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Free Barron's Booknotes-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-Summary
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L'ABBAYE - Prison of the French monarchy, used by the Revolutionaries to jail aristocrats.

BARMECIDE - Member of a fictional Persian family (in The Arabian Nights), who treated a beggar to a mock feast. Dickens' reference-"Barmecide room"- emphasizes that no dining ever occurred at Tellson's.

BASTILLE - French fortress used to confine state prisoners; the Bastille was much hated by the people.

BEDLAM - Shortened form of Bethlehem Hospital for the Insane. In the 18th century visiting Bedlam was a popular London excursion; in our own day the term has become general for lunacy or chaos.

CONCIERGERIE - Prison attached to the Palace of Justice in Paris. Marie Antoinette, Robespierre, and other famous prisoners of the Revolution awaited execution here; between January 1793 and July 1794 nearly 2,600 prisoners left for the guillotine.

CONVULSIONISTS - Group of French religious enthusiasts given to wild dancing and fits; in fashion somewhat before the time Dickens describes.

FLEET STREET - London newspaper and business district, well known to Dickens.

LA FORCE - Old debtors' prison of Paris; during the Revolution it held political offenders.

FURIES - In Greek and Roman mythology, minor deities who relentlessly pursued sinners.

GAZETTE - Official government publication in England, containing bankruptcy and other notices; to be "driven into the Gazette" is to be published a bankrupt.

GORGON'S HEAD - Reference to Medusa, the Gorgon, a monster of Greek mythology. All who looked at Medusa were turned to stone. The hero Perseus succeeded in cutting off her head.

HILARY TERM - Sitting of the English High Court of Justice, extends from January to just before Easter.

HOTEL DE VILLE - French term for any city hall; here, the Paris City Hall.

JACQUERIE - Originally applied to a French peasant revolt in the Middle Ages, the term came to mean any uprising of the common people. Jacques was the old collective name for French peasants, which Defarge and his revolutionary friends co-opt, proudly, as a password: "How goes it, Jacques?"

LEONORA, BALLAD OF - Ballad of Gothic horror, composed in 1773 and popular among European romantics.

MICHAELMAS TERM - Fall sitting of English High Court of Justice, beginning after September 29 (the Feast of St. Michael).

NEWGATE - Infamous London prison, now demolished; held prisoners awaiting trial at the Old Bailey, next door.

OLD BAILEY - London court of law, remodeled into the Centre Criminal Court, but still widely called "Old Bailey."

RANELAGH - Suburban pleasure garden popular with mid-18th-century Londoners, but falling out of favor when Stryver proposes inviting Lucie Manette there.

SAINT ANTOINE - Suburb (faubourg) of Paris that supported primitive manufacturing; its impoverished residents were the backbone of the Revolutionary mob.

SARDANAPALUS - Greek name for king of ancient Assyria, made proverbial by his lavish display of wealth.

SESSIONS - Periodic sittings or meetings of English justices of the peace; the Sessions deal with certain crimes and statutes.

SOHO - Cosmopolitan district of central London.

TEMPLE BAR - London gateway dividing Fleet Street from the Strand; the heads of executed traitors were displayed on it. Designed by Christopher Wren in 1670, Temple Bar was removed to a private estate in 1878.

TOWER OF LONDON - Fortress where those imprisoned for treason awaited trial.

TUILERIES, PALACE OF - Paris residence of the French kings, and hated symbol of the monarchy. Burnt down by French Revolutionaries of 1871.

TYBURN - London gallows called "Tyburn tree," until 1783 for hanging felons. Public executions became festivals, drawing large crowds.

VAUXHALL GARDENS - Popular suburban resort, opened in 1660, closed in 1859- the year A Tale of Two Cities was printed.

WALTON, IZAAK - Author of The Compleat Angler, 17th-century treatise on fishing.

WHITEFRIARS - London district between Thames and Fleet Street, long a haunt of fugitive debtors and criminals and so an appropriate address for Jerry Cruncher, body snatcher.

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