A Tale of Two Cities
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A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With well over 200 million copies sold, it ranks amongst the most famous works in the history of literary fiction. The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralised 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 characters through these events. The 45-chapter novel was published in 31 weekly instalments in Dickens's new literary periodical titled All the Year Round. From April 1859 to November 1859, Dickens also republished the chapters as eight monthly sections in green covers. All but three of Dickens's previous novels had appeared only as monthly instalments. The first weekly instalment of A Tale of Two Cities ran in the first issue of All the Year Round on 30 April 1859. The last ran thirty weeks later, on 26 November.
of spectacle has a second, more sinister aspect from which England is not immune: paranoia. Dickens in Paris watching the passing crowds, who in turn watch him, might pass for a harmless afternoon’s entertainment in the city, but when the opportunity for seeing and being seen is hardened to an expectation, or even a right to total visibility, it is a short distance to paranoia and a culture obsessed with secrets. When there is no escape from the social gaze, voyeurs quickly turn into spies and
awkward silence by saying: “This is something new to me, Mr. Lorry. You deliberately advise me not to go up to Soho and offer myself—myself, Stryver of the King’s Bench bar?” “Do you ask me for my advice, Mr. Stryver?” “Yes, I do.” “Very good. Then I give it, and you have repeated it correctly.” “And all I can say of it is,” laughed Stryver with a vexed laugh, “that this—ha, ha!—beats everything past, present, and to come.” “Now understand me,” pursued Mr. Lorry. “As a man of business, I am
round a dingy hearse and dingy mourning coach, in which mourning coach there was only one mourner, dressed in the dingy trappings that were considered essential to the dignity of the position. The position appeared by no means to please him, however, with an increasing rabble surrounding the coach, deriding him, making grimaces at him, and incessantly groaning and calling out: “Yah! Spies! Tst! Yaha! Spies!” with many compliments too numerous and forcible to repeat. . . . “What is it, brother?
opened my heart to you, last of all the world; and that there was something left in me at this time which you could deplore and pity.” “Which I entreated you to believe, again and again, most fervently, with all my heart, was capable of better things, Mr. Carton!” “Entreat me to believe it no more, Miss Manette. I have proved myself, and I know better. I distress you; I draw fast to an end. Will you let me believe, when I recall this day, that the last confidence of my life was reposed in your
shone in the sun. A tremendous roar arose from the throat of Saint Antoine, and a forest of naked arms struggled in the air like shrivelled branches of trees in a winter wind: all the fingers convulsively clutching at every weapon or semblance of a weapon that was thrown up from the depths below, no matter how far off. Who gave them out, whence they last came, where they began, through what agency they crookedly quivered and jerked, scores at a time, over the heads of the crowd, like a kind of