A Tale of Two Cities (4 Cassettes)

A Tale of Two Cities (4 Cassettes)

Audio Other(Other - Abridged)

$23.95 View All Available Formats & Editions


The spectre of the French Revolution--the rumbling of the death carts, the thud of the guillotine, the ferocious mobs and the storming of the Bastille--is vividly portrayed in this lavish BBC production, complete with a full cast and stirring music.   Dickens' epic tale is a listening experience to be treasured.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140861495
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 11/28/1995
Series: Classics on Audio Series
Edition description: Abridged
Pages: 4
Product dimensions: 4.40(w) x 7.06(h) x 1.42(d)

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England, where his father was a naval pay clerk. When he was five the family moved to Chatham, near Rochester, another port town. He received some education at a small private school but this was curtailed when his father's fortunes declined. More significant was his childhood reading, which he evoked in a memory of his father's library: 'From that blessed little room, Roderick Random, Peregrine Pickle, Humphrey Clinker, Tom Jones, The Vicar of Wakefield, Don Quixote, Gil Blas and Robinson Crusoe came out, a glorious host, to keep me company. They kept alive my fancy, and my hope of something beyond that place and time.'

When Dickens was ten the family moved to Camden Town, and this proved the beginning of a long, difficult period. (He wrote later of his coach journey, alone, to join his family at the new lodgings: 'I consumed my sandwiches in solitude and dreariness, and it rained hard all the way, and I thought life sloppier than I had expected to find it.') When he had just turned twelve Dickens was sent to work for a manufacturer of boot blacking, where for the better part of a year he labored for ten hours a day, an unhappy experience that instilled him with a sense of having been abandoned by his family: 'No advice, no counsel, no encouragement, no consolation, no support from anyone that I can call to mind, so help me God!' Around the same time Dickens's father was jailed for debt in the Marshalsea Prison, where he remained for fourteen weeks. After some additional schooling, Dickens worked as a clerk in a law office and taught himself shorthand; this qualified him to begin working in 1831 as areporter in the House of Commons, where he was known for the speed with which he took down speeches.

By 1833 Dickens was publishing humorous sketches of London life in the Monthly Magazine, which were collected in book form as Sketches by 'Boz' (1836). These were followed by the publication in installments of the comic adventures that became The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1837), whose unprecedented popularity made the twenty-five-year-old author a national figure. In 1836 he married Catherine Hogarth, who would bear him ten children over a period of fifteen years. Dickens's energies enabled him to lead an active family and social life, including an indulgence in elaborate amateur theatricals, while maintaining a literary productiveness of astonishing proportions. He characteristically wrote his novels for serial publication, and was himself the editor of many of the periodicals--Bentley's Miscellany, The Daily News, Household Words, All the Year Round--in which they appeared. Among his close associates were his future biographer John Forster and the younger Wilkie Collins, with whom he collaborated on fictional and dramatic works. In rapid succession he published Oliver Twist (1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1841), and Barnaby Rudge (1841), sometimes working on several novels simultaneously.

Dickens's celebrity led to a tour of the United States in 1842. There he met Longfellow, Irving, Bryant, and other literary figures, and was received with an enthusiasm that was dimmed somewhat by the criticisms Dickens expressed in his American Notes (1842) and in the American chapters of Martin Chuzzlewit (1844). The appearance of A Christmas Carol in 1843 sealed his position as the most widely popular writer of his time; it became an annual tradition for him to write a story for the season, among the most memorable of which were The Chimes (1844) and The Cricket on the Hearth (1845). He continued to produce novels at only a slightly diminished rate, publishing Dombey and Son in 1848 and David Copperfield in 1850; of the latter, his personal favorite among his books, he wrote to Forster: 'If I were to say half of what Copperfield makes me feel tonight how strangely, even to you, I should be turned inside out! I seem to be sending some part of myself into the Shadowy World.'

From this point on his novels tended to be more elaborately constructed and harsher and less buoyant in tone than his earlier works. These late novels include Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1857), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1861). Our Mutual Friend, published in 1865, was his last completed novel, and perhaps the most somber and savage of them all. Dickens had separated from his wife in 1858--he had become involved a year earlier with a young actress named Ellen Ternan--and the ensuing scandal had alienated him from many of his former associates and admirers. He was weakened by years of overwork and by a near-fatal railroad disaster during the writing of Our Mutual Friend. Nevertheless he embarked on a series of public readings, including a return visit to America in 1867, which further eroded his health. A final work, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a crime novel much influenced by Wilkie Collins, was left unfinished upon his death on June 9, 1870, at the age of 58.

Date of Birth:

February 7, 1812

Date of Death:

June 18, 1870

Place of Birth:

Portsmouth, England

Place of Death:

Gad's Hill, Kent, England


Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington

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A Tale of Two Cities 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the greatest written book in war times
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bit tricky to understand, but its really good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love reading this book. I did have to reread a few passages to get a better understanding but i still loved it. This book is not BORing YOU ARE!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the very best books I have ever read. A Tale of Two Cities is so good I read it once a year just to remember how good it truly is. You can never get burnt out on this book. Ok sure, it was required reading in my high school, but had it not been required, I never would have been introduced to this marvelous book. The way Dickens portrays the two cities and his characters are vivid and well thought out. This truly is a masterpiece writing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the edition, but it wasn't a bonded leather like I was expecting. ***I have the "Heart of Darkness" (the one that's gonna come out March 19) on my wish list but it's probably a paperback like this so i don't think I'd be buying that one now.***
khoov00 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books ever. The first time I had trouble with it, but found it was easier to keep everything straight once I saw one of the movie adaptations. Since I've read this book at least 4 times and is one of my favorites. I am getting ready to read it again.
SMG-JHayne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A bit hard to understand at times but overall a good read. Good plot and great characters.
TeamJayAndres on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is a reason Dickens is great. And this is one of those reasons.
MissBoyer3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .¿ With these famous words, Charles Dickens plunges the reader into one of history¿s most explosive eras¿the French Revolution. From the storming of the Bastille to the relentless drop of the guillotine, Dickens vividly captures the terror and upheaval of that tumultuous period. At the center is the novel¿s hero, Sydney Carton, a lazy, alcoholic attorney who, inspired by a woman, makes the supreme sacrifice on the bloodstained streets of Paris.One of Dickens¿s most exciting novels, A Tale of Two Cities is a stirring classic of love, revenge, and resurrection.
Joybee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautiful book, it is easy to see why it is a classic. Set during the French Revolution, this story is gruesome like the time period but also full of love. A slow read with some awesome descriptive metaphors that can be difficult to get through, but well worth the time spent. An old man, and doctor, gets out of prison where he has spent the last 20 or so years for no crime other than being witness to aristocratic bad behavior. The doctor and his daughter are reunited and she helps nurse him back to health with her love and companionship. Meanwhile the daughter falls in love and marries, and the French Revolution begins. The husband is the son of an aristocrat and therefore an enemy of the revolution. He is put in prison to be executed for crimes that his father did and they relate to the reason why the doctor was imprisoned. Things seem hopeless when a friend steps in to try and help.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The two cities are London and Paris on the eve of and during the French Revolution. This is Dickens' one work of historical fiction and the most popular of his books among American readers according to one poll. I've tried reading it before and found it boring. I recently read Great Expectations and liked it more than I expected, and A Christmas Carol is a sentimental favorite, so I decided to give this another try. I do love many classic works, but I'm afraid Dickens is going to remain a non-favorite. His characters are certainly vivid and memorable--but they're often over-the-top. The opening (It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...) and closing (It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done...) sentences to this book are among the most eloquent and famous passages in literature. But I mostly found his prose overwritten, repetitive, and melodramatic. (He'll take a refrain like "recalled to life" and beat it to a bloody pulp.) But what really made me cringe, and a major reason why I think I find it so hard to like Dickens, is how he writes his women characters. Great Expectations was refreshing in having a bitchy heroine in Estella, but Lucie Manette reverts back to type. An "angel" with "golden hair" and "rosy lips" and everyone loves her and she's prone to swoon and to tears. I find this kind of female figure infantile, both in the sense that a character such as Lucie doesn't strike me as a functioning adult nor can I see this as a mature view of women. And I don't think we can say, well, that's the way woman were back then, or the way woman were seen. It's not surprising certainly that female Victorian authors such as Elizabeth Gaskell or Charlotte Bronte were capable of writing women characters that feel real--but so were male authors such as William Thackeray, Wilkie Collins and E.M. Forster--and for that matter even medieval and Renaissance authors such as Shakespeare managed a lot better than this. Also, hello, Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton are doubles? And believe me, the improbable coincidences do not stop there. Color me eccentric, but that doesn't constitute good plotting to me. And frankly, Sydney Carton isn't my kind of hero. His sacrifice to me seems cloyingly sentimental and abrupt. Give me the Scarlet Pimpernel any day! Or for that matter Ebenezer Scrooge, whose redemption comes in the hard work of living life, not whining he's no good then throwing his life away.
lilibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of a group of Englishmen and French expatriates at the time of the French Revolution.
mountie9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mini Book Review: It was the best of books and the worst of books all at the same time (LOL I know cheesy, but I couldn't help myself) I won't lie it was a tough book to get into at first (I always struggle with the language and overly descriptive passages in classics) , with the exception of the opening chapter which is bloody beautifully written. But once I was halfway in I was completely engrossed and did not want to put it down which surprised me. I actually cried throughout the last chapter too, it was so moving. It is really hard to review a classic as so much has been written about it there really isn't nothing new to say that hasn't already been said. Its just a fabulous tale of social justice, sacrifice, vengeance and redemption set during the years leading up to, during and after the French Revolution. The characters are intriguing, the plot surprisingly fast paced and melodramatic and a truly magnificent social commentary of the time. I recommend everyone read this one as it is unlike many of Dickens other stories (less characters and unnecessary sub plots).4.5 Dewey's I read this as part of the BBC Top 100 Challenge and I downloaded it free to my Kobo
littlepegleg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love History, but this was a tad too slow.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A neighbor of my parents makes the best venison jerky I've ever eaten. It's perfectly cured, redolent of smoke and marinade, and just chewy enough. I'm telling you this because it think it accurately describes Mr. Dickens' writing. It's chewy. There's so much to think about within his writing. His characters from the most minor to the utterly crucial are conjured up out of thin air and described in ways that you can see, smell, and know them. He is at turns descriptive, sardonic, passionate, cynical, and sly. Through him the sights and sounds and smells and people of the story come vividly alive.The Tale of Two Cities is his historical fiction novel about the French Revolution, comparing the peoples and events of the time through a tale that moves back and forth between London and Paris. I love his writing and storytelling - the serialization of his work pays off for the modern reader in his ability to keep you reading just one more chapter. I very much enjoyed the experience of my 21st mind trying to get inside his 19th century mind as he tries to understand the 18th century mind. It's reminiscent of Matryoshka dolls - each nesting inside the other and just a little different than the rest. What a fascinating adventure for a reader.Let's not forget the characters - the noble Dr. Manette, the somewhat insipid Lucie Manette (I know, she's of her time, but just a little sicky sweet for my taste), the dashing Charles Darnay, and one of the very best bad boys in literature - Sydney Carton - my very favorite, although Miss Pross and Madame Defarge are both unforgettable in their own ways.Zillions of words of literary criticism expounding upon Mr. Dickens and his themes and meanings and probably anything else you can think of have been written. That's not how I want to connect to him, though. I am a reader. I wanted him to tell me a great story (and he did).
billiecat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I re-read this recently and was pleased to find it was better than I remembered. Perhaps, having in the space of time since I first read this book in high school having visited some of the locales, or perhaps from having read histories of the period since then, I appreciated Dickens' novel more. Or perhaps I was just paying more attention this time - did you know Lucie Mannette had a son that died in infancy? Blink and you'd miss it.Ultimately, Dickens is not tackling the kind of subjects that make David Copperfield and Great Expectations so powerful, but is attacking a broader canvas, with frequent political themes rather than the more personal struggles of the other two works. One certainly could find meat for a discussion of the merits of loyalty and self-interest, but truthfully, why bother? The is best as just a "ripping yarn," with mistaken identites, daring escapes, and long imprisonment under the shadow of La Guillotine.
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