Why did Charles Dickens write A Tale of Two Cities?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In addition to the thematic reasons mentioned by other educators, Dickens also wrote A Tale of Two Cities to launch his weekly journal: All the Year Round. The novel was initially published in serial installments, which was the most common way that readers discovered long-form fiction in the nineteenth-century. He had recently left the Household Weekly journal that he had been publishing with for over two decades and wanted to use the journal and A Tale of Two Cities as a fresh start.

The timing of the publication for A Tale of Two Cities was also meant to distract the public from Dickens's personal life. He had recently separated from his wife Sarah for his mistress, and A Tale of Two Cities was popular enough at its release that it kept gossip from affecting his career.

Previously, Dickens had written eloquently of the wretched condition of the poor and downtrodden in contemporary England. In writing A Tale of Two Cities , he sought to universalize the experience of those on the lowest rungs of...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 613 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team