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Penguin Classics Tale Of Two Cities [Paperback]

Charles Dickens , Richard Maxwell
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 31 2002 Penguin Classics
Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" portrays a world on fire, split between Paris and London during the brutal and bloody events of the French Revolution. This "Penguin Classics" edition of is edited with an introduction and notes by Richard Maxwell. 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...' After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There, 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 tranquil lanes of London, they are all drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine. This edition uses the text as it appeared in its first serial publication in 1859 to convey the full scope of Dickens's vision, and includes the original illustrations by H.K. Browne ("Phiz"). Richard Maxwell's introduction discusses the intricate interweaving of epic drama with personal tragedy. Charles Dickens is one of the best-loved novelists in the English language, whose 200th anniversary was celebrated in 2012. His most famous books, including "Oliver Twist", "Great Expectations", "A Tale of Two Cities", "David Copperfield" and "The Pickwick Papers", have been adapted for stage and screen and read by millions. If you enjoyed "A Tale of Two Cities", you might like Dickens' "The Old Curiosity Shop", also available in "Penguin Classics".

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About the Author

Charles Dickens (1812-70) was a political reporter and journalist whose popularity was established by the phenomenally successful Pickwick Papers (1836-7). His novels captured and held the public imagination over a period of more than thirty years. Richard Maxwell teaches in the Comparative Literature & English departments at Yale.

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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Ronald W. Maron TOP 500 REVIEWER
I feel that this book is not viewed as being one of the top tier of Dickens works due to the fact that it is thrust upon grade 9 students as an introduction to literary classics and, being so, its impact and overall cultural power has become diluted due to the audience that initially received it. It is not in regards to the content of the work itself. The intellectual abilities of students of this educational level are not able to understand the historical era, appreciate the fluent descriptive nature of the writing nor to comprehend the literary nuances that the author presents. In sum, it starts out with a less than average evaluation, by a less than receptive audience, and never fully recovers from it. A similar writing that undergoes an equally unfair youth-driven summary is that of `Silas Marner'.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. etc...." Dickens in his introductory remarks clearly lays out the tone for the rest of his historical novel; everything that is presented has two different and opposing definitions depending solely on how one views life's occurrences. What appears to be a revolution to overcome decades of elitist oppression to some, appears to be a retaliatory blood bath to others and who the people that appear to be the heroes of a just and timely uprising to some, appear to be no more than blood thirsty criminals to others. The contrast that Dickens verbally paints for us goes that much deeper; the calm and serene life in England vs. the agitated emotional level of Paris, the significant differences between the French and English Tellson Banks operations, and the respect of the ruling elite of London for the utter disdain for Paris's monsignors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Two Men March 12 2004
A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, is a chronical of the lives of the aristocracy and the lower class through the times leading up to and during the French Revolution. It Is a tale of both London and Paris, but I found that the real story happens in the latter of the two. The theme of two's is used frequently throughout the story. There are people living double lives-going by secret names. The story shows both sides of the French Revolution; It shows the lives of the rich and poor. The theme of being resurrected and being condemned to death go hand in hand throughout the story. The main theme, that also has two sides, is that of love and hatred. I saw the powers of hatred break apart families and condemn men's lives; I saw the power of love ultimately defeat hatred and restore those condemned lives. I really did enjoy reading this book. It touches very deeply on the the victory of love and how love can change. It is a story of change. I didn't think I would enjoy it when I first started reading the book, but it hooked me and changed the way I felt. It is right around 400 pages, and there are footnotes to help in the understanding of the history of the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars writen to be lived March 10 2004
A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens is a book that you actually live as you read it. So much detail and suspense puts you right in the position of the characters. While it is a little slow to start, it illudes to a much deeper plan. It really gives you prospective on the capabilities of man, both good and bad. From human sacrifice to corruption by power, the book gives you so much contrast that the reader and actually look at the characters as people they might know. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and hope that you will too!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Story Jan. 27 2004
By Khaled
When it comes to A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, I was amazed at how many details were put together to form a story that will live on for centuries. It was an ironic tale filled with suspense. It had a great historic background and from reading this book, I feel that I have become extremely eductated on the life of the aristocracy and proletariat of the French Revolution. There were many twists and turns in the story that mad me want to keep reading until I reached the end. The end of this magnificent tale was worth all the wait. The story finally made sense. As long as you pay attention to all the details hidden in A Tale of Two Cities, you will be thrilled you chose to read such a great book.
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In this sharply honest recounting of the French Revolution, Dickens weaves together an unusual cast of characters to form a tale of love and loss, hope and despair, trust and betrayal. Dr. Manette, who had been jailed on false charges, is released after almost twenty years. His daughter Lucie, who believed him dead, found him, brought him back to Soho, England, and began to care for him. In the course of events, they meet and become close with Charles Darnay, an alleged French spy. Dr. Manette and Lucie also form a strange sort of friendship with Charles' rather unsuccessful lawyer, Sydney Carton. Sydney, who is misunderstood by everyone, possesses a quiet strength that he seldom reveals. Meanwhile, in Saint Antoine, France, the wicked Madame Defarge and her husband plot to overthrow every single aristocrat they can get their hands on. But every one of these characters are struggling to survive in a world full of terror, dread and false friends.
The detailed accounts of the people and places cause you to feel as if you are right there, in middle of all the action and drama. The meticulousness of the writing gives you information that enables you to picture the characters perfectly. In addition, I highly enjoyed the characters' personalities. Specifically the way the character of Charles Darnay was so bluntly truthful, and how the villain, Madame Defarge complacently knitted away at public hangings.
In conclusion, I recommend this book to people who go for drama and/or historical fiction. I sort of enjoyed reading it (once I got past the first 100 pages or so -which were kinda boring).
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Freakin Awesome!
This book is, like, wicked awesome and stuff! Everything is there: romance, drama, suspense, comedy and drama. Dickers writes a mean novel about the French Revolution. Read more
Published on April 18 2008 by Joel Cormier
5.0 out of 5 stars The most unforgettable opening and closing sentences ever found in a...
I will never, the rest of my life forget these two sentences. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.... Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2008 by Misfit
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow to Develop but Outstanding by the End
Unlike in David Copperfield or Great Expectations, Tale of Two Cities is not woven around one central and well defined character. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2004 by Jennifer B. Barton
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
This novel certainly requires pacience and the reader who can stick it out through the first 2/3 of the novel, will experience a beautiful and powerful ending. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2004 by HardyBoy64
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing
Although most high school students complain relentlessly about the assignment of this book, I (being the book-loving nerd that i am) was glad to have an oppurtunity to read this... Read more
Published on Dec 28 2003 by travel
2.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Two Cities
I don't have much to say, so I will be brief. I as well would have thought Dickens a much better author than I found him to be, I was extremely disappointed. Read more
Published on Dec 15 2003 by Jaron
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Best:
Charles Dickens' genius is clearly displayed in this excellent work. His characters are multifaceted and complex. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2003 by Robert J. Daidone
3.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Two Cities
Although A Tale of Two Cities is both confusing and sometimes monotonous, it is truely a great novel. Sydney Carton ,the books necessity, is both useless, and vulgar. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2003 by Hagan
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