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[[ eBook ]] A Tale of Two CitiesAuthor Charles Dickens –

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 quite 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 wasappreciated 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 quite 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 quote, secrets abound and are slowly revealed Characters are drawn well, as one would naturally expect from Dickens, although I never quite 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 sighI 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, quickening nothing, lighting nothing, doing no service, idly burning awayThis 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 dreadThe 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 thereThe 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 cityEvery 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, equality, fraternity, or death the last, much the easiest to bestow, O GuillotineIt is heartless and pities no one, much like Madame Defarge I feel as if I should be providing ascholarly review of this tremendous work, but I m not quite up to the task and you can find a plethora of excellent anderudite reviews all over Goodreads I m really just here to express my personal reaction and feelings towards this one Quite simply, the writing is excellent, but the story itself failed to grab me initially At this same time last year, I read Les Mis rables 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 quite a bitat 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 5Crush 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 It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done it is a far, far better rest that I got to than I have ever known Sydney Carton is the bravest and best soul in this book And this says quite something because it is full of brave and gentle souls What an ending Full RTC soon I need to digest this first Urgh 3 Things 1 I m finally doing this and I got myself some backup XDThis book always kind of intimidated me but I think with the help of this awesome boy I ll eventually manage to read it Thank you so much for doing this buddy read with me 2 Yesh I can t wait to know what Will and Tessa meant when they compared themselves to characters from A Tale of Two Cities I m sure my reread of Clockwork Angel later on this year will make so muchsense after reading this lol 3 It s Charles Dickens, AND it s about time I finally read one of his books . 151859 500 Charles Dickens is a demanding writer The narratives ofGreat Expectations andOliver Twistare relaxed and simple when compared to this Reading Dickens requires 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 quirkiness 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 grotesque, ridiculous and, at times, the plain mad, are where his real master strokes of penmanship come through.That 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 againI 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 theintense 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. 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 school high school so it has been with me for about 25 years I figured it was about time to get to it.The 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 chore.Then I hit part three.It 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 did.Also, 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 quotes in literature, I didn t realize that the famous quote 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. 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 blandnoblesse obligeculminates in not his hoped for heroic moment, but a moment of quiet dignity that is most moving for its humility Even Lucie s banker reaches dizzying heights of heroic accomplishment when Dickens appoints the quiet businessman the vehicle for an entire family s escape from the guillotine.It 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, superhuman.And when Sydney Carton, in equal 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. 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 Terror 2003 1347 300 1346 436 1355 570 1362 520 1363 197 1368 180 1368 130 1370 225 1370 171 1374 141 1377 480 1381 482 1389 96 1389 698 1393 165 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 frequently poked fun at them in his writing He travelled extensively, and wherever he went he carried his friend, Thomas Carlyle sHistory 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 ratherthan 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 withgravitas, Dickens tried to curb, or at least subdue, some of his own habits of fanciful imagination After criticism of his earlier slips inBarnaby 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, bothusual 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 quirky 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 usingRecalled to Lifeas the book s titleBuried 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 soOf 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 quite 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 spoiler Sidney 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 Hundreds, thousands of stories long to have a quotable verse, just one Tale of Two Cities, Dickens masterpiece as far as I m concerned, is bookended by two of the most recognizable quotes 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. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Or Death The Last, Much The Easiest To Bestow, O GuillotineAfter 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 Tranquil 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 GuillotineThis Edition Uses The Text As It Appeared In Its Serial Publication InTo 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 Back Cover