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By Charles Dickens, Richard Maxwell (editor)

ISBN-10: 0141933798

ISBN-13: 9780141933795

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In later works, such as Bleak House (1853) and Little Dorrit (1857), Dickens’s social criticism became more radical and his comedy more savage. In 1850 Dickens started the weekly periodical Household Words, succeeded in 1859 by All the Year Round; in these he published Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Great Expectations (1860–61). Dickens’s health was failing during the 1860s and the physical strain of the public readings which he began in 1858 hastened his decline, although Our Mutual Friend (1865) retained some of his best comedy.

11. J. W. Croker, Essays on the Early Period of the French Revolution (London: John Murray, 1857), p. 519. ‘The Guillotine’ was first published in the Quarterly Review (1843). 12. Cf. Honoré de Balzac’s Les Chouans (1829) and Anthony Trollope’s La Vendée (1849). Even Victor Hugo’s much less conservative Quatrevingt-Treize (1874) is largely devoted to La Vendée. 13. On 17 November 1793, Robespierre proposed: ‘Between the people and its enemies, there has been a constant reaction in which a progressive violence has, in a few years, made up for the work of several centuries’ (‘Séance du 27 Brumaire An 11 (17 November 1793): Rapport sur la situation politique de la République’, in Oeuvres de Maximilien Robespierre, 10 vols.

In Paris, city of public revelations, the Bastille prisoner’s confession will be read back to him before a crowd which yells for Darnay’s execution. The mob articulates an anger which Manette, according to his own lights, should not be feeling. He insists throughout the earlier Parisian scenes that he wants to save Darnay and that, in fact, he has saved him. However, once the Bastille yields up its secret, Manette’s own unarticulated desires can be used against him and against the benign intentions which he persistently articulates.

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A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin) by Charles Dickens, Richard Maxwell (editor)

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