Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist

4.5 2804
by Charles Dickens

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Charles Dickens’s second novel, Oliver Twist is one of the author’s best known and loved works. With colourful and memorable characters like Fagin, the Artful Dodger, and Oliver himself, Oliver Twist transports the reader to the gritty, dangerous streets of Victorian London, where Oliver falls prey to pickpockets and evildoers, yet

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Charles Dickens’s second novel, Oliver Twist is one of the author’s best known and loved works. With colourful and memorable characters like Fagin, the Artful Dodger, and Oliver himself, Oliver Twist transports the reader to the gritty, dangerous streets of Victorian London, where Oliver falls prey to pickpockets and evildoers, yet manages to keep his goodness and ultimately find his salvation. With Oliver Twist, Dickens called attention to the plight of children on the streets of London and drew on his own experience as a child labourer. Oliver Twist has been adapted for film, television, and the stage.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr6–8—A graphic retelling of the classic, Great Expectations is rushed, confusing, and an unpleasant read. At times it is difficult to tell the characters apart, mainly because of the lack of depth in the secondary players, and because the artwork is flat and impassive. The plot is without focus, so struggling readers will have an issue with continuity. Oliver Twist has similar problems. The flow is choppy, characterization is nonexistent, and the compression of the story line adds to the confusion. The artwork, black-and-white rough sketching, is inconsistent. Panels range from clean and distinct to dark and busy. As in the first book, some characters are indistinguishable from page to page. The combination of story and artwork will not create new fans of graphic novels.—Mariela Siegert, Westfield Middle School, Bloomingdale, IL
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)
From the Publisher
"Narrator Simon Vance raises a banner that announces a once-in-a-lifetime performance that exquisitely matches narrator and text. Vance has a mellifluous English voice, an engaging tone, and marvelous diction." ---AudioFile
"Narrator Simon Vance raises a banner that announces a once-in-a-lifetime performance that exquisitely matches narrator and text. Vance has a mellifluous English voice, an engaging tone, and marvelous diction." —-AudioFile

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Oliver Twist

By Charles Dickens


Copyright © 2015 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-0555-5


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 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 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 forever. 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 leaned 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 the nurse, 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 the 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 assigned him his proper 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 church-wardens and overseers, perhaps he would have cried the louder.


FOR THE NEXT EIGHT or ten months, Oliver was the victim of a systematic course of treachery and deception. He was brought up by hand. The hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphan was duly reported by the workhouse authorities to the parish authorities. The parish authorities inquired with dignity of the workhouse authorities, whether there was no female then domiciled in 'the house' who was in a situation to impart to Oliver Twist, the consolation and nourishment of which he stood in need. The workhouse authorities replied with humility, that there was not. Upon this, the parish authorities magnanimously and humanely resolved, that Oliver should be 'farmed,' or, in other words, that he should be dispatched to a branch-workhouse some three miles off, where twenty or thirty other juvenile offenders against the poor-laws, rolled about the floor all day, without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing, under the parental superintendence of an elderly female, who received the culprits at and for the consideration of sevenpence-halfpenny per small head per week. Sevenpence-halfpenny's worth per week is a good round diet for a child; a great deal may be got for sevenpence-halfpenny, quite enough to overload its stomach, and make it uncomfortable. The elderly female was a woman of wisdom and experience; she knew what was good for children; and she had a very accurate perception of what was good for herself. So, she appropriated the greater part of the weekly stipend to her own use, and consigned the rising parochial generation to even a shorter allowance than was originally provided for them. Thereby finding in the lowest depth a deeper still; and proving herself a very great experimental philosopher.

Everybody knows the story of another experimental philosopher who had a great theory about a horse being able to live without eating, and who demonstrated it so well, that he had got his own horse down to a straw a day, and would unquestionably have rendered him a very spirited and rampacious animal on nothing at all, if he had not died, four-and-twenty hours before he was to have had his first comfortable bait of air. Unfortunately for, the experimental philosophy of the female to whose protecting care Oliver Twist was delivered over, a similar result usually attended the operation of her system; for at the very moment when the child had contrived to exist upon the smallest possible portion of the weakest possible food, it did perversely happen in eight and a half cases out of ten, either that it sickened from want and cold, or fell into the fire from neglect, or got half-smothered by accident; in any one of which cases, the miserable little being was usually summoned into another world, and there gathered to the fathers it had never known in this.

Occasionally, when there was some more than usually interesting inquest upon a parish child who had been overlooked in turning up a bedstead, or inadvertently scalded to death when there happened to be a washing—though the latter accident was very scarce, anything approaching to a washing being of rare occurrence in the farm—the jury would take it into their heads to ask troublesome questions, or the parishioners would rebelliously affix their signatures to a remonstrance. But these impertinences were speedily checked by the evidence of the surgeon, and the testimony of the beadle; the former of whom had always opened the body and found nothing inside (which was very probable indeed), and the latter of whom invariably swore whatever the parish wanted; which was very self-devotional. Besides, the board made periodical pilgrimages to the farm, and always sent the beadle the day before, to say they were going. The children were neat and clean to behold, when they went; and what more would the people have!

It cannot be expected that this system of farming would produce any very extraordinary or luxuriant crop. Oliver Twist's ninth birthday found him a pale thin child, somewhat diminutive in stature, and decidedly small in circumference. But nature or inheritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver's breast. It had had plenty of room to expand, thanks to the spare diet of the establishment; and perhaps to this circumstance may be attributed his having any ninth birth-day at all. Be this as it may, however, it was his ninth birthday; and he was keeping it in the coal-cellar with a select party of two other young gentleman, who, after participating with him in a sound thrashing, had been locked up for atrociously presuming to be hungry, when Mrs. Mann, the good lady of the house, was unexpectedly startled by the apparition of Mr. Bumble, the beadle, striving to undo the wicket of the garden-gate.

'Goodness gracious! Is that you, Mr. Bumble, sir?' said Mrs. Mann, thrusting her head out of the window in well-affected ecstasies of joy. '(Susan, take Oliver and them two brats upstairs, and wash 'em directly.)—My heart alive! Mr. Bumble, how glad I am to see you, surely!'

Now, Mr. Bumble was a fat man, and a choleric; so, instead of responding to this openhearted salutation in a kindred spirit, he gave the little wicket a tremendous shake, and then bestowed upon it a kick which could have emanated from no leg but a beadle's.

'Lor, only think,' said Mrs. Mann, running out,—for the three boys had been removed by this time,—'only think of that! That I should have forgotten that the gate was bolted on the inside, on account of them dear children! Walk in sir; walk in, pray, Mr. Bumble, do, sir.'

Although this invitation was accompanied with a curtsey that might have softened the heart of a church-warden, it by no means mollified the beadle.

'Do you think this respectful or proper conduct, Mrs. Mann,' inquired Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane, 'to keep the parish officers a waiting at your garden-gate, when they come here upon porochial business with the porochial orphans? Are you aweer, Mrs. Mann, that you are, as I may say, a porochial delegate, and a stipendiary?'

'I'm sure Mr. Bumble, that I was only a telling one or two of the dear children as is so fond of you, that it was you a coming,' replied Mrs. Mann with great humility.

Mr. Bumble had a great idea of his oratorical powers and his importance. He had displayed the one, and vindicated the other. He relaxed.

'Well, well, Mrs. Mann,' he replied in a calmer tone; 'it may be as you say; it may be. Lead the way in, Mrs. Mann, for I come on business, and have something to say.'

Mrs. Mann ushered the beadle into a small parlour with a brick floor; placed a seat for him; and officiously deposited his cocked hat and cane on the table before him. Mr. Bumble wiped from his forehead the perspiration which his walk had engendered, glanced complacently at the cocked hat, and smiled. Yes, he smiled. Beadles are but men: and Mr. Bumble smiled.

'Now don't you be offended at what I'm a going to say,' observed Mrs. Mann, with captivating sweetness. 'You've had a long walk, you know, or I wouldn't mention it. Now, will you take a little drop of somethink, Mr. Bumble?'

'Not a drop. Nor a drop,' said Mr. Bumble, waving his right hand in a dignified, but placid manner.

'I think you will,' said Mrs. Mann, who had noticed the tone of the refusal, and the gesture that had accompanied it. 'Just a leetle drop, with a little cold water, and a lump of sugar.'

Mr. Bumble coughed.

'Now, just a leetle drop,' said Mrs. Mann persuasively.

'What is it?' inquired the beadle.

'Why, it's what I'm obliged to keep a little of in the house, to put into the blessed infants' Daffy, when they ain't well, Mr. Bumble,' replied Mrs. Mann as she opened a corner cupboard, and took down a bottle and glass. 'It's gin. I'll not deceive you, Mr. B. It's gin.'

'Do you give the children Daffy, Mrs. Mann?' inquired Bumble, following with his eyes the interesting process of mixing.

'Ah, bless 'em, that I do, dear as it is,' replied the nurse. 'I couldn't see 'em suffer before my very eyes, you know sir.'

'No'; said Mr. Bumble approvingly; 'no, you could not. You are a humane woman, Mrs. Mann.' (Here she set down the glass.) 'I shall take a early opportunity of mentioning it to the board, Mrs. Mann.' (He drew it towards him.) 'You feel as a mother, Mrs. Mann.' (He stirred the gin-and-water.) 'I—I drink your health with cheerfulness, Mrs. Mann'; and he swallowed half of it.

'And now about business,' said the beadle, taking out a leathern pocket-book. 'The child that was half-baptized Oliver Twist, is nine year old to-day.'

'Bless him!' interposed Mrs. Mann, inflaming her left eye with the corner of her apron.

'And notwithstanding a offered reward of ten pound, which was afterwards increased to twenty pound. Notwithstanding the most superlative, and, I may say, supernat'ral exertions on the part of this parish,' said Bumble, 'we have never been able to discover who is his father, or what was his mother's settlement, name, or condition.'

Mrs. Mann raised her hands in astonishment; but added, after a moment's reflection, 'How comes he to have any name at all, then?'

The beadle drew himself up with great pride, and said, 'I inwented it.'

'You, Mr. Bumble!'

'I, Mrs. Mann. We name our fondlings in alphabetical order. The last was a S,—Swubble, I named him. This was a T,—Twist, I named him. The next one comes will be Unwin, and the next Vilkins. I have got names ready made to the end of the alphabet, and all the way through it again, when we come to Z.'

'Why, you're quite a literary character, sir!' said Mrs. Mann.

'Well, well,' said the beadle, evidently gratified with the compliment; 'perhaps I may be. Perhaps I may be, Mrs. Mann.' He finished the gin-and-water, and added, 'Oliver being now too old to remain here, the board have determined to have him back into the house. I have come out myself to take him there. So let me see him at once.'

'I'll fetch him directly,' said Mrs. Mann, leaving the room for that purpose. Oliver, having had by this time as much of the outer coat of dirt which encrusted his face and hands, removed, as could be scrubbed off in one washing, was led into the room by his benevolent protectress.

'Make a bow to the gentleman, Oliver,' said Mrs. Mann.

Oliver made a bow, which was divided between the beadle on the chair, and the cocked hat on the table.


Excerpted from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Copyright © 2015 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Oliver Twist 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 2804 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
readingissexy23 More than 1 year ago
After years of people telling me how great this book was I decided to read it to see what all the fuss was about. It turned out that it lived up to my expectations. This book is well written and a classic story about an orphan and his surrounding characters. There is drama, fear, compasion, and so many more emotions Dickens put into this novel. It's a good read; you won't be disapointed!
bamagv More than 1 year ago
Getting your child to read one of those classic novels can certainly be a challenge. Thanks to Jonathan Keeble and Roy McMillian this task has been revolutionized. The classic story "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens has been retold for younger listeners on audiobook. Created with children ages 8-13 in mind, this audiobook features the original text found in Dicken's classic but the words are simplified and clarified at certain points throughout the story to ensure that the child understands them and can easily follow along with the storyline. This audiobook re-telling of the classic Oliver Twist will keep children's attention and have them engaged in the story through its unique and captivating audio.
Kim Mariano More than 1 year ago
Oliver goes from tragedy to triumph in this heartwarming book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This a good book and im jewish and oliver is also so its interesting. If you read this review and you like it, please hit the like button
BookReader75 More than 1 year ago
You can still read the rest of my review, but to draw this down to the bottom line.......... A amazing book by Dickens! Now, to start with some things some might consider "bad" but which did not bother me is this. Note, Dickens is very descriptive. So he explains and describes places, and people, for quite a bit. You will notice this as SOON as you start reading. But once into the middle of the book, will get used to it and actually start to like his styel of writing some chapters of the book you might have to read over as some chapters (I say some which is the two chapters at the end of the book for those two chapters contain alot of information with LOTS of plot twist) Now, that I have named some think "some" may not like. Let me get on to the GREAT things. This book has AMAZING characters, I did not expect less of Charles Dickens. The characters were amazing, and the plot is a VERY good one, as we see Oliver start from a poor abused orphan, than go to London to seek his fortune, he then meets a gang of thieves commanded by an old tricky, evil deceptive, man. Oliver tries to choose between the life of crime or a home. At that point new things just keep piling on and on and on, with the plot, until all the things just explode, with an epic plot twist at the end! So with good characters a great storyline, and unforgettable moments what more could you want from this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read this book, probably, about ten times, and I still enjoy the Victorian setting, classic characters, and the message of hope and redemption in the world of crime and greed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They left out Charlotte, Toby, and included pretty much none if the original lines (Do you know who you are? Or what you are?) and changed the plot a little bit. When Nancy went to see Rose, I can tell you that Oliver was NOT there at ALL in the original. Oliver was also never trying to be James Bond to save Nancy. Bill Sikes was never trying to be batman when jumping from roof to roof. Edward Leeford moved to America. Changed a lot. Oliver never met both Bill AND Nancy untill later in the book when they kidnapoed him. And, uh-hum, excuse me, but where was Bet?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book yet! One day I got really really bored so just decided to pick up this book and I read through the first 5 chapters and I was like OMGosh this book should be in the book of world records! I NEVER stopped reading unless I had to.
pwee More than 1 year ago
A grand novel, great for anyone who desires a little mental stimulation, rather than the same, over-explained novels that often occur in current day writing (I'm not saying all, but quite a few!!!). Magnificent, and certainly memorable, this novel follows the story of young Oliver Twist, an orphan in the dastardly workhouses whom dared to rise the question "May I have some more?" Throughout this novel, the reader is met with unique and memorable characters, such as the tragic Nancy, the disturbed Mr. Sikes, the humorous (and ironic) telling of Mr. Bumble, the young "Artful Dodger" (forever truthful to his name!) and the devilish, terrifying Fagin. Certainly a heartwarming novel, where one finds an irresistible liking towards even the most hated villains, with a story that shall last in one's memory for many years to come!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blu walked in {I'm on my computer,my nook broke last night...}
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
malik have any off u seen siren?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awh darn. ;~; *she sniffles.* I'ma go then. Go to Steak and Shake with the idiots I call my friends. :3 'Bai. *she saunters out, humming Falling Away From Me.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Any body up for chat
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She giggled more, licking happily.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey there. Do you want to rp ur favorite celebrity or singer or actor? Ten go to celeb res 1&2. Result one is bios and result two is chatroom. You can use the other books as chatrooms too. Here r some guides 1) you must put a bio of ur favorite singer before he/she is taken 2) if your celebrity u want to rp is taken you have to pick someome else. 3) there will be no fighting cusskng or weapons or anything like that. 4) yes there is dating allowdd. You can link up with whoever u want 5) res3 is snackbar res 4 is lounge res 5 is a restaurant and res 6 is the pool. 6. Everyone is welcome. Please come and enjoy. tell ur friends!!!!! &#9786
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does somone named Salem RP here?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah. A song you shouldn't be singing. When you stop f<_>ucking everyone that opens their legs to you, then maybe you can sing that, b<_>itch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Reyna, darling, I must leave. It's been a pleasure," she says as she falls asleep.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jack pulled his knees to his chest, gazing blankly at nothing standing before him. He had pocketed his wedding band, and sighed. Freddie played with a toy car at his side, kicking his legs happily. Jack watched his son without expression, and stood, 'if anyone sees Serena..Tell her I say I'm sorry..and that I love her.' He turned, giving Freddie's head a pat and a kiss on the forehead before vanishing. Freddie paused, blinking at his father. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
'I know. That's why I love you. So much.' She nuzzled him softly. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
'I missed you too.' She leaned into his embrace. 'Everynight I wonder if I'd return. Then fears creep in and take a chokehold.'  (If You have an Instagram or even a WattPad, We can communicate there. I'm i_like_goldfiesh on Insta, and AllyStaudt on Watt..) 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She hugged back quietly. 'Today. But I have to be careful about rp'ing.' She sighed into his shoulder.