Book Guide

"Out of this fiery nightmare of violence and sacrifice and terror and nobility are certain scenes that have haunted me for almost fifty years," writes Clifton Fadiman in his afterword.

From the memorable cadences of the opening chapter, tolling the death knell of an age, to the knitting needles of Madame Defarge, to Sydney Carton's last moments, A Tale of Two Cities still stands as one of the most vivid and dramatic historic recreations in all of literature. The two cities are London and Paris; the time is the French Revolution. And against this background of reason and madness, love and hatred, hope and despair, Dickens tells his haunting tale. Individual lives bring shape to the loom of history—Charles Darnay, self-exiled aristocrat to whom the Revolution brings the threat of death; the implacable Madame Defarge to whom the Revolution offers ruthless revenge for ruthless injustice; Sydney Carton, a soul-sick English lawyer who finds his redemption as he sacrifices his life.

With great power and sensitivity Richard M. Powers' 15 full-page illustrations capture all the passion of political ferment—making a distinctive and creative contribution to one of the world's great books.

From the dust jacket of the Macmillan Classic Edition

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Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

1812 - 1870
British
Charles Dickens, born February 7, 1812, was the son of a government clerk. His parents, being rather incompetent in money matters, put little Charles ... See more
Hablot K. (

Hablot K. ("Phiz") Browne

1815-1882
British
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A Tale of Two Cities Reprint

A Tale of Two Cities
Reprinted in 2018 by The Folio Society
Available formats: Hardcover


A Tale of Two Cities Reprint

A Tale of Two Cities
Reprinted in 1984 by The Reader's Digest Association
Reprint illustrated by Hablot K. ("Phiz") Browne
Reprint foreword by Marjorie Housepian Dobkin
Available formats: Hardcover
Series: Reader's Digest The World's Best Reading Members Only
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The book was reprinted a few times and also had a brown cover and a red cover.


A Tale of Two Cities Reprint

A Tale of Two Cities
Reprinted in 1962 by The Macmillan Company
Reprint illustrated by Richard M. Powers
Reprint foreword by Clifton Fadiman
Available formats: Hardcover
Series: Macmillan Classics with Clifton Fadiman Members Only
Series Number: 17
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A Tale of Two Cities Reprint

A Tale of Two Cities
Reprinted by Grosset & Dunlap
Reprint illustrated by Rafaello Busoni
Available formats: Hardcover
Series: Illustrated Junior Library (Pictorial Covers) Members Only
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Content Guide

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Reviews

Plumfield and Paideia

A Tale of Two Cities
Reviewed by Sara Masarik
If David Copperfield is the story of how a man makes his life because of the choices he makes with regard to friends and marriage, and A Christmas Carol is the story of how a man makes heaven or hell of his life because of the choices he makes with regard to the guardedness of his heart, A Tale of Two Cities is a story of how a man (or in this one, several people) make their souls ripe for salvation through their submission to substantial sacrifice. It seems to me that most of Dickens’s writing is a morality tale of some kind or another, and that has a certain appeal to me. This one is among my favorites because it painfully and beautifully follows the journey of souls moving out of darkness and into light.

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Semicolon

A Tale of Two Cities
Reviewed by Sherry Early
The themes of death, burial, imprisonment, rescue and resurrection are woven throughout Dickens’ tale set during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. Doctor Manette is rescued from a living death inside the Bastille. Jerry Cruncher is a “resurrection man” who digs up dead bodies to sell them. Charles Darnay is rescued and recalled to life twice during the novel, once when he is on trial in England and again when he is headed for guillotine in France.

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