Thursday, 21 March 2013

Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities

 Hello everyone! I thought it had been a while since I posted anything bookworm-ish. Having just completed my assignment on this novel, it has actually made it all the more interesting to me. This is one of Charles Dickens's more experimental books, and yet it encompasses everything I love about Victorian literature!

"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 - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

Urgh, amazing. At the moment I am studying a module on Dickens. I must admit, it has been difficult, as the author was not known for his brevity! At some point in my life I would like to do a Victorian Literature MA, as it's just so interesting. Although a lot of people claim that all Victorian literature is a bit "samey" I think it's wonderful! I believe that every author of the period has their own Twist (like what I did there?). I'm currently writing my undergraduate thesis on degeneration in Victorian literature, and I find it incredibe that connections that I find in the majority of the books can be made with authors such as Dickens and George Eliot.

This is the one book that has really stuck out for me on the module so far. I'd recommend it to anyone. Although it is a story set during the French Revolution, it is so accessible and enjoyable to read! It's full of loveable characters, and truly evil ones! My favourite character is definitely Miss Pross, who wears a hat that resembles a piece of Stilton on her head, ha!

The language is beautiful, sensitive and simple - and especially during the last few pages. I was blubbing to my heart's content, so make sure that you keep some tissues handy by that point! After six hundred pages (in my edition) you become quite attached to many of the characters. Reading is like sleep, it is one of the few solitary acts in life that allow you to befriend those present in your imagination (except this is obviously much longer than a nap!). The book has definitely made me want to delve into French history again once I graduate. I went through a phase a few years ago in which I was completely obsessed with Marie Antoinette! I find it interesting that Dickens chose to go back to the French Revolution, as I hadn't really come across many texts since I took my Romanticism course (oh, Byron). Ah well, enough of that! I shall finish my digression!

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