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A Tale of Two Cities (Bantam Classic)


A Tale of Two Cities (Bantam Classic) Cover

ISBN13: 9780553211764
ISBN10: 0553211765
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With his sublime parting words, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done..." Sidney Carton joins that exhalted group of Dickensian characters who have earned a permanent place in the popular literary imagination. His dramatic story, set against the volcanic fury of the French Revolution and pervaded by the ominous rumble of the death carts trundling toward the guillotine, is the heart-stirring tale of a heroic soul in an age gone mad. A masterful pageant of idealism, love, and adventure — in a Paris bursting with revolutionary frenzy, and a London alive with anxious anticipation — A Tale of Two Cities is one of Dickens's most energetic and exciting works.




Dickens's classic tale of the French Revolution brings to life a time of terror and treason, and chronicles a starving people who rise in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime. This 150th anniversary edition features a new Afterword. Revised reissue.

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England, where his father was a naval pay clerk. When he was five the family moved to Chatham, near Rochester, another port town. He received some education at a small private school but this was curtailed when his father's fortunes declined. More significant was his childhood reading, which he evoked in a memory of his father's library: 'From that blessed little room, Roderick Random, Peregrine Pickle, Humphrey Clinker, Tom Jones, The Vicar of Wakefield, Don Quixote, Gil Blas and Robinson Crusoe came out, a glorious host, to keep me company. They kept alive my fancy, and my hope of something beyond that place and time.'

When Dickens was ten the family moved to Camden Town, and this proved the beginning of a long, difficult period. (He wrote later of his coach journey, alone, to join his family at the new lodgings: 'I consumed my sandwiches in solitude and dreariness, and it rained hard all the way, and I thought life sloppier than I had expected to find it.') When he had just turned twelve Dickens was sent to work for a manufacturer of boot blacking, where for the better part of a year he labored for ten hours a day, an unhappy experience that instilled him with a sense of having been abandoned by his family: 'No advice, no counsel, no encouragement, no consolation, no support from anyone that I can call to mind, so help me God!' Around the same time Dickens's father was jailed for debt in the Marshalsea Prison, where he remained for fourteen weeks. After some additional schooling, Dickens worked as a clerk in a law office and taught himself shorthand; this qualified him to begin working in 1831 as a reporter in the House of Commons, where he was known for the speed with which he took down speeches.

By 1833 Dickens was publishing humorous sketches of London life in the Monthly Magazine, which were collected in book form as Sketches by 'Boz' (1836). These were followed by the publication in installments of the comic adventures that became The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1837), whose unprecedented popularity made the twenty-five-year-old author a national figure. In 1836 he married Catherine Hogarth, who would bear him ten children over a period of fifteen years. Dickens's energies enabled him to lead an active family and social life, including an indulgence in elaborate amateur theatricals, while maintaining a literary productiveness of astonishing proportions. He characteristically wrote his novels for serial publication, and was himself the editor of many of the periodicals--Bentley's Miscellany, The Daily News, Household Words, All the Year Round--in which they appeared. Among his close associates were his future biographer John Forster and the younger Wilkie Collins, with whom he collaborated on fictional and dramatic works. In rapid succession he published Oliver Twist (1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1841), and Barnaby Rudge (1841), sometimes working on several novels simultaneously.

Dickens's celebrity led to a tour of the United States in 1842. There he met Longfellow, Irving, Bryant, and other literary figures, and was received with an enthusiasm that was dimmed somewhat by the criticisms Dickens expressed in his American Notes (1842) and in the American chapters of Martin Chuzzlewit (1844). The appearance of A Christmas Carol in 1843 sealed his position as the most widely popular writer of his time; it became an annual tradition for him to write a story for the season, among the most memorable of which were The Chimes (1844) and The Cricket on the Hearth (1845). He continued to produce novels at only a slightly diminished rate, publishing Dombey and Son in 1848 and David Copperfield in 1850; of the latter, his personal favorite among his books, he wrote to Forster: 'If I were to say half of what Copperfield makes me feel tonight how strangely, even to you, I should be turned inside out! I seem to be sending some part of myself into the Shadowy World.'

From this point on his novels tended to be more elaborately constructed and harsher and less buoyant in tone than his earlier works. These late novels include Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1857), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1861). Our Mutual Friend, published in 1865, was his last completed novel, and perhaps the most somber and savage of them all. Dickens had separated from his wife in 1858--he had become involved a year earlier with a young actress named Ellen Ternan--and the ensuing scandal had alienated him from many of his former associates and admirers. He was weakened by years of overwork and by a near-fatal railroad disaster during the writing of Our Mutual Friend. Nevertheless he embarked on a series of public readings, including a return visit to America in 1867, which further eroded his health. A final work, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a crime novel much influenced by Wilkie Collins, was left unfinished upon his death on June 9, 1870, at the age of 58.

From the Paperback edition.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Lindsay Waite, August 15, 2012 (view all comments by Lindsay Waite)
This is one of my favorite books. I re-read it recently. It is a timeless story of friendship, fairness, and honor. It always amazes me, when I read older literature, how these themes prevail. It is a story that brings forth the horrors of war, and shows how innocent people are caught in the net of revenge. "A Tale of Two Cities" is a permanent part of culture. How many of us have said: "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times...."? That classic beginning is only topped by the classic ending: "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." Dickens is a master of the written word, and it is worthwhile to go back to his words again and again. Each time, I gain something new.
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D.B. Pacini, July 17, 2009 (view all comments by D.B. Pacini)

I first read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens in 1969. My friend Bucky, a French-Canadian, gave me the book as a birthday present with a bouquet of daises, a blue balloon, and a wooden crate of oranges. We sat on the beach eating oranges from morning until sunset, reading A Tale of Two Cities to one another. It was one of my favorite birthdays. It is still one of my favorite books. It is probably the reason oranges are my favorite fruit.
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Product Details

Koch, Stephen
Koch, Stephen
Dickens, Charles
Bantam Classics
Novels and novellas
British and irish fiction (fictional works by
British and irish
France History Revolution, 1789-1799 Fiction.
Historical fiction
War stories
Literature-A to Z
Edition Number:
Bantam classic ed.
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
Bantam Classic
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
6.9 x 4.1 x .85 in .45 lb
Age Level:

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A Tale of Two Cities (Bantam Classic) Used Mass Market
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Product details 416 pages Bantam Classics - English 9780553211764 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , Dickens's classic tale of the French Revolution brings to life a time of terror and treason, and chronicles a starving people who rise in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime. This 150th anniversary edition features a new Afterword. Revised reissue.
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