A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With well over 200 million copies sold, it ranks among the most famous works in the history of fictional literature.
The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the Frencharistocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period. It follows the lives of several protagonists through these events. The most notable are Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. Darnay is a French once-aristocrat who falls victim to the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution despite his virtuous nature, and Carton is a dissipated English barrister who endeavours to redeem his ill-spent life out of hisunrequited love for Darnay's wife. The 45-chapter novel was published in 31 weekly installments in Dickens' new literary periodical titled All the Year Round. From April 1859 to November 1859, Dickens also republished the chapters as eight monthly sections in green covers. All but three of Dickens' previous novels had appeared only as monthly installments. The first weekly installment of A Tale of Two Cities ran in the first issue of All the Year Round on 30 April 1859. The last ran thirty weeks later, on 26 November.
Book the First: Recalled to Life
Mr. Jarvis Lorry and Miss Lucie Manette travel to Saint Antoine, a suburb of Paris, and meet Monsieur Defarge and Madame Defarge. The Defarges operate a wine shop which they use to lead a clandestine band of revolutionaries; they refer to each other by the codename "Jacques," which Charles Dickens drew from the Jacobins, an actual French revolutionary group.
Monsieur Defarge was Dr. Manette's servant before his incarceration, and now takes care of him, so he takes them to see the doctor. Because of his long imprisonment, Dr. Manette entered a form of psychosis obsessed with making shoes, a trade he had learned while in prison. At first, he does not recognize his daughter; but he eventually compares her long golden hair with her mother's, a strand of which he found on his sleeve when he was incarcerated and kept, and notices their identical blue eye color. Mr. Lorry and Miss Manette then take him back to England.
|Illustrator||Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz)|
|Cover artist||Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz)|
|Series||Weekly: 30 April 1859 - 26 November 1859 |
|Publisher||London: Chapman & Hall|