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A Tale of Two Cities

Critique • Text

A Tale of Two CitiesSerial, 1859
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

First publication
1859 in 31 weekly instalments

First book publication

Literature form


Writing language

Author's country

Approx. 139,000 words

Notable lines

First line

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....

Great lines

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to each other.... In any of the burial-places in this city through which I pass, is there a sleeper more inscrutable than its busy inhabitants are, in their innermost personality, to me, or than I am to to them?

Mr. Cruncher himself always spoke of the year of our Lord as Anna Dominoes: apparently under the impression that the Christian era dated from the invention of a popular game, by a lady who had bestowed her name upon it.

"I have sometimes sat alone here of an evening, listening, until I have made the echoes out to be the echoes of all the footsteps that are coming by and by into our lives."

I call myself Samson of the firewood guillotine. See here again! Loo, loo, loo; Loo, loo, loo! And off her head comes! Now, a child. Tickle, tickle; Pickle, pickle! And off its head comes! All the family!"

"...tell the Wind and Fire where to stop, but don't tell me."

Last line

"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.".


Critique • Text