McLenan's Illustrations for A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

Philip V. Allingham, Contributing Editor, Lakeheadæ University, Thunder Bay, Ontario

A Tale of Two Cities appeared between 30 April through 26 November 1859 in thirty-one weekly parts in All the Year Round and eight monthly instalments, illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz"); it also appeared between 7 May and December 3 1859 in Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization, the editors of the New York weekly illustrated magazine having purportedly paid the British author "five thousand dollars" (as the bannerhead of each week's instalment announces) for the "early Proof-sheets" from the offices of All the Year Round. Throughout its serial run in Harper's, A Tale of Two Cities lagged behind its British counterpart by one week, a fact that would suggest that the Harper's house illustrator, John McLenan, had very little time to read and digest each instalment after it arrived in New York. There is no significant difference between the two serials in terms of the contents of each instalment, other than the sixty-four American illustrations, and the fact that British spellings such as "honoured" ("honored," p. 781) have been altered to conform to American usage.

A NEW TALE BY DICKENS. In addition to Mr. Curtis's beautiful Story [Trumps, which began its serial run on 16 April 1859], now in course of publication in this paper, we have great pleasure in announcing that we have made arrangements with Mr. CHARLES DICKENS for the early sheets of his new Serial, entitled A TALE OF TWO CITIES, Which will be commenced in the next Number of HARPER'S WEEKLY, and continued from week to week until completed. [First page of Vol. III, No. 122, 30 April 1859, p. 273]

Related Materials


Victorian Web Overview Victorian Book
Illustration A Tae of Two Cities John McLenan

Last modified 17 November 2006