Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Scouring Books: A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens

Originally published in 1859, this is one of those incredibly famous books I'm not sure many people have actually read. Dickens is well-known, of course, for Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol, both of which have been regular and steady elements of modern pop culture, and everyone at least knows "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." How many people actually know what the book is actually about? Dickens developed a fast and considerable reputation in his day as perhaps the most acclaimed English novelist of the 19th Century, but it's been fashionable since then to underestimate his actual worth. It's strange that in Two Cities he seems to have written a story of the French Revolution that the great Russian voices of that age (here I'm thinking of Dostoyevsky, who happens to be my choice) would have probably found formidable. But I was never asked to read this book in school, and in fact, was never asked to read Dickens as a whole. It's strange that so famous a writer probably isn't actually read that much.

Bookshelf status: unread so far.

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