Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities is one of Charles Dickens’s most popular and dramatic stories.

It begins on a muddy English road in an atmosphere charged with mystery and it ends in the Paris of the Revolution with one of the most famous acts of self-sacrifice in literature. In between lies one of Dickens’s most exciting books—a historical novel that, generation after generation, has given readers access to the profound human dramas that lie behind cataclysmic social and political events. Famous for its vivid characters, including the courageous French nobleman Charles Darnay, the vengeful revolutionary Madame Defarge, and cynical Englishman Sydney Carton, who redeems his ill-spent life in a climactic moment at the guillotine (“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done”), the novel is also a powerful study of crowd psychology and the dark emotions aroused by the Revolution, illuminated by Dickens’s lively comedy.

With an Introduction by Simon Schama


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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