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Penguin Classics Tale Of Two Cities [Paperback]

Charles Dickens , Richard Maxwell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (300 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".

Frequently Bought Together

Penguin Classics Tale Of Two Cities + Oliver Twist + Great Expectations
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Product Details

Product Description


'I shall treasure the richly detailed explanatory notes. It's an edition which will surely sell to the general reader; yet many truer Dickens specialists than I will be excited by the scope and subtlety of the introduction.' Dr P. Merchant, Christ Church College, Canterbury

'The large clear print, very full notes, and inclusion of Dickens's number plans make it the best paperback available for student use.' Professor Norman Page, University of Nottingham

`I read it every other year. It is the best story of the best hero. It does not pale.' You (Mail on Sunday Magazine) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

illustrations by `Phiz' and other artists --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Misfit TOP 500 REVIEWER
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...." and at closing "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."

Wow, this is not your usual Dickens. No quirky characters with strange names and laugh out loud moments, just a darn good story -- the story of two cities, London and Paris. It is difficult to put the plot into words, but when the book begins you are in London at the time of the American revolution and spies (or suspected spies) abound, and the story eventually switches to France prior to and during the French revolution.

Dickens does a marvelous job (as always) of building his story one step at a time and slowly peeling back the layers one at a time. This is not a put down and pick it up a week later kind of a book, it is very intense and complicated and you have to pay close attention. I was just floored at how he sucked me in with his descriptions of the mobs, terror and the madness of the revolution leading you to a nail biting finish. I admit to holding my breath during those last few pages!

Highly recommended, and well worth the time to discover (or rediscover) an old classic.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of the great mysteries of 19th century literature is how this book got this name. A subtitle might help. Yes, certainly, for the most part, the action in this book takes place in either London or Paris and the contrast between English mercantile society and the French Reign of Terror could not be more extreme. It is a story of contrasts on many levels, it is a tale of marvelous coincidence and psychological insight. The biggest coincidence is the physical resemblance between the noble Charles Darney and the self destructive Sidney Carton. Do you see the contrast? More contrasts? The abusive French aristocracy...Oh, the Evermonds are despicable to the nth degree, and Madame Defarge of the Jacquerie (peasantry)--who bears the biggest grudge in two centuries of literature. Dickens has done an excellent job of showing people from all walks of life interacting, of painting the landscape of the times and telling a very gripping story. As for psychologically insights, consider Sidney Carton...a case study in depression as Dr. Manette exemplifies PTSD. I have seen the video, listened to the tape and read the book. The tape is especially noteworthy as Dickens frequently read his work to make sure he got the rhythms of speech just so. Well, I promised to offer a subtitle. It's somewhat unweildy but here goes: How about-The Reign of Terror, Temple Bar and Lucy in the sky with Diamonds?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves its Title as a Classic May 27 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I chose this book to read as I recovered from surgery. I figured if there was ever a time when I would have the patience for a Victorian book that has been dubbed a classic by everyone, this was the time.
I definitely needed the patience. The book begins with the famous line everybody knows, even if they don't know the source: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Unfortunately the book quickly mires down after that. It is not that little occurs; the book is actually full of action, side plots, etc. But it is also overfull of Victorian-era florid prose. The reader gets a full dose of adjectives, but those adjectives rarely add up to a vivid picture.
Also, Dickens is a product of his times and the age-old Anglo-French rivalry is in full evidence in this book. The French people who have spent significant time in England are all good people. The French people who remained in France are uniformly evil. With one exception, the English people, be they drunkards, grave robbers or stuffy bankers are all noble at heart.
However, the ending truly saves the entire book and turns my review from a pan to a rave. The ending is heartrending, beautiful, exciting, and bittersweet. The vivid imagery of people on the way to the guillotine, making their escape, or waiting to watch others be executed makes the picture leap from the page and makes the reader rip to the next page as one page comes to an end.
I therefore recommend that you sit down with this book when you have large chunks of time to devote to it, don't give up on the book after the first hundred or even two hundred pages but keep reading. You will be rewarded.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have been reading this book for a long long time, and I can truthfully say that it is the most difficult book that I have ever read. I spent a whole month reading, and all i could finish was one-eighth of it. That time was no wasted though. Tale of two cities has reminded me of my childhood books, not for the text, but for the way i see the surroundings. A picture book barely describes the setting, but that does not matter, because the pictures show what the setting is like. Tale of Two cities may be a book filled with words, but the words that Dickens writes paints a picture that is just as clear as any photograph. This is definately a book to buy if you have the brains and the time. Don't pick this book up if you don't like puzzles, because parts of it will even confuse the smartest teachers. Gripping story that will drive you to the edge of your seat, if you don't mind going back and reading a passage over and over again. My friends advised meto just read and ignore the parts that i didn't understand, but if I did that , I wouldn't be reading. If you enjoy this book, you should read Great Expectations, which is another great piece of work by Charles Dickens, about a growing boy, out to persue his dreams.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied
Haven`t read it yet.. but it`s a classic so I`m sure it`ll be great. The book was delivered quickly and in perfect condition.
Published 9 months ago by Natalie Ralstin
5.0 out of 5 stars the most under appreciated of all of Dickens's works.....
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... Read more
Published on March 29 2012 by Ronald W. Maron
4.0 out of 5 stars Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities
At times confusing, Dickens writes in time and space jumps. This allows for certain advantages, but on the flip side, the novel is difficult to begin enjoying. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2009 by Martin Chayer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Of the three
Of the three books I've read lately, this one is the best. The other two were John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," and "The Bark of the Dogwood" by Jackson... Read more
Published on July 7 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I read this book in 8th grade, and I couldn't put it down. I read it all in one sitting because I enjoyed it so much. Read more
Published on June 20 2004 by C. Hayward
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Of all the Dickens novels, this one is his best. OLIVER TWIST or DAVID COPPERFIELD are great--don't get me wrong, but A TALE is by far the most interesting. Read more
Published on June 9 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
The story starts off with Lucie going to Paris to find he lost father. When she finds her father he is a completely unstable man straight from prison. Read more
Published on May 11 2004 by Kenji Suzaki
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