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A Tale of Two Cities : Wordsworth Classics - Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities

Wordsworth Classics

By: Charles Dickens, Hablot K. Browne, (Phiz) (Illustrator), Peter Merchant (Introduction by), Dr. Keith Carabine (Editor)


Published: September 1995
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This novel traces the private lives of a group of people caught up in the cataclysm of the French Revolution and the Terror. Dicken's based his historical detail on Carlyle's "The French Revolution", and his own observations and investigations during his numerous visits to Paris.

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

One of the grand masters of Victorian literature

Charles Dickens was born at Portsmouth on 7 February 1812, the second of eight children. Dickens's childhood experiences were similar to those depicted in David Copperfield. His father, who was a government clerk, was imprisoned for debt and Dickens was briefly sent to work in a blacking warehouse at the age of twelve.

He received little formal education, but taught himself shorthand and became a reporter of parliamentary debates for the Morning Chronicle. He began to publish sketches in various periodicals, which were subsequently republished as Sketches by Boz. The Pickwick Papers were published in 1836–7 and after a slow start became a publishing phenomenon and Dickens's characters the centre of a popular cult.

Part of the secret of his success was the method of cheap serial publication which Dickens used for all his novels. He began Oliver Twist in 1837, followed by Nicholas Nickleby (1838) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840–41).After finishing Barnaby Rudge (1841) Dickens set off for America; he went full of enthusiasm for the young republic but, in spite of a triumphant reception, he returned disillusioned. His experiences are recorded in American Notes (1842). Martin Chuzzlewit (1843–4) did not repeat its predecessors' success but this was quickly redressed by the huge popularity of the Christmas Books, of which the first, A Christmas Carol, appeared in 1843.

During 1844–6 Dickens travelled abroad and he began Dombey and Son while in Switzerland. This and David Copperfield (1849–50) were more serious in theme and more carefully planned than his early novels. In later works, such as Bleak House (1853) and Little Dorrit (1857), Dickens's social criticism became more radical and his comedy more savage.

In 1850 Dickens started the weekly periodical Household Words, succeeded in 1859 by All the Year Round; in these he published Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Great Expectations (1860–61). Dickens's health was failing during the 1860s and the physical strain of the public readings which he began in 1858 hastened his decline, although Our Mutual Friend (1865) retained some of his best comedy.

His last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was never completed and he died on 9 June 1870. Public grief at his death was considerable and he was buried in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey.

A Note on our choice

The Works of Charles Dickens are available in many different editions, published by many different publishers.

The Booktopia Book Guru has recommended the Penguin Black Classic paperback editions here, as Australian readers have had a long established relationship with the Penguin Black Classic editions, with their informative and erudite introductions and notes.

There are, however, other options (see the series tab below). Both Oxford Classics and Vintage Classics publish Dickens, with notes and introductions. As do many US publishing houses.

Wordsworth Classics publish cheaper, no frills, editions of the classics, Dickens included, but the cheapest option, for those who have don’t want to read the classics but have to in order to pass a course, the US publisher, Dover, issues a thrift edition: these are cheap and cheerful, read and discard productions, which offer nothing but the text.

Visit Charles Dickens's Booktopia Author Page

ISBN: 9781853260391
ISBN-10: 1853260398
Series: Wordsworth Classics
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: September 1995
Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.22