Oliver Twistby Published 01 Jan 2003
Oliver Twist Ebook Description
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A gripping portrayal of London's dark criminal underbelly, published in Penguin Classics with an introduction by Philip Horne.
The story of Oliver Twist - orphaned, and set upon by evil and adversity from his first breath - shocked readers when it was published. After running away from the workhouse and pompous beadle Mr Bumble, Oliver finds himself lured into a den of thieves peopled by vivid and memorable characters - the Artful Dodger, vicious burglar Bill Sikes, his dog Bull's Eye, and prostitute Nancy, all watched over by cunning master-thief Fagin. Combining elements of Gothic Romance, the Newgate Novel and popular melodrama, Dickens created an entirely new kind of fiction, scathing in its indictment of a cruel society, and pervaded by an unforgettable sense of threat and mystery.
This Penguin Classics edition of Oliver Twist is the first critical edition to faithfully reproduce the text as its earliest readers would have encountered it from its serialisation in Bentley's Miscellany, and includes an introduction by Philip Horne, a glossary of Victorian thieves' slang, a chronology of Dickens's life, a map of contemporary London and all of George Cruikshank's original illustrations.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Oliver Twist Reviews
I swear Dickens named one of his characters Master Bates on purpose.
"What's a prostitute?"
A student in the library asked me that, and I was baffled for two reasons. First of all, I thought that teenagers are well-informed nowadays, and I also thought she was reading in a corner, not surfing the internet in the work area (where I imagined she would come across the term). As so often, I was wrong on all accounts, which I realised when I explained that a prostitute is a woman selling her body, and received the reply:
"Ah, you mean a whore, why can't Dickens just say that then and stop using all these fancy words?"
The student waved a copy of Oliver Twist in front of me, and I couldn't help laughing out loud, feeling somehow transported into a Dickensian situation.
And before I knew it, I had checked out another copy of it to a student listening in on the conversation. I bet he wanted to enhance his vocabulary skills - and I don't mind at all!
"Please, Sir, I want some more!"
Oliver Twist THE BOOK is crap and has NO songs in it, I couldn't believe it. So I googled and get this, it turns out they put those in the movie and Dickens had nothing to do with it! But since they were the best bit of the film, you can understand my horror and bereft sense of disappointment when I finally came to pick up the book.
How could Dickens NOT have thought of having little Oliver sing Where Is Love when chucked into the cellar or Who Will Buy This Loverly Morning when he wakes up in his posh house...I mean yeah he was supposed to be good wasn't he? And please note the edition I read was not a Readers Digest Condensed Edition. When you DON'T have Fagin capering about warbling "In this life one thing counts/ In the bank, large amounts/I'm afraid these don't grow on trees/You got to pick a pocket or two" with that pederastic twinkle in his eyes as he surveys his small boys then alas I'm sorry to say that what you're left with is a bit of an antisemitic caricature lashed to a morality tale whose immoral moral appears to be that rich is good, poor is bad, and you better get yourself a deus ex machina in the form of a very unlikely sugardaddy to magic you out of the poorhouse or the rats will eat your bollocks, your bones will turn to dust and be blown away and no one will ever hire cute kids to pretend to be you on stage or screen and melt our hearts and win Oscars and Tonys. Which I think we all knew.
The film is better. There I said it. It has taken me five years to read this book, five whole years.
To me that says a lot. I just could never get into it. Perhaps if I’d not seen the film I would have enjoyed the story more. I may have seen the charmless characters as part of Dickens attack on society and its lack of social justice. Instead I just saw them for what they were: charmless.
There’s just a certain lack of life within these pages. Oliver, the protagonist, is somewhat unlikable himself. And that’s odd. He just did not have a great deal about him other than a child’s curiosity and a will to survive on the harsh streets of Victorian London. I sympathised with him where I could, I felt sorry for his situation, though I never liked him. So that made the book hard to read from the start. I was not remotely invested in him.
For example if you compare this to another popular work of the era Jane Eyre, you will see how poor Dicken’s characterisation is. From the get go the reader is made to care for Jane and her plight. Her story drives the narrative forward. The social obstacles she faces feel like obstacles; they don’t define the story: she does. With Oliver I felt like it was the other way round and I simply could not enjoy the book as a result.
You have no idea how relieved I was to finish this today. My battle is over. I was determined to finish it. Getting through Ulysses was easier than this.
“It is because I think so much of warm and sensitive hearts, that I would spare them from being wounded.”
Welcome to the 19th century! The Industrial Revolution is in full flow. Money is being made, the population is thriving. The working-class is suffering and the Poor Law is in operation. Oliver Twist is born under testing circumstances as his unmarried mother dies in childbirth and his father is nowhere to be found. The Poor Law stated: "..... poor-law authorities should no longer attempt to identify the fathers of illegitimate children and recover the costs of child support from them." Hence, Oliver is now an illegitimate orphan. The book details on Oliver's struggles as a child, the mistreatment he receives from a society of scoundrels in a dog-eat-dog world.
Oliver Twist is well known for its portrayal of English workhouse conditions. The infamous scene where the hungry children draw lots and the loser must ask for a second portion of gruel. Upon being asked, the well-fed, hypocritical workhouse owners brand him a troublemaker and offer to send him away to anyone willing, showing another cruel aspect of the Poor Law and the mistreatment of orphans at the time.
"Please, sir, I want some more."
The story showcases Oliver's pure soul in a world of misery and poverty. The novel also illustrates a horrific image of 19th century London slums, riddled with disease and poverty with shady crime circles. We see a world where even children are not spared their innocence.
"Oliver meets the Artful Dodger."
Despite the grim contents of the book, the story, however, eventually proves that kindness does lurk in murky corners as well. Oliver finds himself the recipient of love more than once in the novel and his story eventually finds a respectable conclusion. A personal favorite of mine, Oliver Twist to me is the definitive illustration of Dickensian literature. A representation of 19th century poverty and crime, the novel is a classic tale of a child's survival in a world marked by cruelty.