Oliver Twist: (200th Anniversary Edition) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Named a "national institution" by George Orwell, Dickens offers his most popular tale, of the orphan who is reared in a workhouse and runs away to London-a novel of social protest, a morality tale, and a detective story.


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Oliver Twist: (200th Anniversary Edition)

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Overview

Named a "national institution" by George Orwell, Dickens offers his most popular tale, of the orphan who is reared in a workhouse and runs away to London-a novel of social protest, a morality tale, and a detective story.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The inimitable Martin Jarvis brings his talents to bear on Charles Dickens's classic in an audiobook that will delight listeners with its superb recreations of gritty 19th-century London. To escape Mr. Bumble and life in the workhouse, Oliver flees to London where he meets the Artful Dodger and becomes embroiled with Fagin's ragtag band of thieves. Jarvis simply dazzles: his performance captures both the humor and sorrow of the text, his narration is crisp, and his characterizations--his rendition of the terrifying district magistrate, Mr. Fang, is particularly memorable--are as varied as they are energetic, befitting, and enjoyable. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101077696
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/5/2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 698,744
  • File size: 603 KB

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.


Biography

Born on February 7, 1812, Charles Dickens was the second of eight children in a family burdened with financial troubles. Despite difficult early years, he became the most successful British writer of the Victorian age.

In 1824, young Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work at a boot-blacking factory when his improvident father, accompanied by his mother and siblings, was sentenced to three months in a debtor's prison. Once they were released, Charles attended a private school for three years. The young man then became a solicitor's clerk, mastered shorthand, and before long was employed as a Parliamentary reporter. When he was in his early twenties, Dickens began to publish stories and sketches of London life in a variety of periodicals.

It was the publication of Pickwick Papers (1836-1837) that catapulted the twenty-five-year-old author to national renown. Dickens wrote with unequaled speed and often worked on several novels at a time, publishing them first in monthly installments and then as books. His early novels Oliver Twist (1837-1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841), and A Christmas Carol (1843) solidified his enormous, ongoing popularity. As Dickens matured, his social criticism became increasingly biting, his humor dark, and his view of poverty darker still. David Copperfield (1849-1850), Bleak House (1852-1853), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865) are the great works of his masterful and prolific period.

In 1858 Dickens's twenty-three-year marriage to Catherine Hogarth dissolved when he fell in love with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. The last years of his life were filled with intense activity: writing, managing amateur theatricals, and undertaking several reading tours that reinforced the public's favorable view of his work but took an enormous toll on his health. Working feverishly to the last, Dickens collapsed and died on June 8, 1870, leaving The Mystery of Edwin Drood uncompleted.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of David Copperfield.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles John Huffam Dickens (full name) "Boz" (pen name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1812
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portsmouth, England
    1. Date of Death:
      June 18, 1870
    2. Place of Death:
      Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Read an Excerpt

Chapter I

Treats 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."

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction

Chronology of Dickens's Life and Work

Historical Context of Oliver Twist

OLIVER TWIST

Notes

Interpretive Notes

Critical Excerpts

Questions for Discussion

Suggestions for the Interested Reader

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Reading Group Guide

1. Oliver Twist has been called a social satire, a melodrama, a cheaply sentimental novel, and a masterpiece. How would you categorize the novel and why?

2. Some critics have observed that Oliver Twist is merely a passive pawn in the deadly match between good and evil. It is further stipulated that the “good” characters, such as Mr. Brownlow and the Maylies, pale in comparison to the villains Fagan and Bill Sikes. Do you agree? Which characters are the most vivid and why?

3. According to the novelist George Gissing, “Oliver Twist had a twofold moral purpose: to exhibit the evil working of the Poor Law Act, and to give a faithful picture of the life of thieves in London.” How effective is Dickens in capturing these two worlds and what is the relationship between them? How does the author use social satire to advocate social reform?

4. In The Author’s Preface to the Third Edition Dickens staunchly defends his decision to depict low-life characters in a realistic manner. Drawing on the author’s arguments, what can you glean about Victorian sensibilities at the time Oliver Twist was published?

5. In 1863, a reader chided Dickens for his anti-Semitic portrayal of Fagin. Dickens responded, “If there be any general feeling on the part of the intelligent Jewish people, that I have done them what you describe as ‘a great wrong,’ they are a far less sensible people than I have always supposed them to be . . . Fagin, in Oliver Twist, is a Jew, because it unfortunately was true of the time to which that story refers, that that class of criminal almost invariably was a Jew.” Should novelists be held accountable for invoking negative stereotypes? Can you think of additional examples of stereotypes in classic literature? Discuss.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 376 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(260)

4 Star

(45)

3 Star

(27)

2 Star

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(30)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 312 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2001

    Charles Dickens and the poor

    Charles Dickens uses the novel Oliver Twist similarly to his many other novels to portray the life of the poor through the struggle of the main character. Oliver Twist is a bast@rd child who is forced into an orphanage (workhouse) for the poor. He eventually runs off and gets tangled up with a group of other poor children who steal for their leader in crime Fagin. While there, he learns the tricks of the trade and also discovers that it is not the life for him and struggles to get out. Charles Dickens does an excellent job of ridiculing the upper and middle class for their treatment of the poor, while delivering an excellent story about the adventures of Oliver Twist.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Not the whole book

    This version is only the first half of the book, I believe.

    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2009

    A CLASSIC!

    The book Oliver Twist written by Charles Dickens was very good. During the first semester of history I learned about the industrial revolution. Many children had to work long hours in factories or workhouses. The conditions were really bad. Oliver had to work in the workhouse from the time he was very young. I feel that it was unjust and cruel to make a little child work in a workhouse at such a young age. The children suffered greatly because food was scarce and also the work hours were so harsh it caused the children to become very weak and sick.
    The relationship between Oliver and Dodger is very strong. I think even though Dodger is a bad boy he is a good friend to Oliver. Dodger's personality is good though. He is very friendly and is a brother figure to Oliver. Oliver needs a friend like that because he an orphan, has been through a lot of harsh times working and living at the workhouse, and never met his family before.
    I also liked the plot of the story. Oliver is on a search to find his family with the help of the locket that his mother left for him after she gave birth to him. Oliver's persistent personality helps him through out the journey. He meets many various people that affect his life forever. For example, Dodger.
    I recommend this book to anyone that likes a book with suspense and a hint of history. I personally liked the book because I read it after I knew some information on the industrial revolution when this book takes place. The book made a lot of sense to me because I had a lot of knowledge of the industrial revolution and about the time period when the book takes place.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2000

    A young boy born in a filthy English work house.

    This story is about a young boy named Oliver Twist born in a work house in the mid 1800's. A work house is like todays orphange. This work house was very dirty and their was never enough to eat. Oliver is just a shy boy who can not take the harsh conditions of the work house. Oliver runs to London only to fall in with a croud of a youth pickpocket gang led by the crimnal Mr. Fagin. Oliver befriends some one in the gang, and finds his true identity, and gets his long over due inhairtence. This book is a classic Dickens book filled with action and suspence. I would give it 4 stars.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I <3 Charles Dickens

    My second Dickens work was not quite the ecstatic experience my first was, but it was still amazing. He does have a different sentence structure and they do tend to run on, but when you're done and you reflect on what you just read ... it was well worth the effort!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2009

    Book Review: Oliver Twist

    A young orphan born into a cruel world. Abused and mistreated by all of his peers, yet innocent at heart. Through good will the orphan finally finds his place in society, being accepted into his dream family. Sound a bit cliche? It should since this is a very common theme and plot that is present in many stories and novels. Although Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens, has the same cliche plot, it offers so much more through Dickens' mastery of the English language and his effectiveness at writing with it. In the book, Dickens vividly portrays nineteenth century London and the harsh conditions that the majority of the population have to endure. At first, it was somewhat difficult to comprehend Dickens' writing style, but as I became more familiar with it, it started to become easier to understand. The book starts with Oliver's birth in a child labor workhouse. Unfortunately Oliver's mother dies shortly after giving birth and Oliver is left in the care of the caretakers of the workhouse. Oliver is forced to work for the undertakers for the good majority of his childhood, but after his famous, "Please may I have some more," line, he is traded away by the workhouse for his rebellion. From there, he is apprenticed by a coffin maker. After being provoked into a fight with another apprentice, Oliver leaves and is eventually picked up by a pick-pocketing gang in London. From there the plot thickens, more conflicts arise, and poor Oliver is caught between everything. Despite this, Oliver eventually receives the happy ending he deserves.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2001

    Oliver Twist

    This story is a pretty much unabriged story compared to all the other Oliver Twist books I've read. A great book. Makes sense and does not have the word sense of Charles Dickens. I recommend this book for readers ages 9-23. As soon as you pick up this book you will not want to put it down.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2011

    idk

    i hinkghisnlooks like a good book but i diddnt get it bu if u r in theage group of 10-13 years old get a liz trigg book they r awesom

    2 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2001

    Oliver Twist tops all!

    Of all the wonderful books in the world, so far I have not read one that can top this classic! At sixteen years old I have just finished reading this masterpiece for the fifth time at least. It's an all-time-favorite. Though some people may argue that it is boring or childish, it is none of these. The characters are well developed with complex personalitys and the plot intriguing. Such a book is hard to find and ought to be appreciated!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    A captivating story!

    I had been for a long time having an obsession with the movie musical Oliver!. I have been enjoying the film (and I don't care about all the nasty things that people say about it) and my mother went out and got me a copy of the book because she knew how much I love the musical. Because the print in my paperback copy was very difficult to read, I ended up getting the nook edition. I've fallen in love with the story, and it bears a close resmblance to it's musical adaption. It's defintely worth the time it may take you to read it, and is a true classic. It is one of the many stories that has increased my love of Charles Dickens's works.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    To not the whole book

    Thisvis the whole book and if you say you believe it is but you arent sure, figure out the facts if you have never read this book before and you arent so sure find someone who does bc im tired of peeps trying to vsay that something isnt the full thing and they dont know if it is or not if u rnt sure find someone who does. Gosh im tiref of this mess.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    How many chapters?

    I read this book before, but I don't remember how many capters it has..... Can anyone tell mr?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2011

    G

    Good

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    The game on diet,

    Diet book

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2011

    Classic for a Reason

    This was one of the books that I missed in my earlier days and always felt that I should read. It was surprisingly a quick read with fabulous plot and character developement. I would love to read more Dickens in the future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2011

    Ick

    Its just my kind of book.

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2011

    Oliver twist

    i only highlight words so i do not read this vook

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    Fun read

    I read this book a long time ago and I love if it. The story was awesome and extremly entertaining.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2010

    This novel never gets too old

    Charles Dickens writing style is so human, it reads as though it was written recently. You can almost feel every pain that Oliver feels. I've read it many times.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2010

    Recommend you read this book!

    Oliver Twist is a complex story about a young boy who tries to find his place in this world. He wanders into sticky situations along the way, including a pick pocketer, bad adoptive parents and he had to walk 26 miles in three days to find salvation. Through his journey, Oliver runs into a wise little street tough who has knowledge about the big city, while beforehand being starved and mistreated by his previously adopted parent. I recommend this riviating tale to anyone who is a fan of Charles Dickens or a reader with a taste for high vocabulary.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 312 Customer Reviews

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