Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
Tellson & Co
Tellson & Co. English merchant bank with branches in London and Paris. The bank’s London office is dark, ugly, and staffed by old-fashioned bankers. Dickens describes the bank as resembling both a prison and a grave. As the oldest bank in England, Tellson’s is a symbol not only of English economic dominance but also of resistance to change. The bank’s London office is located “in the shadow” of Temple Bar, a large stone gateway which was used until 1780 to display on spikes the heads of executed criminals. The London office becomes a place of refuge for French aristocrats fleeing the violence of the revolution. In the yard of the bank’s Paris branch, the mob sharpens its weapons on a large grindstone, while the blood of already-executed victims drips from their clothes.
For Dickens, England is peaceful only on the exterior. Like France, it suffers from cruelty and widespread oppression of the majority of its population. The Old Regime in Europe comprises an upper class resistant to change and high-handed kings attempting to maintain the status quo. Dickens models Tellson’s Bank on Child and Company (founded in the seventeenth century on 1 Fleet Street and Thelusson’s Bank in Paris, in which a major financial adviser to King Louis XVI named Jacques Necker once worked).
*Saint Antoine (sah[n]-tahn-twahn). Poor and densely populated district in Paris’s...
(The entire section is 986 words.)
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Although A Tale of Two Cities takes place in a time some seventy years before Dickens was writing the novel, it does indirectly address contemporary issues with which the author was concerned. During the 1780s—the period in which the novel was set—England was a relatively peaceful and prosperous nation. Its national identity was caught up in a long war with France which the French Revolution first interrupted, then continued. The ideals of the French Revolution were imported to England by political and literary radicals such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Many people, especially the English aristocracy and middle classes, feared these revolutionary values, seeing in them a threat to their prosperous and stable way of life. However, although there were social inequities in England as well as in France, England also had a long tradition of peaceful social change. In addition, the country's political leaders were ven successful at uniting all classes of society in the struggle against Revolutionary France and its successor, the Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte.
Despite these successes, fears of revolutionary rhetoric and struggle persisted in England down to Dickens's own day. Other changes also embraced the country: the Industrial Revolution created a new wealthy class and brought a previously unknown...
(The entire section is 606 words.)
Dickens sets A Tale of Two Cities primarily in Paris and London during one of the most turbulent periods of European history, the French Revolution. The novel covers events between 1775 and 1793, referring also to incidents occurring before that time. The French Revolution began in 1789 and continued in various forms through at least 1795. Dickens takes most of his historical perspective from The French Revolution (1837), a three-volume description and philosophical discussion by his friend Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle's view was not objective or well documented; his intention was argumentative and dramatic. He portrays vividly the suffering of the poor and especially the Reign of Terror, best symbolized by the guillotine. Dickens greatly admired Carlyle and his work, and he read The French Revolution many times. Like Carlyle, Dickens cared less for accurate history and factual presentation than for vivid descriptions and the meanings he found behind the events. He did not concern himself with the revolution's immediate political or economic causes but focused on the human suffering that he believed warped the very humanity of individuals on both sides of the battle lines.
On the eve of the French Revolution, national debts and aristocratic unwillingness to sacrifice forced heavy tax increases on a populace already living at near-subsistence levels. Bickering between King Louis XVI and leading aristocrats revealed that the king could not...
(The entire section is 504 words.)
Book the First, Chapters 1, 2 and 3 Questions and Answers
1. What are the two cities of the novel’s title?
2. What purpose does the comparison of England and France serve?
3. What further comparison is implied by the connection of England and France?
4. Why is the coachman nervous when he hears a horse approaching?
5. What is the man on horseback’s true purpose, and what exchange takes place?
6. What does the narrator reflect upon concerning humankind?
7. For how long has the man in Jarvis Lorry’s thoughts been buried?
8. What else do we know of this man who has been “buried”?
9. Why is this all of the information the reader has on this subject?
10. How does this scene end?
1. The two cities are Paris and London.
2. It serves to show that people are very similar, no matter where they are.
3. This connection makes the larger point that Dickens’ readers are not much different from people during the time of the French Revolution.
4. The coachman fears that it may be a highwayman wanting to rob them.
5. He has a message for Jarvis Lorry: “Wait at Dover for Mam’selle.” Lorry, in return, gives him the message: “RECALLED TO LIFE.”
6. The narrator reflects on the fact that no person can really know another person.
7. He has been buried for 18 years....
(The entire section is 254 words.)
Book the First, Chapter 4 Questions and Answers
1. What does Mr. Lorry do upon arrival in Dover?
2. Whom does Lorry meet here, and what plans do they make?
3. How does Lorry begin to tell Lucie that her father is not dead?
4. Why does he employ this method?
5. Why does Lorry insist to Lucie that all of his relations are mere business relations?
6. What does Lucie say upon learning that she is going to see her father?
7. What are the two conditions concerning Dr. Manette?
8. What is Lucie’s reaction to this?
9. Who comes into the room at this point to help Lucie?
10. What is problematic about this portrayal of Lucie Manette?
1. He checks into the Royal George Hotel and takes a nap.
2. Lorry meets Lucie Manette here, and they make plans to go to France concerning some property of her father. Since she thinks she is an orphan, she has asked the bank to provide her with an escort.
3. He begins to tell her the “story” of a man like her father, who did not die 18 years ago, but was imprisoned.
4. He fears that telling her that her father is alive may be more than she can handle.
5. She has grabbed his wrists in her fear. Lorry does not want to get personally involved; as a model of organization and frugality, he must keep his distance.
6. She says, “I am going to see...
(The entire section is 299 words.)
Book the First, Chapter 5 Questions and Answers
1. What is happening at the beginning of this chapter?
2. What does the man write on the wall? What does this foreshadow?
3. What kind of town is Saint Antoine?
4. Who are the proprietors of the wine-shop?
5. What is the significance of the name “Jacques”?
6. What is the impression of Madame Defarge from this chapter?
7. Why does Defarge show Dr. Manette to the “Jacques”?
8. Where is Dr. Manette being held?
9. What is Lucie’s reaction upon seeing him?
10. What is Dr. Manette doing when they enter his room?
1. A cask of wine has broken open on the street of a Paris suburb. All of the townspeople are engaged in drinking the wine and staining themselves with its red color.
2. He writes “BLOOD.” This anticipates the real blood that will be spilled in the name of revolution.
3. Saint Antoine is described as a place full of “cold, dark, sickness, ignorance, and want.”
4. The proprietors of the wine-shop are Ernest and Therese Defarge.
5. The peasants adopted this name from what the nobility called them. They turned a derogatory name into one that helped give them a sense of common purpose.
6. She is “stout” and ominous; she can be seen as the polar opposite of the diffident Lucie Manette.
(The entire section is 255 words.)
Book the First, Chapter 6 Questions and Answers
1. What is Dr. Manette’s condition?
2. What does Dr. Manette say his name is?
3. What is the significance of what he says?
4. What helps Dr. Manette begin to remember his past?
5. How soon do they decide to leave France?
6. Why does Mr. Lorry refer to “business” again?
7. What is Lucie’s “strength” in this chapter?
8. What is the importance of Dr. Manette returning to the shoe he is making?
9. What does Mr. Lorry say to Dr. Manette?
10. What is the nature of Dr. Manette’s reply? What function does his reply serve regarding the plot?
1. Dr. Manette is weak and feeble. He cannot remember his past; he cannot even remember his name.
2. He says “One Hundred and Five, North Tower.”
3. This is the number of his prison cell and an illustration of how his long imprisonment has stolen his identity.
4. Lucie shows that she loves him by showering him with affection.
5. They decide to leave France immediately.
6. He refers to “business” because he may be trying to deny that he is forming a personal connection with the Manettes.
7. Her strength is that her love is able to do good–for instance, helping her father remember his past.
8. This shows that he has a long way to go in recalling...
(The entire section is 251 words.)
Book the Second, Chapters 1 and 2 Questions and Answers
1. How is Tellson’s Bank described at the beginning of the chapter?
2. What is the eighteenth century view of the death penalty in England?
3. Why does Jerry Cruncher call his wife “a conceited female,” and what is her reaction to this?
4. What is the significance of the striking physical resemblance between Jerry Cruncher and his son?
5. Why is there such a large crowd in the courtroom?
6. What does Jerry Cruncher ask the man who assumes that Darnay will be found guilty?
7. Why do all eyes in the courtroom turn to Lucie Manette?
8. How is Lucie Manette different from those around her in the courtroom?
9. How is this strength undermined?
10. On what suspenseful note does the chapter end?
1. Tellson’s Bank is an unchanging, old-fashioned place, proud of its dirtiness and ugliness.
2. The death penalty was in great use for even minor crimes.
3. He calls her conceited because he assumes that she thinks her prayers are worth something. She tells him that the prayers come from her heart, and that is all that they are worth.
4. This shows that young Jerry will probably end up just like his father, stuck rigidly in a low social class.
5. The crowd is large because many people wish to see a public execution.
6. He asks...
(The entire section is 305 words.)
Book the Second, Chapter 3 Questions and Answers
1. What does the Attorney-General say about the prisoner in his opening statements?
2. Who are the two witnesses that the Attorney-General says will incriminate Darnay?
3. How does Stryver show that these two men are not credible witnesses?
4. Why is Lucie Manette called to the witness stand?
5. What did Darnay tell Lucie on the ship five years ago?
6. What leads to Darnay’s acquittal?
7. What problem concerning Dickens’ use of plot does this reveal?
8. What happens to Lucie Manette, once again, in this chapter?
9. What is the final line of this chapter?
10. What are the implications of this line?
1. He says that the prisoner has been engaged in secret business between France and England for at least the past five years.
2. One is described as a patriot who has been able to figure out what the prisoner has been doing; his name is John Barsad. The other is the prisoner’s former servant, Roger Cly.
3. He shows that Barsad has been in debtors’ prison and that he owes the prisoner money. Stryver proves that Cly is a thief who has been friends with Barsad for many years.
4. She is called to the witness stand because she talked to Darnay on a boat ride from France to England five years before.
5. He told her that he was conducting...
(The entire section is 304 words.)
Book the Second, Chapters 4 and 5 Questions and Answers
1. What is happening at the beginning of Chapter 4?
2. How does Darnay greet Lucie?
3. How does Dr. Manette look at Darnay? What does this mean?
4. What does their conversation reveal as the difference between Lorry and Carton?
5. What happens while Carton and Darnay are dining?
6. Why does Carton say that he hates Darnay?
7. Why do Stryver and Carton meet?
8. What does Carton say about Lucie?
9. What else does Carton complain about?
10. What does the final paragraph say about Sydney Carton?
1. Dr. Manette, Lucie, Lorry, and Stryver are congratulating Darnay on his acquittal.
2. He greets Lucie by kissing her hand.
3. He look at Darnay with “distrust,” “dislike,” and “fear.”
4. Lorry is a man of ambition who believes in “business,” while Carton, even though he has ability, lacks the desire to do anything.
5. Carton gets drunk and calls himself “a disappointed drudge.”
6. He says that he hates Darnay because Darnay reflects everything good that Carton could have been.
7. They meet because Carton does Stryver’s legal paperwork.
8. Carton calls Lucie “a golden-haired doll.”
9. Carton complains more about his life and that he is always behind everybody else....
(The entire section is 202 words.)
Book the Second, Chapter 6 Questions and Answers
1. Where is Mr. Lorry going at the beginning of this chapter?
2. What is the tone of this chapter?
3. Is Miss Pross’ claim that “hundreds of people” visit the house accurate?
4. What has Miss Pross’ brother done to her?
5. What has Dr. Manette kept as a reminder of his 18 years in prison?
6. Who else comes to the Manettes’ house on this Sunday?
7. What is odd about Dr. Manette’s house?
8. Of what is this symbolic?
9. What happens when a storm approaches?
10. What is foreshadowed by the storm?
1. He is on his way to dine with Lucie and Dr. Manette, with whom he has become friends.
2. This chapter starts out with a tone of quiet normality but conveys an ominous sense that this normality is about to be shattered.
3. No. In fact, only three visitors show up on this day.
4. He has stolen everything that she owns, yet she still holds him in high esteem.
5. He has kept his shoemaker’s bench and tools.
6. Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton are the other visitors.
7. The house has an acoustical property that allows distant footsteps to be heard as if they were up close.
8. These distant footsteps are symbolic of the danger that is coming to the people in the house.
9. The sound of...
(The entire section is 235 words.)
Book the Second, Chapters 7 and 8 Questions and Answers
1. What is the Marquis’ party like?
2. What does the Marquis believe about himself?
3. Describe what the Marquis looks like.
4. What happens as the Marquis is traveling to his chateau?
5. What is his reaction to this?
6. What does Defarge say to the distraught man in the nightcap?
7. What does Defarge do with the coin that the Marquis throws to him?
8. What does the mender of roads tell the Marquis?
9. What does this man represent?
10. How does this chapter end?
1. It is incredibly decadent, full of morally corrupt people who are only concerned with how they look.
2. He believes that “the earth and the fulness thereof are mine.”
3. He is 60 years old, with a cruel “face like a fine mask.”
4. His carriage runs over and kills a small child.
5. He blames the peasants and is so indifferent that he cares more about his horses.
6. He tells the man that the child is better off dead because it would have been impossible for the child to have a happy life.
7. He throws the coin at the carriage as it is driving away.
8. He tells the Marquis that a man was riding on the outside of the carriage.
9. He represents the fact that the nobility has no idea that the peasants have any power....
(The entire section is 226 words.)
Book the Second, Chapter 9 Questions and Answers
1. What is the Marquis’ chateau like?
2. What happens when the Marquis sits down to dinner?
3. What does this reveal about the Marquis?
4. Who is the nephew of the Marquis?
5. How does Darnay feel about the family name?
6. What does his uncle reply?
7. What is the larger issue at stake in this conversation?
8. What is the Marquis’ final word about class?
9. What does Darnay do concerning the property in France?
10. How does this chapter end?
1. His chateau is described as silent and made of stone.
2. He thinks that he hears somebody outside but quickly forgets about it.
3. It reveals that he thinks he is protected from any harm because of his class.
4. Charles Darnay is the Marquis’ nephew.
5. Darnay feels that the family name is feared and detested throughout France.
6. He tells Darnay: “Detestation of the high is the involuntary homage of the low.”
7. Darnay and the Marquis are debating the whole idea of class structure.
8. He feels that it is “Better to be a rational creature … and accept your natural destiny.”
9. He renounces the property, and he renounces France deciding that he wants to settle in England for good.
10. The chapter ends with the Marquis...
(The entire section is 202 words.)
Book the Second, Chapters 10 and 11 Questions and Answers
1. What is Charles Darnay’s occupation?
2. What does this reveal about his character?
3. What do Darnay and Dr. Manette discuss?
4. How does Dr. Manette react when Darnay tells him that he has a secret to reveal to him?
5. What does Dr. Manette do after Darnay leaves?
6. What does this reveal about Dr. Manette’s character?
7. How does Lucie help Dr. Manette when she finds him at the shoemaker’s bench?
8. What does Stryver wish to confide to Carton?
9. What is Stryver’s opinion of Carton?
10. Why is this opinion problematic?
1. He is a tutor of French language and literature.
2. This shows that he is industrious and that he has not forgotten his past in France.
3. They discuss Darnay’s intention to marry Lucie.
4. He tells Darnay to wait until the morning of the wedding to reveal his secret.
5. He returns to making shoes.
6. It shows that he cannot forget his past, either; his way of dealing with this past is by returning to it.
7. She takes his hand and walks with him for a long while.
8. He tells Carton that he intends to marry Lucie.
9. Stryver has a low opinion of Carton, telling him that he lacks social grace and is “an insensible dog.”
10. It reveals...
(The entire section is 225 words.)
Book the Second, Chapters 12 and 13 Questions and Answers
1. What does Stryver decide to do at the beginning of the chapter?
2. What is the gist of Stryver’s conversation with Lorry?
3. How does Stryver react to this?
4. What does this say about his character?
5. Is Lorry capable of having both a business life and a personal life?
6. What is Stryver’s final comment about Lucie?
7. Who pays a call on Lucie?
8. How does Carton look to Lucie?
9. What does Carton tell Lucie?
10. Why does Carton love Lucie?
1. He decides to tell Lucie of his intentions so that she may know she is going to be happy.
2. Lorry tells Stryver that he should not ask Lucie to marry him.
3. He proclaims that Lucie must be “a mincing fool” if she will not marry him.
4. It shows that he is very arrogant and bitter.
5. Yes, he finally is. He achieves this by making a clear distinction between business and friendship.
6. He says that “you cannot control … the giddinesses of empty-headed girls.”
7. Sydney Carton pays a call of Lucie.
8. He looks ill and she asks what she can do to help him.
9. He tells her that he loves her and that he is willing to die for her.
10. From the evidence given, it must be because of her “sweet compassion.”
(The entire section is 211 words.)
Book the Second, Chapter 14 Questions and Answers
1. What passes by Tellson’s Bank?
2. What is the crowd shouting?
3. What does the crowd do after the body is put in the ground?
4. Mr. Cruncher takes what tools with him when he goes out later that night?
5. Why does young Jerry follow his father? What does he find out?
6. What does Mrs. Cruncher think of her husband’s “occupation”?
7. How does Mr. Cruncher view his “occupation”?
8. Why does young Jerry ask his father what a resurrection-man is?
9. What is comedic about this chapter?
10. Whose body could be inferred to have been dug up?
1. A funeral procession, followed by a large mob.
2. They are shouting “Spies! Pull ‘em out!”
3. They proceed to go on a rampage of violence and looting until a rumor spreads that the guard is coming.
4. He takes a crowbar, a sack, and some rope and chain.
5. He is curious as to his father’s “business.” He finds his father digging up a grave.
6. She thinks it is a “dreadful business.”
7. He calls himself “an honest tradesman.”
8. It is young Jerry’s way of letting his father know that he approves of the grave-robbing business.
9. Mr. Cruncher actually believes that grave-robbing is an honest trade; thus he fits the...
(The entire section is 221 words.)
Book the Second, Chapter 15 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Defarge bring the mender of roads to the wine-shop?
2. Who presents the petition to the King and what was the result?
3. What does it mean to be “registered?”
4. How is this register kept secret?
5. Where do the Defarges take the mender of roads?
6. How does the mender of roads act?
7. Why is Ernest Defarge happy with the way the mender of roads acts?
8. What does Madame Defarge say about dolls and birds?
9. To whom is she referring?
10. How does this scene end?
1. He brings the mender of roads to the wine-shop, so that the mender of roads can hear the whole story of the man in the nightcap.
2. Ernest Defarge presented the petition to the King; it was ignored and the man was executed.
3. A person who is registered is marked to be killed when the revolution arrives.
4. Madame Defarge secretly knits the register in code.
5. They take him to see the King and Queen pass by.
6. He joins in the applause for the King and Queen.
7. He is happy because he feels that this adoration will lull the nobility into a false sense of security, thus allowing the revolution to begin sooner.
8. She tells the mender of roads that he would naturally attack the finest birds and dolls if it were to his...
(The entire section is 244 words.)
Book the Second, Chapter 16 Questions and Answers
1. Why do the Defarges go to Paris?
2. What do they learn there?
3. What is distinctive about John Barsard?
4. Why does Madame Defarge put a rose in her hat?
5. What is Madame Defarge doing while she speaks with Barsard?
6. What does Barsard tell the Defarges about the Manettes?
7. How does Ernest Defarge react to this?
8. What would happen if Darnay and the Manettes were to come to France?
9. How does Madame Defarge feel about this?
10. What are Madame Defarge and the other women doing as the chapter ends?
1. They go to Paris to meet with “Jacques of the police.”
2. They learn that there is a spy in St. Antoine, by the name of John Barsard.
3. He has a crooked nose.
4. It is a signal to the Jacques that there is a suspicious stranger amongst them.
5. She is knitting his name, thus condemning him to death.
6. He tells them that Lucie Manette is going to marry the nephew of the Marquis.
7. He hopes that the Manettes stay in England.
8. They would be killed as nobility when the revolution arrived.
9. She is indifferent, saying only that they are registered.
10. They are “knitting, knitting, counting dropping heads.”
(The entire section is 196 words.)
Book the Second, Chapters 17 and 18 Questions and Answers
1. Of what do Lucie and her father assure each other on the night before her wedding?
2. What does Dr. Manette speak of for the first time?
3. What does Lucie pray for that night?
4. How does Dr. Manette react to hearing Darnay’s secret?
5. Who is present at the wedding?
6. What does Dr. Manette say to Darnay after the wedding?
7. What does this reveal about Lucie’s character?
8. What does Dr. Manette do after Lucie and Charles leave?
9. How does Lorry react to this? What does he try to do?
10. How long does this go on?
1. They assure each other that Lucie’s marriage will only make them closer.
2. He speaks of his 18 years in prison.
3. She prays that she may be able to stay as devoted to her father as she now is.
4. He hides his distress well, but Lorry notices that something is wrong.
5. Besides Lucie, Charles, and Dr. Manette, only Lorry and Miss Pross are at the wedding.
6. He says, “Take her, Charles! She is yours!”
7. It reveals that her character is defined according to her relationship to the men around her.
8. He returns to “making shoes.”
9. He tries to talk to Dr. Manette, but soon realizes that it is useless. He can do nothing except keep watch over Dr....
(The entire section is 222 words.)
Book the Second, Chapters 19 and 20 Questions and Answers
1. What happens after Dr. Manette’s ninth day of making shoes?
2. How does Lorry approach Dr. Manette concerning his relapse?
3. What does Dr. Manette say about the cause of this relapse?
4. How does Lorry convince Manette to allow him to destroy the bench?
5. What is the symbolic nature of smashing the bench?
6. Who visits the couple upon their return from their honeymoon?
7. What do Carton and Darnay talk about?
8. What function does this serve?
9. What does Lucie ask her husband to do?
10. Why does she ask this of him?
1. He regains his composure and stops making shoes.
2. He tells Manette he wants to speak of “a curious case” that he knows of.
3. He says it is caused by an apprehension that the “subject” is unable to talk about.
4. He tells Manette that it should be done “for his daughter’s sake.”
5. It is symbolic of Dr. Manette’s attempt to put the past behind him.
6. Sydney Carton is their first visitor.
7. Carton and Darnay speak of the trial and the meal they shared afterwards.
8. It serves to clear the air concerning past events.
9. She asks him to be generous and kind to Carton and to not speak ill of him when he is not present.
10. She says that...
(The entire section is 229 words.)
Book the Second, Chapter 21 Questions and Answers
1. How many children does Lucie have? What are their fates?
2. What does the death of the second child signify?
3. What else happens as six years pass?
4. What news does Mr. Lorry bring that marks the beginning of the end of normalcy?
5. What happens in Paris?
6. What does Ernest Defarge do in the midst of the storming of the Bastille?
7. Why is this important?
8. What does Madame Defarge do to the governor’s dead body?
9. What does the final paragraph of this chapter have to say about Lucie?
10. To what event does the final paragraph refer?
1. She has two children. The daughter lives and flourishes while her son dies at a young age.
2. His death shows that tragedy is always close by.
3. The six years pass calmly, and Lucie and her family build a quiet, uneventful domestic life.
4. Lorry tells them that there has been a run of confidence on Tellson’s because of the instability in France.
5. The peasants storm the Bastille.
6. He makes a guard take him to “One Hundred and Five, North Tower.”
7. It reveals that Dr. Manette’s imprisonment has deeply affected him.
8. She cuts off his head.
9. It states a hope that the events in France do not affect her quiet life in England....
(The entire section is 225 words.)
Book the Second, Chapters 22 and 23 Questions and Answers
1. How does Chapter 22 open?
2. What does Ernest Defarge tell the crowd at the wine-shop?
3. What is the result of this news?
4. How are the women who join Madame Defarge described?
5. What has Foulon said to the peasants before?
6. What is his fate?
7. Who joins him in this fate?
8. How could this relate to Charles Darnay?
9. How does Madame Defarge react towards Foulon?
10. What do the peasants do next?
1. Madame Defarge and The Vengeance are sitting in the wine-shop, knitting.
2. He tells them that Foulon has been captured.
3. A mob forms and proceeds to where Foulon is being imprisoned.
4. They are described as “mad” women who leave their children behind.
5. He has said of the starving peasants that they might eat grass.
6. His head winds up on a pike, with his mouth full of grass.
7. His son-in-law soon has his head on a pike, next to him.
8. It shows what may happen to Darnay, nephew of the Marquis, if he were to come to France.
9. She slowly kills him “as a cat might have done to a mouse.”
10. They burn down the Marquis’ chateau.
(The entire section is 186 words.)
Book the Second, Chapter 24 Questions and Answers
1. How many years have passed between chapters?
2. Why does Lorry decide to go to France?
3. Whom does he take with him?
4. What has happened to the French nobility?
5. What is Mr. Stryver’s opinion of the situation in France?
6. From whom does Charles Darnay receive a letter?
7. What decision does this letter lead Darnay to make?
8. Whom does he tell of his plans?
9. Why is this decision unbelievable?
10. What is the main function of this chapter?
1. Three years have passed.
2. He is going to help out at the chaotic Paris branch of Tellson’s Bank.
3. He takes only Jerry Cruncher with him.
4. They are exiled in England, planning how to get their country back.
5. He thinks that the peasants should all be killed.
6. He receives a letter from Gabelle, the Marquis’ functionary in France. Gabelle is now in prison.
7. Darnay decides to go to France to help Gabelle.
8. He keeps his plan secret, telling no one.
9. Darnay would have to be aware of the incredible danger he was putting himself in.
10. It serves to set up the action that will unfold in the novel’s final section.
(The entire section is 190 words.)
Book the Third, Chapter 1 Questions and Answers
1. What difficulties does Darnay meet at the beginning of his journey?
2. How does he finally reach Paris?
3. What decrees have been passed since Darnay has left England?
4. How is Darnay referred to by the officer in Paris?
5. Whom does Darnay meet in Paris?
6. What does Ernest Defarge say to Darnay?
7. What ominous phrase is connected with Darnay’s imprisonment?
8. What does Darnay learn of the King’s fate?
9. What does Darnay think of when in his cell?
10. What is this a reference to?
1. He is stopped innumerable times and forced to show his papers before he can proceed.
2. He reaches Paris under an armed escort.
3. Emigrants have lost all of their property rights and may be condemned to death.
4. He is referred to as “the prisoner.”
5. He meets Ernest Defarge.
6. He tells Darnay that he cannot help him because his allegiance is to the newly formed state.
7. The phrase is “in secret.”
8. He learns that the King has been imprisoned.
9. He thinks, “He made shoes, he made shoes, he made shoes.”
10. This is a reference to Dr. Manette’s long imprisonment.
(The entire section is 184 words.)
Book the Third, Chapters 2 and 3 Questions and Answers
1. Where is Tellson’s Paris branch located?
2. What is on the grounds of this house?
3. Who comes to France in this chapter?
4. What does Defarge bring to Mr. Lorry?
5. Where does Lorry take the Defarges?
6. Why does Madame Defarge accompany them?
7. Is this the only reason?
8. What does Lucie ask of Madame Defarge?
9. What does Madame Defarge reply?
10. What is Mr. Lorry thinking as the chapter ends?
1. It is located in a house that the republic has seized from a nobleman.
2. There is a grindstone on the grounds of the house.
3. Lucie, her daughter, Dr. Manette, and Miss Pross come to France.
4. He brings a note from Dr. Manette.
5. He takes them to see Lucie.
6. The reason given is that she may see them, so that they may be protected.
7. There are hints that Madame Defarge has another reason; she wants to see Lucie and the child so that she may register them.
8. She asks for her mercy concerning her husband.
9. She tells Lucie that one person’s suffering has become irrelevant.
10. He is greatly troubled as to Charles and Lucie’s future.
(The entire section is 186 words.)
Book the Third, Chapters 4 and 5 Questions and Answers
1. What does Dr. Manette keep secret from Lucie?
2. How does Dr. Manette gain influence with the new republic?
3. What is the slogan of this new republic?
4. What new device has led to more beheadings and how is this device described?
5. How does Lucie cope with her husband’s imprisonment?
6. What small consolation does Dr. Manette arrange for Lucie and Charles?
7. Where is the coincidental location of this spot?
8. What interest does the wood-sawyer take in Lucie?
9. Yet, who passes by this very spot soon after?
10. How does this chapter end?
1. He does not tell her that 1,100 prisoners have been killed in the past four days.
2. He takes advantage of his status as a martyr in the eyes of the new republic.
3. “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death.”
4. The guillotine is the device, and it is described as a “sharp female.”
5. She displays her “quietly loyal … and good” strength.
6. He arranges for Lucie to stand on a spot where Charles can see her from his prison window.
7. It is right outside the shop of the wood-sawyer, who used to be the mender of roads.
8. He outwardly claims that what she is doing is none of his business.
9. Madame Defarge appears at this spot....
(The entire section is 219 words.)
Book the Third Chapters 6 and 7 Questions and Answers
1. How is the court that tries Darnay described?
2. How does Darnay defend himself?
3. From whom did he learn to appeal to the court in this way?
4. What is the result of the trial?
5. To what can this courtroom scene be compared?
6. How does Lucie react upon seeing Charles?
7. What does Lucie do next?
8. What happens when Charles and Lucie return to their apartment?
9. How has this happened?
10. What mystery does the chapter end on?
1. It is a horrid place that looks as if “the felons were trying the honest men.”
2. He reminds the court that he is the son-in-law of Dr. Manette and he appeals directly to the crowd’s emotions.
3. Dr. Manette advised him to proceed in this way.
4. Darnay is acquitted.
5. It can easily be compared to Darnay’s earlier trial in England.
6. She collapses “insensible” into his arms.
7. She recovers and offers a prayer to God.
8. Four soldiers show up and arrest Charles again.
9. The Defarges have denounced him.
10. It ends by saying that there is a third person who has denounced Darnay, but it does not reveal who this third person is.
(The entire section is 189 words.)
Book the Third, Chapter 8 Questions and Answers
1. Who does Miss Pross see in the wine-shop?
2. What does Jerry Cruncher ask Solomon Pros, and what is this a reference to?
3. Who provides Jerry with an answer to his question?
4. What does Carton want with Barsad?
5. What do they discuss there?
6. What does Jerry Cruncher reveal about Roger Cly?
7. How does Barsad explain this?
8. To whom does Carton refer to in his comment about crowds and what is the point of this?
9. What does Barsad tell Carton after Carton questions Barsad’s access to the prison?
10. How does this chapter end?
1. She sees her long-lost brother, Solomon.
2. He asks Pross what his name was back in England when he was a spy-witness at Charles Darnay’s trial.
3. The just-arrived-in-France Sydney Carton states Barsad’s name.
4. He wants Barsad to accompany him to Tellson’s Bank.
5. They discuss why Carton has power over Barsad.
6. He reveals that Roger Cly was not in the coffin that Barsad claims he was in.
7. He says that Cly had to fake his death or risk being murdered by an unruly mob.
8. It refers to Charles Darnay’s being carried home on the shoulders of a crowd, only to be arrested again.
9. He tells Carton that an escape is impossible.
(The entire section is 227 words.)
Book the Third, Chapter 9 Questions and Answers
1. Why is Mr. Lorry angry with Jerry Cruncher?
2. What deal has Sydney Carton worked out with Barsad?
3. What is Lorry’s reaction to this?
4. Where does Carton go after he leaves Lorry?
5. What does he do there?
6. What does Carton do for the rest of the night?
7. What goes through his head during this long night?
8. Where had he first heard these words?
9. Who is the mysterious third person who has denounced Charles Darnay?
10. How has this denunciation come about?
1. Lorry feels that Cruncher has imposed on Tellson’s Bank by being a grave-robber as well as an odd job man for the bank.
2. He has ensured access to Charles Darnay, once.
3. He says that this can do the prisoner no good.
4. He goes to a chemist’s shop.
5. He buys two chemicals that are dangerous when mixed together.
6. He wanders the streets of Paris.
7. He keeps thinking, “I am the resurrection.”
8. He first heard these words of the Lord at his father’s funeral.
9. The mysterious third person is Alexandre Manette.
10. Ernest Defarge produces a paper that is said to hold this denunciation.
(The entire section is 187 words.)
Book the Third, Chapter 10 Questions and Answers
1. What does this chapter consist of?
2. How do the two men who take Dr. Manette to the “patients” get him to enter the carriage?
3. Who are the two patients?
4. How has the boy received his wound?
5. What is this boy’s fate?
6. What becomes of his sister?
7. What important fact does Dr. Manette not learn?
8. To whom does Dr. Manette confide his secret?
9. How does Dr. Manette learn the name of the two evil brothers?
10. What is the result of the reading of this letter?
1. The bulk of this chapter is a reproduction of the letter Dr. Manette wrote while he was imprisoned.
2. The two men are armed, so Dr. Manette has no choice but to go with them.
3. A young peasant boy with a wound in his chest and his 20-year-old sister who is “in high fever.”
4. The younger of the two brothers has stabbed him.
5. He dies after denouncing the two men and their family name.
6. She dies a week later.
7. He does not learn the names of the brother and sister.
8. He writes a letter to his minister.
9. The wife of the elder brother comes to him, asking him to help her make atonement. She tells Dr. Manette their name.
10. Charles Darnay is condemned to die in 24 hours.
(The entire section is 214 words.)
Book the Third, Chapters 11 and 12 Questions and Answers
1. What does Lucie ask of the crowd at the trial?
2. Who helps Lucie when she faints?
3. What does Little Lucie say to Carton?
4. What happens to Dr. Manette in this chapter?
5. What does Carton learn about Madame Defarge while he is at the wine-shop?
6. What is ironic about this revelation?
7. What are Madame Defarge’s plans for Dr. Manette and Lucie?
8. What does Carton tell Lorry to do?
9. What does Carton give to Lorry?
10. What is the final condition that Carton gives Lorry?
1. She asks them to let her touch her husband for one last time.
2. Sydney Carton helps Lucie.
3. She says that she knows Carton will save her father.
4. He relapses into his shoemaking ways of prison.
5. He learns that she is the sister of those who were wronged by the Evremondes.
6. It reveals that she had personal motives when she earlier stated that individuals do not matter in the revolution.
7. She plans to denounce both of them.
8. He tells Lorry to reserve a coach for two o’clock the next afternoon.
9. He gives him certificates that will allow Carton, Dr. Manette, and Lucie to leave France.
10. He tells Lorry, “Wait for nothing but to have my place occupied, and then to England!”
(The entire section is 207 words.)
Book the Third, Chapter 13 Questions and Answers
1. How many prisoners are awaiting their deaths?
2. What does Darnay do once he resigns himself to dying?
3. Who is not in Darnay’s mind at all?
4. What does Sydney Carton tell Darnay?
5. How does Carton then proceed with his plan?
6. Whom does Carton call into the room to carry Darnay out?
7. Who does Carton meet as he awaits death?
8. What does this woman say to Carton?
9. What is Carton’s reply?
10. How does this chapter end?
1. Fifty-two prisoners are awaiting death.
2. He sits down and writes letters to Lucie, Dr. Manette, and Mr. Lorry.
3. Darnay does not think of Sydney Carton.
4. He tells Darnay that he comes with an urgent entreaty from Darnay’s wife.
5. He knocks Darnay out with the chemicals he purchased earlier.
6. Carton call John Barsad into the room.
7. He meets a woman who knew Darnay in the prison, La Force.
8. She asks him if he is dying for Evremonde (Darnay).
9. Carton replies that he is dying for him and his wife and child.
10. It ends with Lorry, Lucie, her daughter, Dr. Manette, and Darnay driving towards England.
(The entire section is 184 words.)
Book the Third, Chapters 14 and 15 Questions and Answers
1. What does Madame Defarge decide at the beginning of the chapter?
2. Where does Madame Defarge then go?
3. What do we learn about Madame Defarge as she makes her way to Lucie’s apartment?
4. Whom does Madame Defarge meet at Lucie’s apartment?
5. What happens at the apartment?
6. What is the result of this struggle?
7. What does Jerry Cruncher do in this chapter?
8. What does Sydney Carton think of as he awaits the guillotine?
9. What are his thoughts regarding the future?
10. What are Sydney Carton’s final thoughts regarding his life?
1. She decides that Lucie, her daughter, and Dr. Manette all must die.
2. She proceeds to Lucie’s apartment.
3. We learn that she is a strong woman who has no pity because of the past treatment of her family.
4. Miss Pross is the only person there.
5. Madame Defarge tries to leave but Miss Pross blocks the door.
6. Madame Defarge is shot, she dies, and Miss Pross is rendered deaf.
7. He repents for all of his past sins.
8. He thinks of Lucie’s family as it will be in the future.
9. Carton is comforted by the idea that he will always be remembered by them.
10. They are, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever...
(The entire section is 229 words.)
The chief characteristic of A Tale of Two Cities that sets it apart from Dickens's other novels is its historical setting. Most of the author's works comment on contemporary English society; A Tale of Two Cities does this, too, but not as directly as, say, David Copperfield or Great Expectations. Dickens contrasts late eighteenth-century Paris and London both to advance the plot and to draw conclusions about the nature of freedom and the redeeming power of love. The novel begins in England, and most of the first book takes place in that country. In the second book, chapters alternate between the English and the French settings, and the third is set almost entirely in France. "At the beginning of the novel," writes Ruth Glancy in A Tale of Two Cities: Dickens's Revolutionary Novel, "Dickens paints a grim picture of both countries. They both had kings who believed in their divine right to rule. English spirituality had deteriorated into communing with spirits and other superstitious practices.… France he says, was less given over to such spiritual revelations, but had instead a clergy that inflicted cruel punishments for minor offenses." In England minor legal offenses were often punished with hanging. At the end of the novel, Dickens contrasts the two countries in the persons of Frenchwoman Madame Defarge...
(The entire section is 757 words.)
A Tale of Two Cities, though not typical of Dickens's writing in many ways, is a very strong novel. First, its remarkable use of language astounds the careful reader. The opening passage, beginning "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," has become justly famous. Throughout the novel Dickens creates powerful moods, manipulates tone brilliantly, and portrays characters with unusual but precise descriptions (such as Miss Pross, whose hat looks like "a great Stilton cheese"). He satirizes pomposity, as in his account of the legal document accusing Darnay of spying "wickedly, falsely, traitorously, and otherwise evil-adverbiously." Dickens often describes characters metaphorically, then refers to them primarily by their metaphorical identifications thereafter. For example, he calls Carton the jackal for the lion Stryver, then refers to the two characters as jackal and lion for several chapters.
A Tale of Two Cities also provides excellent examples of literary devices. The novel abounds with symbols: spilled wine as blood, the knitting Madame Defarge as the classical Fates, the sunset making everything red and foreshadowing the aristocracy's bloody end. Especially powerful are Dickens's repeated references to water and storm imagery that foreshadows the approaching violence in France. Indeed, Dickens foreshadows events to come throughout the novel, and many students enjoy working out some of these patterns.
(The entire section is 368 words.)
It is difficult to imagine anyone objecting to A Tale of Two Cities. The novel does contain explicit scriptural references, especially near the conclusion. But these can easily be viewed as a means of making historically relevant comparisons.
Some have criticized Dickens's works for emphasizing grave social injustices but not offering any solutions. But such criticism misses Dickens's point: believing history has proved economic systems to be incapable of relieving poverty, Dickens stresses the importance of individual responsibility and compassion for the plight of the poor and disfranchised. Indeed, A Tale of Two Cities teaches the important lesson that individual efforts are worthwhile, even if they make but a small difference in an often violent and unjust world.
Although Dickens does not hesitate to portray the violence inherent in his subject matter, he in no way glorifies it. He depicts the mistreatment of the lower classes that spurred the French Revolution, but he clearly condemns atrocities committed in the name of revolution. For Dickens, no cause is great enough to justify abandoning all vestiges of sympathy for one's fellow human beings.
(The entire section is 181 words.)
Compare and Contrast
1780s: At the end of the period known as the Enlightenment, most educated people believed that the universe was essentially knowable and operated by fixed laws capable of being understood by human beings.
1850s: With the publication of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species (1859), conservative Victorians launched a backlash of religious fervor that spoke against scientific progress.
Today: With technological advances such as space travel and cloning, modern science appears to be able to correct almost any problem. As specialization within science increases, however, few people can know very much about a variety of sciences.
1780s: French thinkers and philosophes such as the Marquis de Montesquieu recommended an enlightened system of government with powers balanced and divided among different bodies.
1850s: After decades of political stagnation, England began to liberalize its franchise by extending the right to vote to all male citizens regardless of how little property they might own.
Today: With the collapse of Communist governments worldwide, the democratic model established by the United States—on which the French Revolution was...
(The entire section is 427 words.)
Topics for Discussion
1. How is Lucie Manette the "golden thread" in the novel?
2. Why does Monsieur Defarge keep the door to Dr. Manette's room locked?
3. What causes the French mob to revolt? Do you think their actions are justified? How does Dickens feel about the revolutionary mob? How do you know?
4. How does Dickens use foreshadowing to prepare the reader for what will happen later in the novel? How does he foreshadow such important events as the revolution, Carton's final sacrifice, or the reemergence of Roger Cly?
5. In what way does Dr. Manette unintentionally testify against his son-in-law during Darnay's second French trial?
6. Why is Madame Defarge so intent on vengeance against Darnay and his family? What events lead up to her particular concern with him?
7. Contrast Miss Pross and Madame Defarge.
8. How does Carton persuade John Barsad to let him into Darnay's cell? What is Barsad's real name?
9. What coincidences do you find in the novel? Do they detract from the book's success?
10. Dickens is often described as a humorous writer. What humor do you find in A Tale of Two Cities? What does it add?
11. What symbols can you find in this novel? How do they help Dickens establish his themes?
12. Do you see any parallels between London and Paris? Why a tale of two cities?
(The entire section is 215 words.)
Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. The idea of resurrection or rebirth pervades this novel. How does Dickens use this theme? What does Dickens seem to be saying with it?
2. Dickens seems to show that the French Revolution was inevitable, given the cruelty and greed of the upper classes at that time. But how does Dickens feel about the actions of the revolutionaries once they took power? What did the revolution accomplish? Does Dickens approve of the guillotine? How do you know?
3. Why does Sydney Carton change places with Darnay? What makes him sacrifice his life in this way? Does Carton's character change here, or has he always had within him the potential for such noble action? Do you find his act believable?
4. Carton and Darnay look remarkably alike. They also have many other things in common, yet in some ways they are complete opposites. Can they be seen as different sides of the same human personality? In what ways are they doubles?
5. Do the themes of resurrection and self-sacrifice, and the setting of the French Revolution have anything to do with one another? Why would Dickens set his story in this particular time and place?
6. How does Dickens use parallel "situations and characters in the novel? What examples can you find, and what do they contribute?
(The entire section is 211 words.)
Topics for Further Study
- Investigate contemporary accounts of the French Revolution concentrating on the "Terror"—the months between the summers of 1793 and 1794—and compare them to Dickens's own version of the story.
- Compare the character of Maximilian Robespierre, the most powerful man in France during the "Terror," to that of the fictional Madame Defarge.
- Many critics consider Sidney Carton and Charles Darnay as two sides of a single character. Some of them have suggested that this split in the novel reflects the split in Dickens's own life: at the time he was writing, his marriage was breaking up and he was consorting with a younger woman. What evidence is there for this in the novel?
- The title of the book A Tale of Two Cities refers to the two cities of Paris and London. Compare and contrast Dickens's presentation of the two. Why did the author consider them central to his story?
- Dr. Manette is often said by other characters in A Tale of Two Cities to be "resurrected"—to have been rescued from the grave and brought back to life. Trace the way this theme of "resurrection" occurs throughout the novel.
- Research the history of the Chartist Movement and other reform movements in Victorian Britain. What parallels does Dickens draw between the abuses of the French Revolution and the kind of society that opposed reform in England during...
(The entire section is 228 words.)
A Tale of Two Cities has been adapted to film seven times. The most popular and enduring productions were released in 1917, 1935, 1958, and 1980. The well produced 1917 silent version was released by Twentieth Century Fox, directed by Frank Lloyd, and starred William Farnum, Jewel Carmen, Joseph Swickard, Herschell Mayall, and Rosita Marstini. The 1935 black-and-white film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was a huge commercial and critical success. Produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Jack Conway, the film's fine cast included Ronald Colman, Elizabeth Allan, Edna May Oliver, Reginald Owen, Basil Rathbone, Blanche Yurka, Isabel Jewell, Walter Catlett, Henry B. Wathall, H. B. Warner, and Donald Woods. A 1958 British production remained true to Dickens's story. Directed by Ralph Thomas, it starred Dirk Bogarde, Dorothy Tutin, Cecil Parker, Stephen Murray, Athene Seyler, Christopher Lee, Donald Pleasance, and Ian Barmen. The most recent film version was a 1980 made-for-television movie starring Chris Sarandon, Peter Gushing, Kenneth More, Barry Morse, Flora Robson, Billie Whitlaw, and Alice Krige. Directed by Jim Goddard and produced by Norman Rosemont, this version seldom departs from the events in the novel.
(The entire section is 179 words.)
- Dickens made a lot of money by reading selections from his works aloud before an audience. His own version of A Tale of Two Cities, which he prepared but never actually performed, was entitled The Bastille Prisoner. A Reading. From "A Tale of Two Cities." In Three Chapters. It was published by William Clowes of London, probably in the early 1860s. The text of The Bastille Prisoner can also be found in Charles Dickens: The Public Readings, published in Oxford by the Clarendon Press, 1975.
- The 1935 MGM film A Tale of Two Cities, featuring Ronald Colman as Sydney Carton, Basil Rathbone as the Marquis St. Evremonde, and Elizabeth Allan as Lucie, received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Editing. It is still regarded as the best film version of Dickens's novel.
- Burbank Films animated A Tale of Two Cities and released it in 1984. The film is available on videocassette.
- PBS television's Masterpiece Theatre produced A Tale of Two Cities in 1991. It featured James Wilby, Serena Gordon, and John Mills in leading roles, and it is available on videocassette.
- A Tale of Two Cities was recorded as a radio play by BBC Radio 4, featuring Charles Dance as Carton, John Duttine as Darnay, Maurice Denham as Dr. Manette, and Charlotte Attenborough as Lucie. It was released in the United States in 1989 by Bantam...
(The entire section is 241 words.)
What Do I Read Next?
- Simon Schama's Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989) is a modern account of the people and events of the French Revolution that show how the rational goals of the Revolution mix with irrational elements of the same period.
- The Pickwick Papers (first serialized 1836-1837), Charles Dickens's tremendously popular first novel, concentrates on the relationship between middle-class Mr. Pickwick and his lively Cockney servant Sam Weller.
- A Christmas Carol, in Prose: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas (1843) is Dickens's perennially popular story about how the spirits of Christmas turn an old miser's outlook back to humanity.
- Dickens's Great Expectations (1861) is the story of a young man's slow advancement in society against the backdrop of mid-Victorian England.
- War and Peace (1866) is Leo Tolstoy's study of Russian society during the period of the Napoleonic Wars and the French invasion of Russia.
(The entire section is 139 words.)
For Further Reference
Altick, Richard D. Victorian People and Ideas: A Companion for the Modern Reader of Victorian Literature. New York: Norton, 1973. Extremely useful for background on Dickens's times.
Beckwith, Charles E., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of "A Tale of Two Cities". Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1972. Includes a number of useful critical studies of A Tale of Two Cities.
Davis, Earl. "Recalled to Life." In The Flint and the Flame: The Artistry of Charles Dickens. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1963. A useful discussion of the resurrection theme.
Johnson, Edgar. Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph, 2 vols. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952. This Book-of-the-Month Club selection has become a standard biography. It includes good critical chapters on all the novels, including A Tale of Two Cities.
Miller, J. Hillis. Charles Dickens: The World of His Novels. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958. A standard book on Dickens's novels. Includes a short but insightful discussion of A Tale of Two Cities.
Orwell, George. "Charles Dickens." In Dickens, Dali, and Others: Studies in Popular Culture. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1946. A classic study of Dickens's novels.
Wilson, Edmund. "Dickens: The Two Scrooges." In The Wound and the Bow. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1941. An important discussion of Dickens's life as it...
(The entire section is 205 words.)
Bibliography and Further Reading
Quotations from the text are based on the following edition:
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. New York: Signet Classic/Penguin Books USA, 1980.
Ackroyd, Peter. Introduction to Dickens. London: Sinclair Stevenson, 1991.
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. New York: Amsco School Publications, 1971.
Frank, Lawrence. Charles Dickens and the Romantic Self. University of Nebraska Press, 1974.
Glancy, Ruth F. "A Tale of Two Cities": Dickens's Revolutionary Novel. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1991.
Herst, Beth F. The Dickens Hero: Selfhood and Alienation in the Dickens World. New York: St. Martin's, 1990.
Hobsbaum, Philip. A Reader's Guide to Charles Dickens. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973.
Houston, Gail Turley. Consuming Fictions: Gender, Class and Hunger in Dickens's Novels. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1994.
Jordan, John O., ed. The Cambridge Companion to "A Tale of Two Cities." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Marlow, James E. Charles Dickens: The Uses of Time. Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press, 1994.
Newlin, George. Understanding "A Tale of Two Cities": A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources and Historical Documents. Westport: Greenwood Press,...
(The entire section is 765 words.)
Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Beckwith, Charles E., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of “A Tale of Two Cities.” Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972. A collection of scholarly critical essays followed by commentaries on the novel by such literary figures as George Bernard Shaw and George Orwell.
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1988. Contains a useful chronology of the French Revolution, as well as information on the history of the novel.
Glancy, Ruth. “A Tale of Two Cities”: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, 1993. An invaluable tool for both the student and the scholar. The references to the novel are arranged under the general headings of text and studies.
Glancy, Ruth. “A Tale of Two Cities”: Dickens’s Revolutionary Novel. Boston: Twayne, 1991. this in-depth study places the novel in its historical and literary context and provides a careful analysis of the plot.
Kaplan, Fred. Dickens: A Biography. New York: William Morrow, 1988. Scholarly and well-written. It is particularly valuable in addressing Dickens’ personal identification with the characters of Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay.
Nelson, Harland S. Charles Dickens. Boston: Twayne, 1981. An excellent...
(The entire section is 188 words.)