Oliver Twist: Audio CD

Oliver Twist: Audio CD

4.3 299
by Charles Dickens

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One of the first English novels to feature a child as its protagonist, Oliver Twist, published in 1838, moves through the Victorian underworld to tell a suspenseful tale of innocence threatened—yet ultimately triumphant. Mining memories of his own youth to imagine the experiences of the foundling Oliver, Dickens creates a heartbreaking drama full of…  See more details below


One of the first English novels to feature a child as its protagonist, Oliver Twist, published in 1838, moves through the Victorian underworld to tell a suspenseful tale of innocence threatened—yet ultimately triumphant. Mining memories of his own youth to imagine the experiences of the foundling Oliver, Dickens creates a heartbreaking drama full of unforgettable characters. This Nonesuch edition presents the author's final text and all of the illustrations Dickens himself selected to complement his words.

The Legendary Nonesuch Dickens, issued in the 1930s, presented the writing of the foremost English novelist in its most distinguished format. Upon its original publication, the set was hailed as "one of the most glorious publishing achievements of our time." Now the peerless Nonesuch standards have been revived in new editions of Dickens' most beloved works, introducing a new generation of readers to these masterpieces of literature, illustration and book design.

The Nonesuch Press was founded in London by Francis Meynell in 1923. Applying the refinement and expertise of the private press aesthetic to commercial publishing, Nonesuch books were among the most elegant and treasured volumes produced in the first half of the twentieth century. The fabled Nonesuch Dickens was the Press' most ambitious project, treasured both for its quality and its rarity: only 877 twenty-four volume sets were issued, and complete original sets have sold recently at auction for more than $30,000.

Employing modern printing technology seven decades later, each book in the revived Nonesuch Dickens replicates the enduring editorial and design excellence of its inspiration at an affordable price.

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Editorial Reviews

Saturday Review
Mr. Dickens may be reasonably proud of these volumes.... he has written a story that is new, original, powerful and very entertaining.... It is in his best vein, and although it is too slight, and bears many traces of hasty writing, it is quite worthy to stand beside Martin Chuzzlewit and David Copperfield.
—July 20, 1861
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A Twist of Beauty. An inviting design may inspire readers of a newly abridged edition of Charles Dickens's classic Oliver Twist to join the hero in asking, please sir, for more. Christian Birmingham spots nearly every page of text with a small, charcoal-gray image, and complements important scenes with full-page color illustrations. Birmingham's hues are predominantly deep, somber and gritty, but not without occasional flashes of royal blues and golds. Text is shaded in the faintest yellow, soft on the eye.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Oliver Twist is a young boy caught up in terrible circumstances--young and poor, he is led into a life of crime. Dickens wrote his story to bring attention to the appalling conditions faced by London's poor and especially the plight of poor children. His story is gripping and the characters memorable. Andrews has illustrated the story with pencil illustrations. The soft, muted colors fit well with the gloomy atmosphere of London's underworld peopled with the likes of Fagin and the Artful Dodger. Oliver as it turns out was the illegitimate son of a man of means and in the end his life takes a turn for the better--which was not the fate of most of his contemporaries. 1999, DK Publishing, Ages 8 to 12, $14.95. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
Children's Literature - 8 up, $19 99
Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, abridged by Lesley Baxter and illustrated by Christian Birmingham has a cover that shows Oliver holding out his bowl, wide-eyed with wanting, making for immediate appeal. The telling is just accessible and retains the story's flavor and suspense.
ALAN Review
The latest edition to the Eyewitness Classic series is the tale of Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist. First published in England in serial form from 1837-38, Oliver Twist was also the first novel in the English language featuring a youngster as the protagonist. Adapted by Naia Bray-Moffat, this Oliver is a fascinating historical picture of Victorian London. The picturesque characters and mesmerizing plot-perhaps more familiar to modern audiences through the musical version on stage and screen-gain new life in the story of the futility of crime through the addition of historical detail and carefully crafted illustrations. For those searching for a way to bring the classics to life, DK Publishing provides a smart solution. This easy to read adaptation and accompanying material about children and crime in the 19th century England--including a map of Oliver's underground world,--is just the "thing" to help young people learn about Dickens' London. Additional volumes in the series include 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Robinson Crusoe, King Arthur, Aladdin, A Christmas Carol, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dracula, Robin Hood, and Black Beauty. Genre: Classics. 1999, DK Publishing, Ages 8 up, $14.95. Reviewer: Judy Hayn
Library Journal
Oliver Twist was Dickens's second novel and one of his darkest, dealing with burglary, kidnapping, child abuse, prostitution, and murder. Alongside this gallery of horrors are the corrupt and incompetent institutions of 19th-century England set up to address social problems and instead making them worse. The author's moral indignation drives the creation of some of his most memorably grotesque characters: squirming, vile Fagin; brutal Bill Sykes; the brooding, sickly Monks; and Bumble, the pompous and incorrigibly dense beadle. Clearly, a reading of this work must carry the author's passionate narrative voice while being flexible and broad enough to define the wide range of character voices suggested by the text. John Wells's capable but bland reading only suggests the rich possibilities of the material. Restraint and Dickens simply don't go together. The abridgment deftly and seamlessly manages to deliver all major characters and plot lines, but there are many superior audiobook versions of this material, both abridged and unabridged. Not recommended.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-A BBC radio dramatization of Dickens' classic. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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

Cengage Learning
Publication date:
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5.40(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.20(d)

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Oliver Twist


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, it boasts of one which is 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 take upon 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 he 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, being comprised within a couple of pages, that 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 ina workhouse is in itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance that can possibly befall 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 his 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 female 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; but 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 frozen 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 gruel 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.'

The surgeon leant over the body, and raised the left hand. 'The old story,' he said, shaking his head: 'no wedding-ring, I see. Ah! Good night!'

The medical gentleman walked away to dinner; and thenurse, having once more applied herself to the green bottle, sat down on a low chair before the fire, and proceeded to dress the infant.

What an excellent example of power of dress young Oliver Twist was! Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his only covering, he might have been the child of a nobleman or a beggar;—it would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to have fixed his station in society. But now that he was enveloped in the old calico robes, which had grown yellow in the same service, he was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once—a parish child—the orphan of a workhouse—the humble half-starved drudge—to be cuffed and buffeted through the world,—despised by all, and pitied by none.

Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known that he was an orphan, left to the tender mercies of churchwardens and overseers, perhaps he would have cried the louder.

All new material is copyright © 1998 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

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What People are saying about this

George Gissing
Observe how finely the narrative is kept in one key. It begins with a mournful impession—the foggy marshes spreading drearily by the seaward Thames—and throughout recurs this effect of cold and damp and dreariness; in that kind Dickens never did anything so good.... No story in the first person was ever better told.

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Oliver Twist 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 299 reviews.
Kelli Remley More than 1 year ago
This version is only the first half of the book, I believe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
xMissMelaniex More than 1 year ago
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!
ericho More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Pills More than 1 year ago
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.
Al_Azar More than 1 year ago
I read this book a long time ago and I love if it. The story was awesome and extremly entertaining.
Baldy1Cotton More than 1 year ago
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.
ECornett More than 1 year ago
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.
Mel111 More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I'm trying to catch up on some classics that I never read in school and this is one of my favorites so far. The ultimate "down on his luck" kind of book, it has so much more than the movie/tv versions. You really get to know the characters so well. Dickens has a way of painting a picture with his words that makes it seem like you're right there with Oliver, through his pain and his joys, his highs and lows, his triumphs and failures. I felt I was whisked away to 18th century London and not shown the upper class fiction, but the real underside of the city that is rarely shown. The people and places described in this book will stay with you for a very long time! And even though there is an epilogue of sorts, it left me wanting much, much more.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I really liek dis book!!! it's one of those "must read" books, ya know? I also have read the revised version for young readers, which btw if u read it you won't be able to stop reading it, trust me i know!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Arrg! Volume two of three! The book is good but i am dissappointed that it is not the whole book
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