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AP English: Major Works Data SheetTitle: A Tale of Two CitiesAuthor: Charles DickensDate of Publication: 1859Genre: Historical- Fiction, Social Criticism Biographical information about the authorBritish novelist Charles Dickens was born February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. Over the course of his writing career, he wrote the beloved classic novels Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Citiesand Great Expectations. He was the second of eight children. Growing up, despite his parents’ best efforts, his family was very poor. Nevertheless, they were happy in the early days. However, when Dickens was 12, his father was sent to prison for debt. Following his father’s imprisonment, Charles Dickens was forced to leave school to work at a boot-blacking factory as the eldest male child. He was seen as an economic resource to the family, even after hisfather was released and paid of his debts from a family inheritance. He felt abandoned and betrayed by the adults who were supposed to take care of him. These sentiments would later become a recurring theme in his writing.He began his writing career as a journalist and had recognition with early works such as Sketches by Bozand the Pickwick Papers. Throught his life, Dickens lobbied for children’s rights, education, and other social reforms. He died of stroke in 1870, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.Historical information about period of publicationLike many of Dickens's novels, A Tale of Two Citieswas first published in installments in his magazine All the Year Round(Many Victorian novels at the time were first published in serial parts and then later collected into books.) The French Revolution, which raged from 1789 to 1793, involved an overthrow of the aristocratic ruling order by the lower classes and was followed by a period of terror. When Dickens was writing A Tale of Two Cities, the French Revolution was still the most dramatic issue in the public's recent memory. The revolution involved contentious issues for Dickens, a political radical who believed in poor law reform and who campaigned for a more equal society. He vividly portrays the hunger of the French people andthe brutality of the French aristocracy and he seemsto justify the lower class's desire for a revolution. Yet, he just as dramatically illustrates the barbarity of the revolutionaries when they dorise to power.SettingLondon, England and Paris, France. 1775-1790Right in the middle of the French Revolution, Dickens chooses to put a face to history by telling this story on both a political and personal front. He successfully blends both areas to make this novel timeless.Characteristics of the genreThe primary characteristic of historical fiction novels is a realistic historical setting. Like other fictional genres, historical fiction relies on an authentic sense of place. The setting of a historical novel is brought to life by detailed, factual portrayals of the setting's geography, culture, society and customs.