Cover image for A tale of two cities
Title:
A tale of two cities
Author:
Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870.
Edition:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Mineola, NY : Dover Publications, 2001.

©1999
Physical Description:
528 pages ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Reprint of ed. of 1859.
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 9.7 27.0 719.
ISBN:
9780486417769
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" -- it was the tumultuous era of the French Revolution. Rich in drama and romance, this deftly plotted tale of adventure and courage by the most popular of English novelists bristles with suspense, culminating in a daring prison escape in the shadow of the guillotine.


Author Notes

Charles Dickens, perhaps the best British novelist of the Victorian era, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England on February 7, 1812. His happy early childhood was interrupted when his father was sent to debtors' prison, and young Dickens had to go to work in a factory at age twelve. Later, he took jobs as an office boy and journalist before publishing essays and stories in the 1830s.

His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, made him a famous and popular author at the age of twenty-five. Subsequent works were published serially in periodicals and cemented his reputation as a master of colorful characterization, and as a harsh critic of social evils and corrupt institutions. His many books include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities.

Dickens married Catherine Hogarth in 1836, and the couple had nine children before separating in 1858 when he began a long affair with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. Despite the scandal, Dickens remained a public figure, appearing often to read his fiction. He died in 1870, leaving his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Dickens's preeminent and most overtly political novel, set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, radiates with relevance 150 years after its initial publication through two-time Audie Award winner Simon Vance's exceptional reading. Vance's ability to embody myriad voices and seamlessly transition between narration and alternating dialects and accents accentuates the linguistic and narrative vivacity of the text. Because of both the novel's canonized status and Vance's meticulous interpretation of it, recommended for all libraries, particularly those emphasizing the English classics. [With bonus PDF ebook; audio clip available through www.tantor.com. A musical version of Tale, with words, lyrics, and book by Jill Santoriello, opens on Broadway this month.--Ed.]--Christopher Rager, Pasadena, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Charles Dickens's classic tale of one family's suffering during the French Revolution is brought to life in this audio adaptation. The voice of Audie Award-winning narrator Simon Vance sets the tone for the characters and creates the Dickensesqe mood of the times when the rich and the poor were far apart and no one was exempt from the ensuing wrath during the Revolution. Vance's stone varies from soothing to animated while creating different voices for the characters and using appropriate accents. A bonus feature on the last CD is an e-book in pdf format that can be printed or used as a read-along while listening to the audio. This easily navigated feature would be particularly helpful for struggling readers.-Jeana Actkinson, Bridgeport High School, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

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. There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever. It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at that favoured period, as at this. Mrs. Southcott had recently attained her five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a prophetic private in the Life Guards had heralded the sublime appearance by announcing that arrangements were made for the swallowing up of London and Westminster. Even the Cock-lane ghost had been laid only a round dozen of years, after rapping out its messages, as the spirits of this very year last past (supernaturally deficient in originality) rapped out theirs. Mere messages in the earthly order of events had lately come to the English Crown and People, from a congress of British subjects in America: which, strange to relate, have proved more important to the human race than any communications yet received through any of the chickens of the Cock-lane brood. France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothness down hill, making paper money and spending it. Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards. It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already marked by the woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that in the rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent to Paris, there were sheltered from the weather that very day, rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was to be atheistical and traitorous. In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night; families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town without removing their furniture to upholsterers' warehouses for security; the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped in his character of "the Captain," gallantly shot him through the head and rode away; the mail was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, "in consequence of the failure of his ammunition:" after which the mail was robbed in peace; that magnificent potentate, the Lord Mayor of London, was made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green, by one highwayman, who despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all his retinue; prisoners in London gaols fought battles with their turnkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamond crosses from the necks of noble lords at Court drawing-rooms; musketeers went into St. Giles's, to search for contraband goods, and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fired on the mob; and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer's boy of sixpence. All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Environed by them, while the Woodman and the Farmer worked unheeded, those two of the large jaws, and those other two of the plain and the fair faces, trod with stir enough, and carried their divine rights with a high hand. Thus did the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five conduct their Greatnesses, and myriads of small creatures--the creatures of this chronicle among the rest--along the roads that lay before them. Excerpted from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Preface to the First Edition
Book 1 Recalled to Life
1 The Periodp. 11
2 The Mailp. 13
3 The Night Shadowsp. 16
4 The Preparationp. 19
5 The Wine-Shopp. 27
6 The Shoemakerp. 34
Book 2 The Golden Thread
1 Five Years Laterp. 45
2 A Sightp. 49
3 A Disappointmentp. 53
4 Congratulatoryp. 62
5 The Jackalp. 66
6 Hundreds of Peoplep. 70
7 Monseigneur in Townp. 78
8 Moneigneur in the Countryp. 84
9 The Gorgon's Headp. 88
10 Two Promisesp. 95
11 A Companion Picturep. 100
12 The Fellow of Delicacyp. 103
13 The Fellow of No Delicacyp. 107
14 The Honest Tradesmanp. 111
15 Knittingp. 118
16 Still Knittingp. 125
17 One Nightp. 132
18 Nine Daysp. 136
19 An Opinionp. 140
20 A Pleap. 145
21 Echoing Footstepsp. 147
22 The Sea Still Risesp. 155
23 Fire Risesp. 158
24 Drawn to the Loadstone Rockp. 163
Book 3 The Track of a Stormp. 175
1 In Secretp. 175
2 The Grindstonep. 183
3 The Shadowp. 187
4 Calm in Stormp. 190
5 The Wood-Sawyerp. 194
6 Triumphp. 198
7 A Knock at the Doorp. 202
8 A Hand at Cardsp. 206
9 The Game Madep. 214
10 The Substance of the Shadowp. 222
11 Duskp. 232
12 Darknessp. 234
13 Fifty-twop. 240
14 The Knitting Donep. 247
15 The Footsteps Die Out For Everp. 255
Essays