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“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”
--- Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
"The Adventures of Oliver Twist," published serially in "Bentley's Miscellany," 1837-39, and in book form in 1838, was the second of Dickens's novels. It lacks the exuberance of "Pickwick," and is more limited in its scenes and characters than any other novel he wrote, excepting "Hard Times" and "Great Expectations." But the description of the workhouse, its inmates and governors, is done in Dickens's best style, and was a frontal attack on the Poor Law administration of the time. Bumble, indeed, has passed into common use as the typical workhouse official of the least satisfactory sort. No less powerful than the picture of Oliver's wretched childhood is the description of the thieves' kitchen, presided over by Fagin. Bill Sikes and the Artful Dodger are household words for criminals, and the character of Fagin is drawn with wonderful skill in this terrible view of the underworld of London.
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Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870)
Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 - 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular. Born in Portsmouth, England, Dickens left school to work in a factory after his father was thrown into debtors' prison. Although he had little formal education, his early impoverishment drove him to succeed. Over his career he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, 5 novellas and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children's rights, education, and other social reforms.
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