A Tale of Two Cities
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. So begins one of the best-known works of fiction ever, full stop. Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities follows London and Paris in the years immediately preceding and immediately following the 1789 French Revolution.
Taking as its inspiration a non-fiction account of the revolution by Thomas Carlyle, A Tale… is not your typically-tragicomic Dickens, but an attempt to tell the real dynamics of the revolution in story form. The brutality of the pre-revolutionary monarchy and the widespread immiseration of the French peasantry; the revolution’s fall from righteous rage and hope to indiscriminate murderousness in the years after 1789; the parellels Dickens recognized in the England of the same time – this is Dickens weaving personal tales out of Carlyle’s anlaysis of the lives of states and populations as cycles of destruction, re-birth, destruction.
150 years and 200 million copies later, there are few novels that can match its legacy.
- Wiki on A Tale of Two Cities and Charles Dickens
- Complete text of A Tale of Two Cities
- Thomas Carlyle’s The French Revolution