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Corporate RomanticismLiberalism, Justice, and the Novel$
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Daniel M. Stout

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823272235

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823272235.001.0001

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Nothing Personal

Nothing Personal

The Decapitations of Character in A Tale of Two Cities

Chapter:
(p.115) 4. Nothing Personal
Source:
Corporate Romanticism
Author(s):

Daniel M. Stout

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823272235.003.0005

Chapter four looks at Charles Dickens’s 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities. By examining parallels between the novel and Robespierre’s political philosophy, this chapter argues that Dickens’s novel understands the French Revolution not as an event that gave individuals the right of self-governance but as the event that formalized a conception of citizenship in which individual persons stand as avatars for the national will. The Revolutionary Terror and the guillotine are thus seen as the logical consequence of a theory of the nation that prioritized the People over individual persons.

Keywords:   capital punishment, Charles Dickens, French Revolution, historical novel, narrative form, Robespierre, A Tale of Two Cities

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