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By Charles Dickens, Richard Maxwell (editor)

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15. On John Russell’s advocacy of reform and its pertinence to A Tale, see Alan Horsman, The Victorian Novel (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), p. 143. Dickens’s dedication (see Appendix II) of the novel to him is perhaps the best indication of how the author conceived its contemporary relevance. g. there are loose parallels to the Indian Mutiny of 1857, to events in the France of Napoleon III or to the Italian revolution then in progress (and covered by All the Year Round at the same time that it was running A Tale).

W. ’ 11 This boldly declared position – reworked in our own time by revisionist historians of the Revolution, such as François Furet – is sometimes attributed to Dickens himself. After all, the shuttling of A Tale between London and Paris has the effect of abridging the Revolution; by a process of exclusion, Dickens insists that a few vital points of reference will, at least for his purposes, do it justice. ) A Tale not only emphasizes the ruthlessness of the Terror, but chooses to concentrate almost exclusively on that epoch.

22 This criticism is not without its point; for reasons suggested above, the Evrémonde brothers occupy a great deal of psychic space in the reader’s mind. At the same time, a dense but compact sketch at the beginning of Book II, Chapter 7 pinpoints another side of the pre-Revolutionary aristocracy; here Dickens writes in terms that harmonize well not only with his immediate sources, such as Carlyle, Mercier, Bulwer-Lytton and Dumas, but also with late twentieth-century work on the cultural history of the Revolution.

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