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A Tale of Two Cities (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Charles Dickens , Andrew Sanders
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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A Tale of Two Cities (Oxford World's Classics) A Tale of Two Cities (Oxford World's Classics) 4.4 out of 5 stars (66)
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Book Description

5 Mar 1998 Oxford World's Classics
As the the bicentennary of the French Revolution draws near, Dickens' historical novel serves as a timely reminder of nineteenth-century reactions to that great upheaval. Set between 1757 and 1793, A Tale of Two Cities views the causes and effects of the Revolution from an essentially private point of view, showing how private experience relates to public history. Dickens' characters are fictional, and their political activity is minimal, yet all are drawn towards the Paris of the Terror, and all become caught up in its web of human suffering and human sacrifice. This edition includes extensive explanatory notes giving crucial background information about the Revolution and Dickens' sources. `the best story I have written' Charles Dickens

Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (5 Mar 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192833901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192833907
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 12.6 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,325,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"I've come to prefer Oxford's editions of my texts because of the usefulness of the explanatory notes and above all the inclusion of vital contextual information about publishing practices (serialization dates, etc.) and historical background that are essential to my nethod of instruction."--Prof. Martha Holmes, Univ. of Colorado

Book Description

With an exclusive introduction by Peter Ackroyd, these out of print editions are brought back to life with a fresh and timeless new look. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I will never, the rest of my life forget these two sentences. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...." and at closing "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."

Wow, this is not your usual Dickens. No quirky characters with strange names and laugh out loud moments, just a darn good story -- the story of two cities, London and Paris. It is difficult to put the plot into words, but when the book begins you are in London at the time of the American revolution and spies (or suspected spies) abound, and the story eventually switches to France prior to and during the French revolution.

Dickens does a marvelous job (as always) of building his story one step at a time and slowly peeling back the layers one at a time. This is not a put down and pick it up a week later kind of a book, it is very intense and complicated and you have to pay close attention. I was just floored at how he sucked me in with his descriptions of the mobs, terror and the madness of the revolution leading you to a nail biting finish. I admit to holding my breath during those last few pages!

Highly recommended, and well worth the time to discover (or rediscover) an old classic.
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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turbulent times in London and Paris 27 April 2005
By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE
The period from 1775 - the outbreak of the American Revolution - to 1789 - the storming of the Bastille - is the turbulent setting of this uncharacteristic Dickens novel. It is his only novel that lacks comic relief, is one of only two that are not set in nineteenth-century England and is also unusual in lacking a primary central character. London and Paris are the real protagonists in this tale, much as the cathedral was the 'hero' of Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris. Dickens was writing at a time of great turmoil in his personal life, having just separated from his wife, and no doubt the revolutionary theme was in tune with his mental state.
The result is a complex, involving plot with some of the best narrative writing to be found anywhere, and the recreation of revolutionary Paris is very convincing. The device of having two characters that look identical may seem hackneyed to modern readers, but it is here employed with greater plausibility than in Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson or Collins's The Woman in White.
Dickens was inspired to write this story by reading Carlyle's newly published history of the French Revolution. Those events and their aftermath stood in relation to their time much as World Wars I and II do to ours, that is, fading from living memory into history, yet their legacy still very much with us. In many nineteenth-century novels, especially Russian and British works, you get a sense of unease among the aristocracy that the revolution will spread to their own back yard. In the case of Russia, of course, it eventually did.
I have often recommended A Tale of Two Cities as a good introduction to Dickens for younger readers. This is based on my own experiences, because it was a set book in my English Literature class when I was 15 and I remember thoroughly enjoying it. Yes, it is challenging, with its somewhat archaic language and its slow development, but you cannot progress to an enjoyment of great literature without being challenged.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible! 14 Oct 2001
By A Customer
In most of his novels, Charles Dickens sticks to one central theme - love. "A Tale of Two Cities" faithfully adheers to this principle, yet, as with every Dickens book, retains a certain individuality and freshness.
The story is perhaps a little slow to start, but that matters little. Not only is it difficult to stop reading the novel after a while, given the many little mysteries Dickens hints at throughout, but it is next to impossible not to be absorbed into the lives of the central characters and feel a certain closeness to them. It also notable that the devoted love displayed by so many of the novels cast does not seem at all implausable or out of place, despite the cold and uncaring backdrop used - the French Revolution
"A Tale Of Two Cities" leaves you feeling both thourghly happy and extremely sad, such is the skill with which Charles Dickens - beyond any doubt a master of his craft - tells this moving tale.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Kindle. 20 Nov 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This review will not focus on plot specifics or characters, which have been described very well earlier, but on what Dickens can offer a modern reader.

Well thanks to the free/low priced classics available on my new Kindle I have been tempted at last to try a Dickens.
As a voracious reader of modern British and foreign novels I had nonetheless been intimidated to an extent at the thought of reading Dickens and could not have been more wrong.

As a description of the "madness of crowds" during the French Revolution, whilst at the same time bringing the back stories of the individuals caught up in the events into focus.

As well as the famous first chapeter and the last which I found incredibly moving the whole book revealed the brilliance of Dickens' writing in both and observational and stylistic sense.There is humour and cynicism in the book as well as the developing drama around the main characters and i would heartily recommend this book to anyone (like myself) who was uncertain as to whether Dickens could still be enjoyable or relevant today.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great novel!
The story was totally absorbing,good characterization,a social history of the rebellious times in France. Read more
Published 1 month ago by R. J. Harding
5.0 out of 5 stars Great audiobook
Not be faulted. A wonderful story, told in a wonderful way, and reasonably priced as well. Great for long journeys and a perfect introduction to Dickens.
Published 2 months ago by LadyJaguar
5.0 out of 5 stars An audiobook triumph!
I read A Tale of Two Cities for the first and last time at at school, far too long ago to have remembered more than the barest outline of the story. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Em
5.0 out of 5 stars Indescribable and unforgettable
In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens has written one of the most unforgettable books of the history of literature. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A. Harsono
5.0 out of 5 stars classy classic
Loved this and so nice to see it with the original illustrations which really are nice looking. A rip roaring adventure and one of my fave dickens so far.
Published 12 months ago by Jim..
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Charles Dickens
I love the book. It is my favourite Charles Dickens and is an excellent commentary on the French Revolution. I have read it many, many times.
Published 12 months ago by bri
5.0 out of 5 stars My only Charles Dickens read-up to now.
How to describe it- Classic historical story . It has everything you could want, the French revolution, romance and the je ne sais quoi of the period
Published 13 months ago by dennis hutchinson
5.0 out of 5 stars review
Still a wonderful story with its own twists and turns. Once you get used to Dickens' more exaggerated style of description it reads well.
Published 13 months ago by chriscanteris
1.0 out of 5 stars Audio Book without audio
Having just bought a Kindle Fire HD I wanted to use it for audio book listening, but it appears that I can only do this if I agree to take out a monthly subscription with Audible. Read more
Published 13 months ago by MGB
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
"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. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
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