On April 30, 1859, Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities is first published. The 45-chapter novel was published in 31 weekly installments in Dickens' new literary periodical titled All the Year Round. It ran From April 1859 to November 1859. He also republished the chapters as eight monthly sections in green covers. All but three of Dickens' previous novels had appeared only as monthly installments. The novel is set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With over 200 million copies sold, it ranks among the most famous works in the history of literature. The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period. It follows the lives of several protagonists through these events. The most notable are Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. Darnay is a French former aristocrat who becomes a victim of the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution despite his virtuous nature, and Carton is a dissipated English barrister who endeavors to redeem his ill-spent life out of his unrequited love for Darnay's wife.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Literary Legends. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links: