A Tale of Two Cities Historical Context

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Although A Tale of Two Cities takes place in a time some seventy years before Dickens was writing the novel, it does indirectly address contemporary issues with which the author was concerned. During the 1780s-the period in which the novel was set-England was a relatively peaceful and prosperous nation. Its national identity was caught up in a long war with France, which the French Revolution first interrupted, then continued. The ideals of the French Revolution were imported to England by political and literary radicals such as William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Many people, especially the English aristocracy and middle classes, feared these revolutionary values, seeing in them a threat to their prosperous and stable way of life. However, although there were social inequities in England as well as in France, England also had a long tradition of peaceful social change. In addition, the country's political leaders were...

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This section contains 608 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Tale of Two Cities Study Guide
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A Tale of Two Cities from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.