- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (November 30, 1966)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140430172
- ISBN-13: 978-0140430172
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 65 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,969,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics) Paperback – November 30, 1966
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(in full Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress, by "Boz") Novel by Charles Dickens, published serially from 1837 to 1839 in Bentley's Miscellany and in a three-volume book in 1838. The novel was the first of the author's works to depict realistically the impoverished London underworld and to illustrate his belief that poverty leads to crime. Written shortly after adoption of the Poor Law of 1834, which halted government payments to the poor unless they entered workhouses, Oliver Twist used the tale of a friendless child, the foundling Oliver Twist, as a vehicle for social criticism. While the novel is Victorian in its emotional appeal, it is decidedly unsentimental in its depiction of poverty and the criminal underworld, especially in its portrayal of the cruel Bill Sikes, who kills his kindly girlfriend Nancy for helping Oliver and who is himself accidentally hung by his own rope. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
About the Author
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.
Philip Horne has spent a decade looking at the thousands of James's letters in archives in the United States and Europe. A Reader in English Literature at University College, London, he is the author of Henry James and Revision and the editor of the Penguin Classics edition of James's The Tragic Muse.
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Top customer reviews
What a tale! Young Oliver is born in the workhouse to a mother who dies giving him birth. He is apprenticed to the undertaker Sowerby; fights with one of the undertakers idiotic apprentices Noah Claypool; flees to London and comes into the clutches of the evil Fagin arch pickpocket. In this den of thieves we meet such unforgettable characters as the Artful Dodger; the despicable Bill Sikes and his mistress Nancy.
There are also many good people who populate the many pages of this novel. The Maylie family especially young Rose who rescue Oliver after he is injured in a foiled robbery escapade are helpful to the young waif. Mr. Brownlow is also a rescuer who eventually adopts Oliver. This novel is a fine bildungsroman as we follow child Oliver on his tempestuous journey through the London streets.
Oliver Twist contains many scenes which are film worthy. These scenes include the flight of Bill Sikes from the London mob following his murder of Nancy; Fagin's last hours in Newgate Prison prior to his being hanged;
the vivid descriptions of nineteenth century London and pastoral scenes
of beauty. The portrait of Oliver's half-brother Monks is well drawn.
The novel is not perfect. It relies too much on coincidence to be realistic. It is if you will a fairy tale but a great one!