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Timeless....another great book I blew off in High school

    Glad i finally grew up and started reading

    16 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 19, 2009

    Best Book I've Ever Read

    This is my favorite book of all time, I absolutely loved it from beginning to end. It made me cry and laugh out loud in class--even though I was supposed to be watching a movie or doing an assignment and got in trouble for reading. The plot was amazing, the characters were captivating and the narrative was entertaining. I love strong female characters and Madame Defarge was simply brilliant. But as awesome as she was, Sydney Carton was my favorite. Those last few chapters, I could not stop crying. My only complaint about this book is that there should have been more about him.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent book!

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. The Penguin Classics edition offers detailed end-notes, as always. The only complaint I have with this edition, though, is that some of the end-notes revealed a bit of the plot. The story was not completely ruined, so it is not really a big deal. Overall, an excellent book.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    Typos

    There are too many spelling errors in this book to even get past the 1st page, its not worth the space on your nook

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2012

    This version has too many typos to read

    Plesse rescan.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    OCR errors, but readable

    Harvard College Library copy, scanned as part of the Google project, has OCR text recognition issues. This is a fair copy of a great work, flawed by the OCR flaws. Wish Google had taken the time to edit it correctly.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Birthday gift.

    Best gift a friend could give. Thanks Spock.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    DO NOT BUY!!!

    I am sure that a tale of two cities is a great book, but this version only has the first 48 pages! If you are the person who put this up, quit trying to make people pay their money for something unfinished and dumb. Fix this book or take it back. I want a refund.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Cool

    The first part was a little slow, but in the end, it was fabulous! A wonderful read, well written, perfect! A book defidently worth reading!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    Depends

    This book is extremely good BUT this is mainly for people who love literature. Once you get interested in this book and get passed the first few chapters you will want to read this over and over again to see what you missed. I hope if you buy this you are dedicated because it will hook you. Enjoy!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    A Fabulous Tale

    This is my first novel on CD and I have been thoroughly enjoying the experience. Of course, it helps that it is also my first Dickens novel. Every character comes to life in the descriptions and every scene is painted in my mind's eye as Dickens unfolds the story. The narator also does a wonderful job. Fantastic!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    Unknown

    The she-wolf creepily stalks camp, her eyes cold.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    Fang

    Due to the recent death of one of my great friends, Mathew Rockefeller, I am unsure if I will continue RPing. This week is my last week of camp, I may be back Saturday; not sure.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    Reay bio

    Name:reay age:14 hunter saved my life so i am now his slave

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    <p>

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    To SmokeSeer

    Can I rp Artemis))

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Thantos

    Ok thanks &#9786

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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