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9780140430172

Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics)

Dickens, Charles Author

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This fiercely comic tale stands in marked contrast to its genial predecessor, "The Pickwick Papers." Set against London's seedy back street slums, "Oliver Twist" is the saga of a workhouse orphan captured and thrust into a thieves' den, where some of Dickens's most depraved villains preside: the incorrigible Artful Dodger, the murderous bully Sikes, and the terrible Fagin, that treacherous ringleader whose grinning knavery threatens to send them all to the "ghostly gallows." Yet at the heart of this drama is the orphan Oliver, whose unsullied goodness leads him at last to salvation. In 1838 the publication of "Oliver Twist" firmly established the literary eminence of young Dickens. It was, according to Edgar Johnson, "a clarion peal announcing to the world that in Charles Dickens the rejected and forgotten and misused of the world had a champion."

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From the Back Cover:

Charles Dickens’s famous second novel recounts the story of a boy born in the workhouse and raised in an infant farm as he tries to make his way in the world. Intended to raise feeling against the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 (which had emphasized the workhouse as an appropriate means of dealing with the problem of poverty), Oliver Twist also provides a sweeping portrait of London life in the 1830s—including the life of the criminal elements in society. Oliver Twist was first published in serialised form (with illustrations by George Cruikshank) in Bentley's Miscellany between February 1837 and April 1839. It was issued with some corrections and revisions in ten numbers in 1846 by Bradbury and Evans (which then also issued the same text in a single volume). Each of these ten numbers, including the Cruikshank illustrations and the advertisements, is included in this facsimile reprint of the 1846 edition. This is one of a series from Broadview Press of facsimile reprint editions—editions that provide readers with a direct sense of these works as the Victorians themselves experienced them.

About the Author:

Charles Dickens was born at Portsmouth on 7 February 1812. He received little formal education, but taught himself shorthand and became a reporter of parliamentary debates for the Morning Chronicle. He began to publish sketches in various periodicals, which were subsequently republished as Sketches by Boz. The Pickwick Papers were published in 1836-7 and after a slow start became a publishing phenomenon and Dickens's characters the centre of a popular cult. He began Oliver Twist in 1837, followed by Nicholas Nickleby (1838) and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41).After finishing Barnaby Rudge (1841) Dickens set off for America; he went full of enthusiasm for the young republic but, in spite of a triumphant reception, he returned disillusioned. His experiences are recorded in American Notes (1842). Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4) did not repeat its predecessors' success but this was quickly redressed by the huge popularity of the Christmas Books, of which the first, A Christmas Carol, appeared in 1843. During 1844-6 Dickens travelled abroad and he began Dombey and Son while in Switzerland. This and David Copperfield (1849-50) were more serious in theme and more carefully planned than his early novels. In later works, such as Bleak House (1853) and Little Dorrit (1857), Dickens's social criticism became more radical and his comedy more savage. Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870.

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