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Oliver Twist (Hardcover Classics) by Charles…

Oliver Twist (Hardcover Classics) (original 1838; edition 2010)

by Charles Dickens, Philip Horne (Editor), Coralie Bickford-Smith (Illustrator)

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The adventures of an orphan boy who lives in the squalid surroundings of a nineteenth century English workhouse until he becomes involved with a gang of thieves.
Title:Oliver Twist (Hardcover Classics)
Authors:Charles Dickens
Other authors:Philip Horne (Editor), Coralie Bickford-Smith (Illustrator)
Info:Penguin Classics Hardcover (2010), Edition: Reprint, Hardcover, 608 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:red room

Work details

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (1838)

  1. 31
    Jack Dawkins by Charlton Daines (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Unauthorised sequel about the life of the Artful Dodger as an adult when he returns to England.
  2. 86
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (Leishai)
  3. 10
    The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: Another look at Victorian corruption and crime. More comprehensive and more sinister.
  4. 11
    Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (swampygirl)
  5. 11
    The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti (derelicious)
  6. 12
    The Adventures of Nathaniel Swubble: The Story of a Parish Boy's Childhood by Lilian Margaret Spencer (millylitre)

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Written in 1837, during Dickens' astronomical rise to success, Oliver Twist is his third major work, second novel, and the negative counterpart to its exact contemporary, The Pickwick Papers. One could argue it's still the work that has had the greatest impact on the public psyche: Dodger, Fagin, Nancy, and Bill loom large in the collective cultural consciousness, don't they? Who can forget Oliver asking for more, or the climactic tightrope walk? In truth, this is not a brilliant work. Only Fagin has any sparks of internal life, and he's an unfortunate anti-Semitic caricature common to the era. Oliver Twist, carrying the torch from some of Dickens' sentimental Sketches is a rather lifeless little twig. What works in the story is the vividness of "low" culture, and Dickens' already fierce moral stance on the inhumanity of much of 19th century English culture. Certainly a worthwhile read, but possibly the least of Dickens' "Big Fifteen". The relatively straightforward Twist will give way to the diffuse, picaresque Nicholas Nickleby, and then the real Dickens will be formed. ( )
  therebelprince | Jun 24, 2021 |
Poor Dick was Dead! ( )
  rosscharles | May 19, 2021 |
So many others have written excellent reviews of Dickens' classic that I will only comment on a couple of Christian themes that beautifully adorn this classic. First of all is the Redemption motif -- Redemption offered and rejected, as well as Redemption finally received. Some of the scoundrels of whom Oliver's early life in London is associated reveal this double-sided coin both beautifully and tragically. Secondly, the concept of Sovereign Grace is abundantly displayed in the life of Oliver Twist. Writing this hours after turning the last page, I still cannot take my mind off of my favourite character in the novel -- the prostitute Nancy. She, above all, pictures both sides of the Redemption theme. As for Oliver, whose life was once mired in the same slime as that of his earliest compatriots, we see him through a series of "coincidences", rescued from his hopeless condition. ( )
  HowHop | Apr 11, 2021 |
Oliver lives the inevitably difficult life of an orphan born in a Victorian-era rural poorhouse and after escaping to London encounters a variety of fascinating personalities in what most would consider the dregs of the city before discovering kindred and kind spirits elsewhere.

I went into this novel knowing mostly just, "Please sir I want some more" and the names of Fagin and the Artful Dodger. Beyond that I hadn't really been exposed to the plot of the novel before so had little expectations except those built in from my other experiences with Dickens. I did enjoy the read but of this cast of characters Oliver is the least interesting part. Instead its the other people he encounters along the way who are the true draw here, whether it's conflicted Nancy, the hypocritical Bumbles, or the kind and clever Brownlow and Rose. There's glimpses of the humour and observations I've loved in other Dickens novels but they're lighter on the ground here. There's also a whole heaping pile of anti-Semitism in the character of Fagin (and at least one notable dig at the Irish); not unusual for the period but still not cool. Glad to have experienced for all the many cultural references that come from this one but not destined to make it into my list of top Dickens' novels. ( )
  MickyFine | Jan 8, 2021 |
I think I like Dickens’ truly comedic books more than his melodramas. This one does have many of his engaging features, like situations that evoke a reader’s sympathies, characters so bad that they become villainous archetypes, and settings that match the characters most extreme emotions. And (almost) everyone gets their just deserts in the end, however contrived that may seem.
What makes this novel problematic is, first, that poor Oliver is such a weak character. He has little character of his own beyond his innate sense of rightness and injustice, and since he is always the victim of injustice it takes little virtue for him to object to it. I think that everything that happens to him, whether good or bad, is imposed on him by other characters, from the governors of the orphanage or the evil den of thieves to the wealthy and principled family and friends who save him. Perhaps they would have been less inclined to save him had he not had such a pure and noble character, although they do try to save Nancy, too. But this is also a problem. Oliver is pure and noble only because he was born of a pure and noble mother, not because of anything he learned in his miserable upbringing. But Nancy has a common birth and she is too far gone to be saved, even though she is generous and protective toward Oliver. Dickens’ Victorian morals reserve good character to those of good birth, and only they are saved. I don’t know if Dickens was conscious of this, but it puts his sympathies for the working classes on a very limited basis.
Nevertheless, this is a social satire, and a pointed one. The contrast between Oliver’s true saviors and those who are appointed to help the orphans is acute. The self-serving, greedy middle-class governors of the orphanage and the small business owners who bully and exploit their child workers are little better than the criminal gang that Oliver escapes to – perhaps worse, as Oliver seems generally well-fed and warm with Fagin’s gang, and enjoys the company of Charley and Jack the Artful Dodger. Of course, the gang does threaten and intimidate him into thievery that Oliver clearly wants no part of. He only avoids them by the luck of being captured by good-hearted saviors who turn out to be the only people in London who can discover his true story.
In Dickens, it’s always the characters that make the story memorable, and their strength makes Oliver himself fade away. This story presents the pompous Bumble and the avaricious wife he ties himself to, the cheerful Dodger, the truly nasty Bill Sikes and his unhappy partner Nancy, and the conniving Fagin. These are such colourful characters that they overshadow the purity of Mr Brownlow, Harry and Rose, and even Oliver himself. The villains are always more colourful.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to ignore the anti-Semitism that colours Dickens’ portrait of Fagin, whom he commonly simply calls the Jew and shows hovering over his hoard of stolen treasure. The stereotype of the Jewish criminal miser leaves an unpleasant taste. Fagin only stops being a caricature in his final days when he faces death and Dickens shows his disordered torment with surprising sympathy.
The Victorians had quite a taste for maudlin sentimentality, and that is one of the forces driving the story. Dickens’ characters and his descriptive writing elevate the novel beyond that, but modern audiences must have a hard time getting beyond the sentimentality. I suppose that’s why modern adaptations like the movies and the musical leave a lot of the story line out to create a celebration of the characters that is fun, if not very close to Dickens’ original. ( )
  rab1953 | Nov 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
Oliver Twist, a meek, mild young boy, is born in the workhouse and spends his early years there until, finding the audacity to ask for more food, he is made to leave. Apprenticed to an undertaker by Mr Bumble, Oliver runs away in desperation and falls in with Fagin and his gang of thieves where he begins his new life in the criminal underworld.

Under the tutelage of the satanic Fagin, the brutal Bill Sikes and the wily Artful Dodger, Oliver learns to survive, although he is destined not to stay with Fagin but to find his own place in the world.

With its terrifying evocation of the hypocrisy of the wealthy and the depths to which poverty pushes the human spirit, Oliver Twist is both a fascinating examination of evil and a poignant moving novel for all times.
added by letonia | editPenguin Popular Classics

» Add other authors (185 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionscalculated
Allen, Walter ErnestPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cruikshank, GeorgeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fairclough, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ghiuselev, IassenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayens, KennethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heilig, Matthias R.abridged bysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoppé, E.O.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horne, PhillipEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
House, HumphryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howe, IrvingIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jarvis, MartinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, EdgarIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kelk, C.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Comte, EdwardAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leopoldo de Verneuil, EnriqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Méndez Herrera, JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mahoneij, J.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Margolyes, MiriamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, JillIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nix, GarthIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oddera, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Slater, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Lawrence BeallIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tillotson, Kathleensecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, AngusIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.
Please, sir, I want some more.
If the law supposes that, the law is a ass-- a idiot.
What have paupers to do with soul or spirit? It's quite enough that we let 'em have live bodies.
"We have none of us long to wait for Death. Patience, patience! He'll be here soon enough for us all."
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The adventures of an orphan boy who lives in the squalid surroundings of a nineteenth century English workhouse until he becomes involved with a gang of thieves.

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Penguin Australia

6 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439742, 0451529715, 0141031719, 0141322438, 0141192496, 0141198885

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