A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin) by Charles Dickens, Richard Maxwell (editor)

By Charles Dickens, Richard Maxwell (editor)

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Extra info for A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin)

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Lydia G. Cochrane (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), pp. 75–91. 20. For a transcription of the MS tale of seduction, see Andrew Sanders, The Companion to ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), pp. 156–7. See also n. 10. 21. Bulwer-Lytton’s letter to Dickens does not survive. Dickens’s response, a fascinating enumeration of sources as well as of narrative technique, is discussed in Appendix III. 22. Stephens’s critique, which was first published by the Saturday Review (1859), is reprinted in The Dickens Critics, ed.

More surprisingly, the controversy over droit du seigneur revived in France during the mid nineteenth century, just a few years before A Tale was written; the supposed prevalence of droit du seigneur during and after the Middle Ages became a bone of contention between anti-clerical liberals and neo-reactionary Catholics. As Alain Boureau has demonstrated, the debate became especially intense in 1854–5, then continued with sporadic vigour for some thirty years and ‘contributed greatly to the construction of the idea of a Middle Ages essentially different from other epochs and a foil or model for them’.

Behind him is an arched door, through which, in a dramatic effect of saturated yellow light, a half-unconscious woman dressed in white is led to a waiting tumbril. Throughout the much darker hall in which the prisoners wait to hear their names (or perhaps to escape death once more), Muller displays a series of grouped tableaux: people of contrasting ranks and conditions wait with horror, panic and resignation, or while whispering last words of friendship and love. ’ Just to the right of centre and in the foreground, sits the doomed poet André Chénier, searching for le mot juste.

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