‘Reddening the Snowy Streets:’ Manchester London, Paris or a Tale of Three Cities
This chapter explores Dickens’ triumphant performances of The Frozen Deep in London and Manchester as the locus of anxieties related to the nation’s desire to redeem the fabric of national honour after the Franklin expedition disaster. The play turns the city into a frozen deep plagued by denial. In A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens’ revolutionary Paris offers a tale of reverse cannibalism, which reveals the anxieties connected with a potential collapse of order in Britain. Dickens displaces the spectre of violence, while the bleak view of a frozen London makes it the uneasy antithesis of a ‘reddened’ Paris. However, symmetry and empty spaces come to haunt Manichean dichotomies and constantly point to dangerous duplication and reversal, undermining any clear vision in the urban space.