A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations: Two Novels (Anglais) CD – Livre audio, 23 décembre 2010
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A TALE OF TWO CITIES
After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of the two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of the guillotine.
A terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor- these form a series of events that changes the orphaned Pip's life forever, and he eagerly abandons his humble origins to begin a new life as a gentleman. Dickens's haunting late novel depicts Pip's education and development through adversity as he discovers the true nature of his "great expectations."
This deluxe paperback edition features
*rough-cut high-quality paper
*complimentary front- and back-cover designs highlighting each novel and including foil and debossing --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
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A Tale of Two Cities is generally considered the better of these two novels. Some have called it Dickens' greatest, which is saying something when one considers the entire body of work from this outstanding author. At heart, Dickens is a story teller and A Tale of Two Cities relates a gripping story set against the backdrop of the French Revolution and the sweeping intellectual, political and social changes of the Enlightenment period.
The basics of the plot are relayed elsewhere, but I caution you not to read too much about the story line before you have read the novel, as one of the best features of Dickens is his ability to surprise and delight with the twists and turns of his plots and the events that challenge his characters. Great characters they always are too. A Tale of Two Cities is full of interesting peoples, as well as events. Sydney Carton, for example, is on my list of the ten best fictional heros of all time. (See my list here on Amazon.)
While Great Expectations is not as highly regarded as A Tale of Two Cities, it remains an outstanding novel. Think of Great Expectations as the Cadillac to A Tale of Two Cities' Rolls Royce. There's nothing wrong with a Caddy and Great Expectations delivers on all of the fronts you'd expect. It features wonderful characters, particularly Miss Havisham, the rich eccentric who is arguably the basis for every kooky old lady character that came after her.
There was once a time when every school kid in the US was assigned to read Great Expectations in 7th grade English. If you are one of those, I encourage you to reread this novel, as I expect it will be surprisingly pleasant when not consumed under duress. It's a wonderful story with themes and lessons that remain resonant today, well over 100 years after Dickens wrote it.
So rush out and buy two copies of this double-barreled hit, one for yourself and one as a gift for your best friend.
A Tale of Two Cities centers on the English/French revolutionary war. We have our heroes (Charles Darnay, Sydney Carton) and villains (Madame Defarge and her revolutionaries). A Tale of Two Cities is a little different than most Dickens' novels in that it is more action-based and has a bleak, bloody perspective, being that it bases much of its tale on the historical aspects of war. The restless, chaotic nature between the two sides lends its way to various modes of revenge from many characters. Maybe one question explored is "are there times when revenge is acceptable, or does it always destroy the individual?" Also, differences between classes are evidenced as some poor go without while others prosper and live luxurious lives. One superior aspect to A Tale of Two Cities is the character transformation of Sydney Carton, who goes from basically a drunk to one of the most relevant and important characters in the book. The woman who he has a fondness for, Lucie, seems to wake him up to this change; he wants to do all he can for her, even though she is Charles' wife. Instrumental in leading other characters to safety, he undergoes an awakening, and sacrifices.
Great Expectations tells the story of Pip, who is raised by his overbearing sister, learns through years of experience the meaning of wealth. A strange encounter with a criminal (Magwitch) early in the novel will have greater meaning for Pip's fate. As a youngster, Pip goes to the Satis House with his uncle, where Miss Havisham, a revenge-seeking old lady who was cheated at the altar, resides; Pip, while here, is enchanted by the beautiful, but proud and snobbish Estella. Being poor and fully self-conscious of this, Pip has visions of being a gentleman one day. Maybe then Estella would take a poor lad like him seriously? Pip is eventually given a sum of wealth by a mysterious benefactor, and now sets off to be "educated" on living the social life of a gentleman. Pip will come to learn though Dickens semi-autobiographical coming of age tale that richness does not necessarily make one's life complete. He also goes through the trials of trying to win over Estella. Monetary wealth has its pitfalls, and Pip's real education is learning that moral, loyal, spiritual wealth come from being true to oneself and those who are close to you.
What makes Great Expectations an exceptional novel is Dickens' memorable characters, multi-layered plot, and social commentary about the world. Many characters have depth to them, having faults and weaknesses along with strengths. Even one antagonist, Miss Havisham, who is quite despicable for much of the story, can be sympathized with when we know what she has experienced. She later has a change of heart, and feels a terrible amount of guilt about what she has done to Pip. Dickens also criticizes the state of the classes, with the rich getting richer and the poor being poorer, as well as the usage of class status to judge a person. A prevalent theme is the ills of ambition and wealth, and the loss of self when you "sell out" to become something or someone you are not. Great Expectations is just a wonderful story, also.
I'm so glad that Oprah chose Dickens as her choice. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't anything in the way of an introduction, but still, it is a fantastic deal for two solid classics. You can't go wrong there. For any Dickens fans, or anyone who wants to catch up on the classics, here is a nice buy for them. The font is also a decent size, which may seem to be a minute point, but many of Charles Dickens' novels are produced in microscopic font due to the length of many of his novels.
Excellent collection worth owning, especially for the Victorian Literature fan!
With A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, you have two of his best novels in one handy volume and at a great price.
Great Expectations has been called "the only perfect novel" by critics. It's a tale of redemption, secrets, romance and tragedy. There is something for everyone to savor in this timeless novel and like all great fiction, there is also valuable lessons to be learned. Dickens wrote for the people and though his style is outdated by today's standards, you'll find the themes and scenes are very much of the street and deal with everyday cares and concerns. It is the strength of this aspect of his writing that has led to its enduring through the centuries.
A Tale of Two Cities has twists that have been echoed in countless stories since then. This novel of the French Revolution is a-typical of Dickens as it is an historical tale and he usually wrote about the London of his time. But the book has transcended like so much of his work to the extent that it's has been referenced all through pop culture. Even Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan hinges it's dramatic high-points on the opening and closing lines of the novel. And this novel has, perhaps, both the best first and last lines in the history of fiction. Not bad for one book. Again, we've got intrigue, chases, escapes, unrequited love, romance and sacrifice.
With this great collection you'll find that the themes and ideas of all great storytelling are timeless and what we enjoy today is just a variation of what came before. As an author and avid reader myself, I know that great storytelling is timeless, eternal. With two of the best novels ever written, you're in for a treat with this collection.