Oliver Twist by Charles DickensOliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist

byCharles Dickens

Mass Market Paperback | May 1, 1982


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."
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was born in Portsmouth, England, and spent most of his life in London. When he was twelve, his father was sent to debtor’s prison and he was forced to work in a boot polish factory, an experience that marked him for life. He became a passionate advocate of social reform and the most popular writer of the Vic...
Title:Oliver TwistFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 6.9 × 4.1 × 0.8 inPublished:May 1, 1982Publisher:Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553211021

ISBN - 13:9780553211023

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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring The beginning is frivolous and boring, the middle is frustrating, but at least the ending is interesting and slightly more enjoyable than the rest of the story.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great! Wonderful classic, although the quality of the book isn't the best
Date published: 2017-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oliver Twist One of my all time favourites!
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic I think that everyone should have to read Oliver Twist because it's definitely a classic. I really enjoyed this story.
Date published: 2017-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from classic #plumrewards such a classic, such a great story, it brought me back to my younger days and when my grandparents would read this to me
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable classic This is a very readable, enjoyable classic.
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dry but worth the Read An eye-opening tale of the lives of the poor in 19th Century England. At times heartbreaking, at times heartwarming, Oliver Twist is well worth the read.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dry Read but Excellent Story An eye-opening tale of the lives of the poor in 19th Century England. At times heartbreaking, at times heartwarming, Oliver Twist is well worth the read.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it Been wanting to read this book for awhile and I was not disappointed. It's the first Dickens novel that I read and has become a quick favourite. Looking forward to getting to read the rest of Dickens novels, hope they're just has good.
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magnificent This is the second Dickens novel I ever read, and it's his second best. This is a great read from one of literature's most celebrated geniuses. Epic tale of rags to riches horror of a young boy growing up in the sloth of Victorian England.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oliver twist My personal favourite by Dickens. Well worth reading.
Date published: 2016-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A difficult read, but a great story Well worth the challenging read. A great piece of fiction.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from my favourite Love the penguin classics edition.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from i loved this! my favourite book of all time. Buy it!
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unsettling, humourous, and always readable Oliver Twist is, unfortunately, the only Dickens novel I have ever picked up, and this read impinged on my having to read it for a final English paper; I saw unfortunately because I feel I SHOULD have read Dickens, but Oliver was, I believe—for myself, or anyone else—a great place to begin. While some people read novels for papers and end up abhorring them; I am ardently the opposite: while writing on a paper, I feel an intimacy with the novel that rises above a regular, casual reading of a text. Most, I’m sure, are familiar with the basic plotline of Oliver Twist—an orphan boy, the London criminal underworld, harsh and unsympathetic parochial officials, yadadada—and its thematic value still resonates today, even if our contemporary world does not resemble a filthy Victorian London: it still touches our sympathy, our inherent benevolence, and our vehemence. While at times I found myself laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the cruelty Dickens evokes within the story, it is heart-wrenching—and most definitely a must-read for anyone who loves literature.
Date published: 2010-12-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from 1st half focused on Oliver, but 2nd half didn't and my mind wandered. 2.5 stars Oliver Twist is an orphan and is shuffled around to various places where he is not treated kindly, when he finally has enough and runs away to London. In London, he initially meets up with a group of thieves. After a little more focus on Oliver that I don’t want to give away, a lot of the story suddenly follows other characters. I thought the first half of the book that primarily focused on Oliver was o.k. But once the story started following other characters (almost all the second half of the book), I found my mind wandering. I was not able to concentrate on what I was reading, so I kind of lost what was going on in the story.
Date published: 2010-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Forsaken Child The creative novel Oliver Twist, written by Charles Dickens in 1838, defines a classic of all times. This intense story reflects a young boy's life in London with no family or place to go. The novel begins with Oliver's mother dying, while giving birth to her son and the father remains unknown. Throughout the novel we learn about Oliver's struggles on living on his own. The young boy is befriended on the way and taken in my Fagin. Fagin along with the Artful Dodger invite Oliver to stay with them and become one of them, a thief. While going on one of the adventures of pick pocketing Oliver is caught by Mr.Brownlow who instead of reprimanding the young lad, decides to rise him. Throughout the book Oliver searches for the answers to his past while trying to stay alive on the streets of London. Miraculously, Oliver's family lay right under his nose the whole time. The theme of Oliver Twist examines the importance of a family. Oliver plays a forsaken child, abandoned by all-parental support and thrown into the cruel world at a very young age to live on his own. Oliver's early years taught him to fend for himself and he suffers from never experiencing a loving and nurturing childhood. The tone throughout the novel focused on abandonment and how to live and survive on your own. The setting of the book plays a powerful part as the story unfolded. Dickens describes the setting of London and all the places that Oliver stays very descriptively. "The street was very narrow and muddy, and the air was impregnated with filthy order. The walls and ceiling of the room were perfectly black with age and dirt..." (page. 56). Dickens explains the facilities that were available to poor Oliver, and makes them sound unbearable. He does an excellent job making the setting come alive and feel the characters thoughts. I would recommend this novel because I found it very moving and towards the end you are only hoping for the best for poor Oliver
Date published: 2009-09-06

Read from the Book

Chapter ITreats of the place where Oliver Twist was Born; and of the Circumstances attending his Birth.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.For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and trouble, by the parish surgeon, it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child would survive to bear any name at all; in which case it is somewhat more than probable that these memoirs would never have appeared; or, if they had, that being comprised within a couple of pages, they would have possessed the inestimable merit of being the most concise and faithful specimen of biography, extant in the literature of any age or country.Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a workhouse, is in itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance that can possibly befal a human being, I do mean to say that in this particular instance, it was the best thing for Oliver Twist that could by possibility have occurred. The fact is, that there was considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to take upon himself the office of respiration,-a troublesome practice, but one which custom has rendered necessary to our easy existence; and for some time he lay gasping on a little flock mattress, rather unequally poised between this world and the next: the balance being decidedly in favour of the latter. Now, if, during this brief period, Oliver had been surrounded by careful grandmothers, anxious aunts, experienced nurses, and doctors of profound wisdom, he would most inevitably and indubitably have been killed in no time. There being nobody by, however, but a pauper old woman, who was rendered rather misty by an unwonted allowance of beer; and a parish surgeon who did such matters by contract; Oliver and Nature fought out the point between them. The result was, that, after a few struggles, Oliver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise to the inmates of the workhouse the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could reasonably have been expected from a male infant who had not been possessed of that very useful appendage, a voice, for a much longer space of time than three minutes and a quarter.As Oliver gave this first proof of the free and proper action of his lungs, the patchwork coverlet which was carelessly flung over the iron bedstead, rustled; the pale face of a young woman was raised feebly from the pillow; and a faint voice imperfectly articulated the words, "Let me see the child, and die."The surgeon had been sitting with his face turned towards the fire: giving the palms of his hands, a warm and a rub alternately. As the young woman spoke, he rose, and advancing to the bed's head, said, with more kindness than might have been expected of him:"Oh, you must not talk about dying yet.""Lor bless her dear heart, no!" interposed the nurse, hastily depositing in her pocket a green glass bottle, the contents of which she had been tasting in a corner with evident satisfaction. "Lor bless her dear heart, when she has lived as long as I have, sir, and had thirteen children of her own, and all on 'em dead except two, and them in the wurkus with me, she'll know better than to take on in that way, bless her dear heart! Think what it is to be a mother, there's a dear young lamb, do."Apparently this consolatory perspective of a mother's prospects, failed in producing its due effect. The patient shook her head, and stretched out her hand towards the child.The surgeon deposited it in her arms. She imprinted her cold white lips passionately on its forehead; passed her hands over her face; gazed wildly round; shuddered; fell back-and died. They chafed her breast, hands, and temples; but the blood had stopped for ever. They talked of hope and comfort. They had been strangers too long."It's all over, Mrs. Thingummy!" said the surgeon at last."Ah, poor dear, so it is!" said the nurse, picking up the cork of the green bottle which had fallen out on the pillow as she stooped to take up the child. "Poor dear!""You needn't mind sending up to me, if the child cries, nurse," said the surgeon, putting on his gloves with great deliberation. "It's very likely it will be troublesome. Give it a little gruel7 if it is." He put on his hat, and, pausing by the bed-side on his way to the door, added "She was a good-looking girl, too; where did she come from?""She was brought here last night," replied the old woman, "by the overseer's order. She was found lying in the street. She had walked some distance, for her shoes were worn to pieces; but where she came from, or where she was going to, nobody knows."

From Our Editors

A young boy flees from an orphanage to London, only to be captured by thieves.

Editorial Reviews

"The power of [Dickens] is so amazing, that the reader at once becomes his captive, and must follow him whithersoever he leads."
--William Makepeace Thackeray