A Tale of Two Cities: Audio CD

A Tale of Two Cities: Audio CD

by Charles Dickens

Overview

When the starving French masses rise in hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent government, both the guilty and innocent become victims of their frenzied anger. Soon nothing stands in the way of the chilling figure they enlist for their cause—La Guillotine—the new invention for efficiently chopping off heads.

Charles Dickens' compelling portrait of the results of terror and treason, love and supreme sacrifice continues to captivate readers around the world. With Frank Muller's brilliant performance, unforgettable characters—the ever-knitting Madame Defarge, the lovely Lucie Manette, her broken father, the honorable Charles Darnay, and the sometimes scurrilous Sydney Carton—burst from the pages, full of life and passion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781424006113
Publisher: Cengage Learning
Publication date: 07/25/2006
Pages: 1
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Andrew Sanders is a lecturer in English at Birkbeck College, London. He is Honorary Editor of The Dickensian, and editor of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackerary, and Sylvia's Lovers by Mrs Gaskell, both in The World's Classics series.

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

Education:

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

Read an Excerpt

1

The Period

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There were a king with a large jaw, and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw, and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever.

It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at that favoured period, as at this. Mrs. Southcott had recently attained her five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a prophetic private in the Life Guards had heralded the sublime appearance by announcing that arrangements were made for the swallowing up of London and Westminster. Even the Cock-lane ghost had been laid only a round dozen of years, after rapping out its messages, as the spirits of this very year last past (supernaturally deficient in originality) rapped out theirs. Mere messages in the earthly order of events had lately come to the English Crown and People, from a congress of British subjects in America: which, strange to relate, have proved more important to the human race than any communications yet received through any of the chickens of the Cock-lane brood.

France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothness down hill, making paper money and spending it. Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards. It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that suffer was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that in the rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent to paris, there were sheltered from the weather that very day, rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was to be atheistical and traitorous.

In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night; families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town without removing their furniture to upholsterers' warehouses for security; the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped in his character of "the Captain," gallently shot him through the head and rode away; the mail was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, "in consequence of the failure of his ammunition": after which the mail was robbed in peace; that magnificent potentate, the lord Mayor of london, was made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green by one highwayman, who despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all his retinue; prisoners in London gaols fought battles with their turnkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamond crosses from the necks of noble lords at Court drawing-rooms; musketeers went into St. Gile's, to search for contraband goods, and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fired on the mob, and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now, burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer's boy of sixpence.

All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Environed by them, while the Woodman and the Farmer worked unheeded, those two of the large jaws, and those other two of the plain and the fair faces, trod with stir enough, and carried their divine rights with a high hand. Thus did the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five conduct their Greatnesses, and myriads of small creatures—the creatures of this chronicle among the rest—along the roads that lay before them.

All new material in this edition is copyright © 1998 Tom Doherty Associates, LLC

Table of Contents

Insights into Charles Dickens
Book 1Recalled to Life
Chapter 1The Period16
Chapter 2The Mail20
Chapter 3The Night Shadows (Summary)27
Chapter 4The Preparation28
Chapter 5The Wine-Shop41
Chapter 6The Shoemaker53
Book 2The Golden Thread
Chapter 1Five Years Later (Summary)67
Chapter 2A Sight69
Chapter 3A Disappointment77
Chapter 4Congratulatory (Summary)92
Chapter 5The Jackal94
Chapter 6Hundreds of People (Summary)101
Chapter 7Monseigneur in Town (Summary)103
Chapter 8Monseigneur in the Country (Summary)104
Chapter 9The Gorgon's Head105
Chapter 10Two Promises119
Chapter 11A Companion Picture (Summary)127
Chapter 12The Fellow of Delicacy (Summary)128
Chapter 13The Fellow of No Delicacy129
Chapter 14The Honest Tradesman134
Chapter 15Knitting145
Chapter 16Still Knitting157
Chapter 17One Night (Summary)169
Chapter 18Nine Days170
Chapter 19An Opinion177
Chapter 20A Plea (Summary)185
Chapter 21Echoing Footsteps186
Chapter 22The Sea Still Rises199
Chapter 23Fire Rises (Summary)205
Chapter 24Drawn to the Loadstone Rock207
Book 3The Track of A Storm
Chapter 1In Secret221
Chapter 2The Grindstone (Summary)234
Chapter 3The Shadow236
Chapter 4Calm in Storm (Summary)242
Chapter 5The Wood-Sawyer (Summary)244
Chapter 6Triumph246
Chapter 7A Knock at the Door (Summary)254
Chapter 8A Hand at Cards255
Chapter 9The Game Made268
Chapter 10The Substance of the Shadow283
Chapter 11Dusk (Summary)298
Chapter 12Darkness299
Chapter 13Fifty-Two308
Chapter 14The Knitting Done321
Chapter 15The Footsteps Die Out Forever334

What People are Saying About This

Charles Dickens

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

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A Tale of Two Cities: Heinle Reading Library 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 813 reviews.
Gulliver_cc More than 1 year ago
You get what you pay for! This is a very crude version of the text, straight from a scan via OCR with no proofreading whatsoever. Spend the few bucks to get a version of this great book that you can actually read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellently done!
Weil Sau Sau More than 1 year ago
The Tale of Two Cities is a very good book about the 1700's. The author uses fake characters to describe the life abd times there. This is an excellent book for those who want history but a little fun too. All in all, I would recommend this book.
Eponine23 More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book of all time, I absolutely loved it from beginning to end. It made me cry and laugh out loud in class--even though I was supposed to be watching a movie or doing an assignment and got in trouble for reading. The plot was amazing, the characters were captivating and the narrative was entertaining. I love strong female characters and Madame Defarge was simply brilliant. But as awesome as she was, Sydney Carton was my favorite. Those last few chapters, I could not stop crying. My only complaint about this book is that there should have been more about him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The Penguin Classics edition offers detailed end-notes, as always. The only complaint I have with this edition, though, is that some of the end-notes revealed a bit of the plot. The story was not completely ruined, so it is not really a big deal. Overall, an excellent book.
KTW More than 1 year ago
Glad i finally grew up and started reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Harvard College Library copy, scanned as part of the Google project, has OCR text recognition issues. This is a fair copy of a great work, flawed by the OCR flaws. Wish Google had taken the time to edit it correctly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are too many spelling errors in this book to even get past the 1st page, its not worth the space on your nook
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am sure that a tale of two cities is a great book, but this version only has the first 48 pages! If you are the person who put this up, quit trying to make people pay their money for something unfinished and dumb. Fix this book or take it back. I want a refund.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first part was a little slow, but in the end, it was fabulous! A wonderful read, well written, perfect! A book defidently worth reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is extremely good BUT this is mainly for people who love literature. Once you get interested in this book and get passed the first few chapters you will want to read this over and over again to see what you missed. I hope if you buy this you are dedicated because it will hook you. Enjoy!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first novel on CD and I have been thoroughly enjoying the experience. Of course, it helps that it is also my first Dickens novel. Every character comes to life in the descriptions and every scene is painted in my mind's eye as Dickens unfolds the story. The narator also does a wonderful job. Fantastic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”- Dickens’ opening has become one of the most popular throughout literature. Charles  Dickens usual writing style of humor is absent as he turns to the somber subject of the French Revolution. His historical context of the novel encompasses the themes of love, loss, secrets, sacrifice, resurrection, vengeance, and the darkness of the people that suffered through the oppression that evolved into the French Revolution. Dickens keeps his audience enchanted and coming back for the next book in the novel by enticing them with a captivating story-line, complex characters, complimentary and contrasting aspects within the characters and the setting, and brilliant descriptions that create a powerful mood and an array of tones. He weaves symbolism, imagery, and understatements into his text to make it beautifully rich, especially for a careful reader.  One of Dickens’ main themes of the book, as seen in the opening, is contractions. Within this theme, Dickens uses several other themes to show the difference between characters and to enhance the relationships between those characters. For example, though they may look very similar, Charles Darnay is the“good guy” and Sydney Carton is the contraction to all that is good in Charles Darnay. He is the sinner-savior archetype, making him the ultimate savior of the story, yet Charles Darnay steals Lucie Manette from him. However, Dickens comparisons also expand to the settings in the book, such as, the utopian society, i.e. England, and the dystopian society, i.e. France. Dickens then ties all these comparisons and similarities together in a nice bow by connecting the past with the present and  showing how these ties affect the future of the characters and those that are to come. The change produced within the characters and the storyline all come to a climax as the events that he had been foreshadowing take place and change the lives of each character.  Another one of Dickens’ themes is that of darkness. Madame Defarge embodies everything that is darkness: deceit, secrets, and death. Her plans and memories fester within the darkness of the French Revolution, coming to a climax when she has Charles Darnay in her clutches and the guillotine waiting for her instructions. The ominous echo of the guillotine can be heard throughout Paris, but in the darkness, there is a light, a glimmer of hope. Lucie encompasses that light, spreading goodness everywhere she goes. She frees her father from his bondages, makes Charles Darnay a better man, and saves Sydney Carton from himself. However, the setting also looks at this hope. The scenery and lighting of England is optimistic and a safe haven to escape to, yet when you get across the sea to France, doom and gloom encloses around you, and all hope is lost. These complex compliments and contractions of each other have made his images and characterizations so well known.  Dickens uses several literary styles, including satirical, realistic, gothic, and naturalistic to encompass the different themes, characterizations, and settings presented in the book. Along with those previously stated, he also uses Biblical motifs to describe his characters and settings. For example, when describing the French government, he uses Biblical ideas from the Old Testament, such as, judgment, guilt, condemnation, punishment for wrongdoings, and blood sacrifices to cover the sins of those that had oppressed them. Yet, when he described the English government, he used New Testament ideas like grace, forgiveness, compassion, enlightened, and saying that it is at a state of restoration. Dickens also went on to categorize certain characters into either Old or New Testament. Charles Darnay, for example was described by his sins and being guilty, like in the Old Testament, whereas Lucie Manette and her father were described as graceful and compassionate, like several New Testament ideals. An interesting occurrence happens however, when the characters and settings begin changing and the life for one character becomes clearer and more purposeful, switching from Old Testament to New Testament. For that man, “‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known’” (Dickens 358). 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This classic is deserving of the status. I would suggest reading along with notes, as the language can be a bit difficult to follow. I will read this again. Amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Should read very good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plesse rescan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waasn't really the best or the worst thing that i have ever read, but it gets kinda boring and you lose track of what is really going on, however some people could really like the direction the book takes, but i personally was not a fan of it
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book does not really have a good plot and its action and suspense is outdated when compared with some of the books that we have now. The main reason that this books gets any stars at all is because of the mad skill that Dickens has with writing. The depth of the symbolism was one of the few things that anstonished me in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know I'm going against the grain on this one, but I hate this book more than words can express. Now, don't think I'm saying this without some support, giving a classic novel like this one star is not very popular. I just can't bring myself to enjoy reading anything by Charles Dickens. This may not mean much from someone who likes to read Camus, Salinger, and Kesey like myself, but I just don't know how people can get into Dickens' novels, especially this one. I was unfortunately assigned to read this book twice in high school and have read it a total of three times (I read it in eighth grade for leisure). I really regret wasting the time and energy. There is not one character in this book that I can really care for, which is a big turn off for me. And Lucie...ugh! I never thought an author could make one of his characters over act in a book. Well, Dickens pulled it off. I love reading and I can find enjoyment in almost every piece of literature I can get my hands on. Except, of course, for a waste of print like this.
TheLiteraryPhoenix More than 1 year ago
To offer a very controversial opinion... I did not care for this book. Victorian literature is really hit or miss for me. I'm a character reader and if I don't connect with the characters, I find it very difficult to get invested in the story. There's not much depth to these characters and like other popular novels of the period, Dickens fills his story with conversational dialogue. It is through dialogue we learn backstories, plot twists, moral dilemmas, relationships, setting - everything. The narrative we receive is brief and direct. It's not my favorite style, but it's efficient enough. Because I had a hard time relating to - or indeed, keeping straight - many of the characters, there was no emotional investment for me in the tale of the Manette family and the grievous wrongs they suffered. Even the backdrop of the French Revolution failed to dazzle. Simon Vance has a rich voice and I enjoyed his narration, despite the tedium of the writing (again - this is completely personal to my preferences). Between Simon Vance's narration and my sheer determination to read more Dickens, I was able to persevere through this one, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't bored. All in all, I can see why this story is a classic. I can see why people love it. I would watch a movie of it, where the characters have more emotion and depth to them because of the actors... but this book was solidly not for me. Though! Of the whole book, I have to give mad props to the scene between between Madame Defarge and Ms. Pross. I found it the most heated, most emotive part of the book and absolutely found myself cheering for Ms. Pross. That last bit, at least, was brilliant.
emanate28 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Profound & immensely satisfying how everything ties together. Gives you faith in humanity, despite the frenzied insanity, brutality & chaos of the French Revolution. My favorite Dickens novel and one of my all-time favorite stories--I get goosebumps just thinking about ending lines...
Piratenin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am currently struggling my way through Great Expectations due to a combination of, in my view, unlikeable characters and the occasional waffle. This did not give me the best first impression of Dickens. However after powering through A Tale of Two Cities I might just give him another chance. Although at times the way the plot was turning was clear, that did not take away any enjoyment. I did on occasion find the French revolutionaries slightly one dimensional and I agree with others that perhaps a contrast between the bloodthirsty revolution and the desire for a new enlightened government and culture would have made a good book better.Overall I found this an enjoyable and easy read. The characters are interesting, although can tend slightly to charicatures of good and evil and the plot, though simple, is beautifully conveyed.
asuico on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like many other reviewers, I was required to read this during my secondary school days. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and how readable I found Dickens compared to other British authors of "great books" (I'm looking at you, Jane Austen). With my fondness for this classic in mind, I recently reread the book again, and while I still found it enjoyable, I thought the story suffered from the characterization of Lucie Manette. Almost every scene involving the good doctor's daughter has one of her male comrades or family members remarking on her goodness, her beauty, her strength of character, etc. when we almost never actually SEE this goodness and strength--they're just asserted through other characters' thoughts and actions.These traits contrast starkly with those of the dastardly Madame Defarge, but to me the two characters are ironically similar in that just as Madame Defarge is unlikeable for her total cruelty, Lucie is also unlikeable for her total goodness, which is a reader response I'm sure Dickens did not intend to provoke. Sydney Carton was my favorite character when I first read this in high school, and four years later, I'm better able to articulate why: unlike Lucie and Madame Defarge, he is a mix of vice and virtue. He's complex and morally grey. Unlike the other two, he's an actual person.Apart from Lucie's role as a Mary Sue, however, A Tale of Two Cities is a good read. As others have noted, it's rather slow in the beginning, but the thrill and suspense woven into the last quarter of the book makes waiting out the slow build worth it.
TerrapinJetta on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The thing is, Dickens waffles on such a lot and in such flowery language that it's quite hard to concentrate when I'm used to sparse sentences Graham Greene style. The story was enjoyable, Lucie's character annoyed me a bit by being so angelic and innocent, but when the story picked up in Paris I couldn't put the book down, seriously.
afderrick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was a good book and I'm glad I did read it. The only issues I had with the book were that I found it very difficult to pick up and read and I wasn't emotionally involved with any of the characters. While I really enjoyed reading the story when I had the pages open it again was not something I just felt I couldn't put down. Thus the reason it took me quite an amount of time to finish this book, it was slow going for me. The first half of the book was the worst, the second half and toward the end really started to pick up and I found the end of it to be quite interesting and probably rushed through the last 100 - 150 pages in two days where it took me several days to get to that point. Overall, a good book.