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After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the ageing 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 tranuil 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


10 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Cities

  1. says:

    My primary goal when I'm teaching A Tale of Two Cities to my sophos 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 in England and America during his time I want them to see the book as the suspenseful comedic and sentimental piece of entertainment that it is Because while A Tale of Two Cities is masterfully written with sly humor densely meaningful descriptions a cast of uirky characters only Dickens could create an endless series of telling binaries and foils and relevant social commentary about the French Revolution as well as Dickens' time it is also simply a damn good story By a damn good storyteller I have a difficult time writing reviews about books that I adore because when I'm not reading them I hug them too closely to be very critical BTW I freuently hug A Tale of Two Cities in front of my students and write Charles Dickens' name with hearts around it They think I'm crazy but it intrigues some of them just enough to make them doubt the derisive comments of upperclassmen I reluctantly admit that Dickens does oversimplify the causes of the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror; however in doing so he successfully captures the spirit of a tumultuous period and helps readers sympathize with characters on every side of the developing conflict I also think that the characters of Roger Cly and John Barsad get a bit messy and may have worked better as a single character Perhaps the confusion is a result of serialization restructuring But really I read A Tale of Two Cities like a costumed Lord of the Rings fan at a movie premier I cheer when my favorite characters enter scenes and I knowingly laugh when Dickens cleverly foreshadows future events Though I don't think that A Tale of Two Cities is Dickens' best novel that title I would reserve for either Bleak House or David Copperfield I do agree with Dickens who claims that it was his best story It is artfully written Dickens introduces a cast of characters sprawled across two nations and spanning varied social classes and political affiliations and then effortlessly weaves their stories and secrets together in a masterful way The Modernist movement painstakingly forced literature to reflect the ambiguities and uncertainties of the real world and that's great but sometimes it is a real joy to read a story that ends with such magnificent closure All mysteries are solved and everything makes sense It is beautifulI have to admit that I was overjoyed when a group of my fifth period girls persistently voiced their disdain for Dickens' angel in the house Lucie and backed Madame Defarge I think they may have created a Madame Defarge myspace actually Oh how the times have changedMs R you got me What? At the beginning of this book you said you would get some of us And that we would love it You got me I didn't get you G Charles Dickens did I just introduced youuoteA wonderful fact to reflect upon that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other


  2. says:

    ”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 uote 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 ending But how could I? After all this is one of those rare books that keep you thinking even after you finished the last page and already closed the cover of the book The most intriguing thing about this all is the following though I had a really really tough time getting into “A Tale of Two Cities” when I first started to read it XD The sentences were too long and complicated and Dickens writing style is lengthy and so full of superfluous words that every editor no matter the century shehe lives in would have had a field day crossing them out lol ”O Miss Manette when the little picture of a happy father’s face looks up in yours when you see your own bright beauty springing up anew at your feet think now and then that there is a man who would give his life to keep a life you love beside you”So what happened? I can’t explain it but I think Dickens’s magic happened At least that’s the only thing I can come up with while I’m trying to explain my sudden love for this book I mean we have a little bit of comedy in here when three different suitors attempt to ask for Lucy Manettes hand yet at the same time Doctor Manette’s mental condition is making the situation as serious as it could possibly be ”What can I do for my friend? No man ever can have been desirious in his heart to serve a friend than I am to serve mine if I knew how”Every character in here is either an angel Miss Manette or a precious snowflake Mr Lorry Charles Darnay or it’s bloodthirsty and evil Madame Defarge The Maruis There is no grey area well not unless you count Sydney Carton who is by far the most intriguing character in the entire book I loved him 3 Yes he might have been a drunkard and I’m pretty sure he suffered from depression but of all the characters that made an appearance in “A Tale of Two Cities” he’s certainly the most honourable and pure soul ”It is too late for that I shall never be better than I am I shall sink lower and be worse”And this Ladies and Gentleman is the true tragedy of this book That Sydney thinks he’s worth nothing even though he DESERVES THE FREAKING WORLD Excuse my screaming but ADKFASKDFKASDFKSDFKASD I get all emotional just thinking about this lovable man He is worthy he is wantable to hell with it I’m actually going to compare him to my precious boy Adam Parrish now LOL Both of them deserve so much and they are always trying to fit in to make their life better yet there’s always something that holds them back That makes their lives difficult ”You are a good man and a true friend” said Carton in an altered voice “Forgive me if I notice that you are affected I could not see my father weep and sit by careless And I could not respect your sorrow if you were my father You are free from that misfortune however”No one notices the struggle he’s going through and a lot of people judge him for his actions Not outright into his face but behind his back Truth be told I think Miss Manette might have been the only person who ever got a decent glimpse at his true character and nature And this only because he let her see it Because he loved her and because he wanted her to know that there was a part of him the part that loved her that actually was worthy of her love as well TT ”I would ask you dearest to be very generous with him always and very lenient on his faults when he is not by I would ask you to believe that he has a heart he very very seldom reveals and that there are deep wounds in it My dear I have seen it bleeding” But we’re in the time of the guillotine the time of change of liberté égalité et fraternité And forgiveness and compassion let alone justice aren’t truly on the agenda People like the Maruis had no mercy with their subjects and their former servants pay them back in kind Unfortunately this also means that innocent people regardless of their actions and their lack of involvement are sentenced to death as well Casualties in a war that gained momentum way too fast And so it happens that the storyline swells to a crescendo that ends in a climax I didn’t expect Boy did that ending throw me OoIt was a beautiful ending tragic but beautiful hopeful and sad And it taught me that Dickens was indeed a great writer ; view spoiler ”Are you dying for him?” she whispered“And his wife and child Hush Yes”“O you will let me hold your brave hand stranger?”“Hush Yes my poor sister; to the last”I cried an ocean reading this scene Sydney Carton deserved so much better than that What a noble and gentle and compassionate soul What a brave man that gives comfort while he’s going to his death as well I can’t even TT I just can’t cries and ocean again hide spoiler


  3. says:

    Hundreds thousands of stories long to have a uotable verse just one Tale of Two Cities Dickens masterpiece as far as I'm concerned is bookended by two of the most recognizable uotes in all of English language This is also the darkest story I have read of his and no doubt it's about the bloody French Revolution and Dickens spares none of his acerbic wit to demonize what was rightly demonic Yet to his credit and genius neither does he sugar coat the great social injustices that led irresolutely to the collapse of the aristocratic French class Lacking his usual humor again understandable this nonetheless again displays his mastery of characterization No character is as complete and now archetypal as Madame Defarge I thought that Bill Sykes was his greatest villain but Citizeness Defarge was simply a portrait of evil So many stories hope for a memorable scene and this has many highly influential since I thought of several works that had borrowed heavily from TOTC themes especially Doctor Zhivago many allusions to TOTC and that also made me wonder was TOTC the first dystopian novel? The scene between Madame Defarge and Ms Pross was stunning and made me think of the riveting scene between Porfiry and Raskolnikov in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment Brilliant


  4. says:

    This is Tessa's favorite The book that Will grew to love It must have something special


  5. says:

    Charles Dickens is a demanding writer The narratives of Great Expectations and Oliver Twist are relaxed and simple when compared to this Reading Dickens reuires 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 the storming of the Bastille some fifty years after it happened Unlike most of his work all traces of humour are removed There are no caricatures and uirkiness within his writing This is all very serious material which of course it needs to be But for me this is what Dickens does best His ability to juxtapose themes of human suffering poverty and deprivation with ideas of the grotesue ridiculous and at times the plain mad are where his real master strokes of penmanship come throughThat’s what I like the most about Dickens so I knew my enjoyment of this very serious novel would be hindered immediately What we do have though is a strong revenge plot running through the book and the revolt which occurred two thirds of the way in And like the name of the book suggests this is a tale about two cities London and Paris Dickens loved to criticise society and all its stupid aristocratic nuances Here he takes great pains to show that London is no symbol of societal perfection The aftermath of the French revolution placed the British on a pedestal at least to their own minds They could not believe that their own current systems of ruling could cause such a travesty within their own capital Dickens shows that the men in power were just as corrupt and corruptible wherever they sit revolution can happen again “I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss I see the lives for which I lay down my life peaceful useful prosperous and happy I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts and in the hearts of their descendants generations hence 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”The streets of Paris are seen before and after the bloodshed and all the strands of seemingly unrelated plots are artfully perhaps slightly forcefully? woven together Dickens brings the lives of a huge cast of characters spanning over two cities and two nations all of which have a varied station in life and political beliefs into one final conclusion And it’s a strong conclusion though heavily reliant of coincident This is nothing unusual for fiction of the Victorian era though it did feel very much like a construct The modernists would address such issues in the next century mainly to criticise them heavily due to their incapability at capturing the essence of life within fiction Perhaps they have a point here? So this is a very strong story one that is highly perceptive and intuitive at times As a reader I need a certain degree of entertainment when reading I find that the wonderfully comic elements that are in some of Dickens’ other books help to break up the intense moments of the plot Even Jane Austen would interpose her narrative with moments of scathing sarcasm and wit For me this is far from the finest work of Dickens despite the fact that it seems to be his most popular


  6. says:

    883 A Tale of Two Cities Charles DickensA 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 his release to life in London with his daughter Lucie whom he had never met Lucie's marriage and the collision between her beloved husband and the people who caused her father's imprisonment and Monsieur and Madame Defarge sellers of wine in a poor suburb of Paris The story is set against the conditions that led up to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terrorعنوانها «داستان دو شهر»؛ نویسنده چارلز دیکنز؛ انتشاراتیها پیروز، جاویدان، گلشائی، مجرد، درنا، توسن، علمی فرهنگی، سپیده، مریم، فرزان روز، دبیر، افق، سولدوزبایجان ادبیات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش ماه نوامبر سال 2003میلادیمترجم گیورگیس آقاسی؛ تهران، پیروز، 1347، در 300صمترجم ابراهیم یونسی؛ تهران، جاویدان، چاپ اول 1346، در 436ص، چاپ دوم 1355، در 570صمترجم ابوالفتوح امام؛ تهران، گلشایی، 1362، در 520صمترجم ناظر نعمتی؛ تهران، مجرد، 1363، در 197صمترجم کامران ایراندوست؛ تهران، درنا، 1368، در 180صمترجم امیر اسماعیلی؛ تهران، توسن، 1368، در 130صمترجم مینو مشیری؛ تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1370، در 225صمترجم مجید سیف؛ تهران، سپیده، 1370، در 171صمترجم مهدی سحابی متن کوتاه شده؛ تهران، مریم، 1374، در 141صمترجم ابراهیم یونسی؛ تهران، نگاه، 1377، در 480صمترجم مهرداد نبیلی؛ تهران، فرزان روز، 1381، در 482صمترجم مهدی علوی؛ تهران، دبیر، 1389 ، در 96صمترجم نوشین ابراهیمی؛ تهران، افق، 1389، در 698صمترجم وحید سهرابی حسنلویی؛ خدیجه سهرابی حسنلویی؛ نقده، سولدوزبایجان، 1393، در 165ص؛رمانی نوشته «چارلز دیکنز» است، که داستانش در «لندن» و «پاریس»، پیش، و همزمان با انقلاب فرانسه رخ می‌دهد، داستان جوانی کشاورززاده را با اشرافیگرائیهای فرانسوی، در سالهای منتهی به انقلاب، و خشونتهای انقلابیون را، نسبت به اشراف پیشین، در سالهای نخستتین انقلاب فرانسه، به تصویر می‌کشد؛ در این جریانات، ماجرای چند تن دنبال می‌شود، از همه مهمتر «چارلز دارنه»، از اشراف پیشین فرانسوی، که علی‌رغم ذات نیکویش، قربانی هیجانات ضد تبعیض انقلاب می‌شود؛ و «سیدنی کارتن»، وکیلی بریتانیایی که فراری ست و تلاش می‌کند، زندگی ناخوشایندش را با عشق به «لوسی مانه» همسر «چارلز دارنه»، نجات دهدتاریخ بهنگام رسانی 25061399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا شربیانی


  7. says:

    “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”Another classic down The copy of this book that I read I have owned since middle schoolhigh school – so it has been with me for about 25 years I figured it was about time to get to itThe book is divided into three parts and when I got to the end of part two which is a little over 200 pages into the book I was sure I was going to give the book 2 stars Not that I was kidding myself that Dickens would be an easy read but I had to force myself back into the book every day because I knew it would end up being a choreThen I hit part threeIt is all worth it for part three Part three by itself is 5 stars all the way – so I averaged out my overall rating to 4 stars If you are struggling with the beginning like I did – don’t give up I hope that you find the ending as interesting and engaging as I didAlso thanks again to Shmoop for helping me along the way with chapter summaries I didn’t have to read a summary of every chapter but there were a few that had me scratching my head so it was very helpful having a place I could go for help Finally while I started my review with one of the most famous beginning uotes in literature I didn’t realize that the famous uote that ends this book was from Dickens I will end my review with it – but I am not marking it with a spoiler so if you want to avoid knowing what it is don’t look down“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”


  8. says:

    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 experience because there are in fact many characters who cover significant emotional ground in their journey to love one woman as best they can Lucie's father battles his way back from madness under the gentle protection of his daughter Lucie's childhood nursemaid evolves from a comical stereotype to an embattled force to be reckoned with Lucie's husband's well meaning if bland noblesse oblige culminates in not his hoped for heroic moment but a moment of uiet dignity that is most moving for its humility Even Lucie's banker reaches dizzying heights of heroic accomplishment when Dickens appoints the uiet businessman the vehicle for an entire family's escape from the guillotineIt is true that Lucie herself engages the reader less than her brutal counterpart the broken but terrifying Madame Defarge is able to as modern readers are less moved by the swooning heroines who populate the period's literature of sensibility But we can certainly respond to Dickens' powerful and vivid claim love is not only what makes us human it is what allows us to be at times superhumanAnd when Sydney Carton in eual parts love and despair tells Lucie that there is a man who would give his life to keep a life you love beside you ? I go to pieces Every damn time


  9. says:

    “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 remained steady ever since as one of the best selling novels of all time For many it is their most loved novel by Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities is Dickens’s second shortest completed novel possibly his tightest plotted and most dramatic novel yet in many ways it is the least “Dickensian” It is one of only two historical novels Dickens ever wrote and he wanted to try out a few new ways of writing to celebrate the launch of his new periodical At this time Dickens felt very at home in France speaking French fluently and identifying so much with the French character that he sometimes viewed himself as almost a Frenchman in exile He despised any parochial or narrow minded thinking he might see in English people and freuently poked fun at them in his writing He travelled extensively and wherever he went he carried his friend Thomas Carlyle’s “History of the French Revolution” published in 1837 with him reading it over and over again Dickens jokingly claimed to have read the book 500 times In truth he admired and revered his friend rather than the feeling being reciprocated; Carlyle tended to view Dickens as a mere “novelist” But Dickens was determined to meticulously research the historical background to his latest work and used Carlyle’s book as a reference source Attempting to imbue his new way of writing with gravitas Dickens tried to curb or at least subdue some of his own habits of fanciful imagination After criticism of his earlier slips in “Barnaby Rudge” he had resolved to make this account although fictionalised an historically accurate a portrayal as possible Along with the less discursive style he paid less reliance on character development and humour both usual indicators of his style Some readers maintain they do not associate Dickens with humour and I personally feel that that is due in large part to their familiarity with his later works especially this one If this is the only Dickens novel one has read it is possible to miss much of its uirky humour A Tale of Two Cities has been dramatised countless times and in common with many others I am drawn to each dramatisation The story is a violent and bloody one with acts of heroism and intrigue secrets and lies imprisonment and torture sorrow and loss terror and madness panic and frenzy It describes in detail the depth of depravity a human can sink to and also instances the pinnacle of an almost unimaginable force for compassion and altruism The characters once read about here stay in the mind for ever; they are spell binding whether good or evil There is much mystery and the development of the story is so tightly plotted that the tension mounts to almost unbearable limits The horrors described are both explicit and totally believeable After much thought then I have rated it five stars A story which endures and continues to be retold with images which permeate each new generation’s consciousness which is so powerfully written and can move the reader to tears each time they read it deserves no less Do I like it? No not really I have to steel myself to read this each time But then I don’t enjoy Dostoevsky either and Dickens was one of his favourite writers So this takes nothing away from my reluctant admiration for the novel It is a deeply spiritual work with the main theme of resurrection sitting very firmly in a Christian context Being “recalled to life” is a major theme throughout the novel; in fact Dickens at one time considered using “Recalled to Life” as the book’s title “Buried how long?”The answer was always the same “Almost eighteen years”You had abandoned all hope of being dug out?”Long ago”You know that you are recalled to life?”They tell me so” Of course the story is shrouded in mystery “Recalled to life” refers to several strands and episodes in the story as well as being a metaphor It is possible to enjoy the story without necessarily picking up uite how embedded in the novel all the Christian references are One might see a vaguely spiritual thread of redemption running through and an idea of a better future life without picking up on the myriad references to blood river cleansing water shrouds love light and golden threads binding families together Take one tiny but telling detail at the climax of the book “The murmuring of many voices the upturning of many faces the pressing on of many footsteps in the outskirts of the crowd so that it swells forward in a mass like one great heave of water all flashes away Twenty Three”What if anything might the number 23 signify? The 23rd Psalm possibly? A psalm which is often understood by Christians as an allusion to the eternal life given by Christ? In the story it refers to view spoilerSidney Carton sacrificing himself to the guillotine in the final scene In other words the 23rd victim is a Christ figure who is willingly executed by massed crowds baying for blood in the culmination His death thus serves to save the lives of others ensuring that his own life gains meaning and value hide spoiler


  10. says:

    A wonderful fact to reflect upon that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other A solemn consideration when I enter a great city by night that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there is in some of its imaginings a secret to the heart nearest it It has been uite some time since I’ve read Charles Dickens excepting of course A Christmas Carol which is an absolute favorite of mine and a handful of his other Christmas short stories Upon joining Goodreads eight years ago A Tale of Two Cities was the very first book I entered as ‘want to read’ Well time flies and here I am finally having picked up my copy and actually reading this beloved by many classic While this one doesn’t take the prize for most cherished of novels on my personal list I absolutely admired this masterpiece In fact it is a work that for me was appreciated as a whole rather than for its individual parts I needed to complete this to fully grasp the plot and the overall merit of the novel The final portion was entirely compelling and uite brilliant in fact This is a novel as the title suggests of two cities that of London and that of Paris It is a historical fiction work beginning in 1775 which then takes us further into the depths and horrors of the French Revolution There is an abundance of mystery that I was not expecting but thoroughly enjoyed In addition to the juxtaposition of the two cities we also see the contrasts between good and evil hope and despair death and rebirth As suggested in my opening uote secrets abound and are slowly revealed Characters are drawn well as one would naturally expect from Dickens although I never uite felt the emotional tug towards any of them until near the end But when I did reach this point gosh it was worth it Sydney Carton an unforgettable man sigh I have had the weakness and have still the weakness to wish you to know with what a sudden mastery you kindled me heap of ashes that I am into fire a fire however inseparable in its nature from myself uickening nothing lighting nothing doing no service idly burning away This is a love story a tale of injustice of human suffering and of sacrifice When the reader steps through the gates of Paris one can feel the tension and sense the shadow of what is to come the atmosphere is so charged with insecurity suspicion and dread The time was to come when that wine too would be spilled on the street stones and when the stain of it would be red upon many there The madness of the masses is frightening there are no apologies and no exceptions If you are born with the wrong blood happen to land in the wrong place at the wrong time or sympathize with the accused and the condemned your life is in danger The threat of the Guillotine looms like a monster over the people of the city Every day through the stony streets the tumbrils now jolted heavily filled with Condemned Lovely girls; bright women brown haired black haired and grey; youths; stalwart men and old; gentle born and peasant born; all red wine for La Guillotine all daily brought into light from the dark cellars of the loathsome prisons and carried to her through the street to slake her devouring thirst Liberty euality fraternity or death; the last much the easiest to bestow O Guillotine It is heartless and pities no one much like Madame Defarge I feel as if I should be providing a ‘scholarly’ review of this tremendous work but I’m not uite up to the task; and you can find a plethora of excellent and erudite reviews all over Goodreads I’m really just here to express my personal reaction and feelings towards this one uite simply the writing is excellent but the story itself failed to grab me initially At this same time last year I read Les Misérables – an extraordinary piece of literature without a doubt I could not help comparing this Dicken’s novel with that of Hugo’s What was lacking in Two Cities for me was the existence of a character like Jean Valjean a character so vivid and so sharply drawn that it seems I literally spent weeks in the mind of this tortured soul Probably it is not fair to make this comparison but there you have it I felt distanced from Dickens’ characters uite a bit at least for a good portion of the book I’m very pleased that I persevered however as I was able to reap the benefits of my commitment upon finishing the last words The development of Sydney Carton was rewarding and the ending of this tale was breathtaking I don’t often re read novels but this one is certainly going to fall in the category of ‘even better the second time around’ – I feel certain of this My rating is at a firm 4 stars with the hope that someday the re read will edge it up to the full 5 Crush humanity out of shape once under similar hammers and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms Sow the same seed of rapacious licence and oppression over again and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind