You’re reading A TALE OF TWO CITIES for the first time—or perhaps for the fourth or fifth time. But what are gaols, bumpers, farmer-generals, tocsins, and the Court of King’s Bench? Where are Shooter’s Hill, Temple Bar, and La Force, and who on earth was Mrs. Southcott? And did all those starving French people have baguettes in mind when they wanted bread?
The Reader’s Companion is not a literary analysis of Dickens’s novel, but a source of information, for both the new reader and the longterm fan, about things, people, places, and events mentioned in the text, to enhance the experience of reading a classic historical novel published 150 years ago, and which takes place well over two centuries ago. In 780 notes to the unabridged novel, historical author Susanne Alleyn explains Dickens’s references to things and places familiar to 19th-century Londoners, illustrates his many literary allusions and Victorian expressions, and provides an in-depth, factual background to his gripping but often misleading depiction of the French Revolution—a period that owes much of its distorted image today to the popularity of A TALE OF TWO CITIES itself.
“I was probably in college the last time I read A TALE OF TWO CITIES, and I enjoyed it very much. This time, reading Alleyn’s wonderful annotated edition full of helpful comments and clarifications, I found the experience doubly enjoyable.” (Brian Strayer, Ph.D., Department of History, Andrews University)
Don’t be fooled by cheap “annotated” editions of A TALE OF TWO CITIES available for e-readers! “Look Inside” and you’ll see that they are merely the text of the novel with a brief biography of Charles Dickens cribbed from Wikipedia, and maybe a few paragraphs of someone’s commentary on the novel, with no actual notes. This book is the real thing—a heavily annotated guide suitable for use in the English or history classroom, plus a chronology of the French Revolution, a filmography (and film reviews) of TALE, and an extensive bibliography for further reading in both history and literature. FYI: The eBook edition includes, as a bonus, the complete, annotated text of the play THE DEAD HEART by Watts Phillips, an 1859 historical melodrama that provided Dickens with some elements of the plot of A TALE OF TWO CITIES.