F415 A Far, Far Better Thing: Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities
Mondays, 11:50 – 1:15, Jun. 22 – Jul. 13
Instructor: Kay Menchel
Charles Dickens has been called the Shakespeare of the novel because of his unsurpassed virtuosity in that genre and his worldwide appeal. His sentences glitter with comedy and human insight and his narrative edifices present the reader with a panoramic and unforgettably atmospheric view of society at every level. In this course we will read one of his most acclaimed novels, A Tale of Two Cities (1859), in which Dickens paints an indelible portrait of France and England during the French Revolution. We will consider how the work functions as historical fiction—for Dickens was writing about events which took place decades before the Victorian era—and how it might also function as an oblique commentary on the England of Dickens’ own time. Naturally, we will examine Dickens’ many stunning technical accomplishments as well, which make this one of the most absorbing and moving novels ever written.
Kay Menchel, who grew up in Yorkshire, England, is a lawyer who also holds an MA in English literature from George Mason University. She has taught numerous literature classes and always enjoys sharing her passion for English literature with OLLI members.