Read oliver twist by Charles Dickens Ella Westland George Cruikshank Online


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....

Title : oliver twist
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ISBN : 15705705
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 373 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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oliver twist Reviews

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-04-23 15:12

    Oliver Twist THE BOOK is crap and has NO songs in it, I couldn't believe it. So I googled and get this, it turns out they put those in the movie and Dickens had nothing to do with it! But since they were the best bit of the film, you can understand my horror and bereft sense of disappointment when I finally came to pick up the book. How could Dickens NOT have thought of having little Oliver sing Where Is Love when chucked into the cellar or Who Will Buy This Loverly Morning when he wakes up in his posh house...I mean yeah he was supposed to be good wasn't he? And please note the edition I read was not a Readers Digest Condensed Edition. When you DON'T have Fagin capering about warbling "In this life one thing counts/ In the bank, large amounts/I'm afraid these don't grow on trees/You got to pick a pocket or two" with that pederastic twinkle in his eyes as he surveys his small boys then alas I'm sorry to say that what you're left with is a bit of an antisemitic caricature lashed to a morality tale whose immoral moral appears to be that rich is good, poor is bad, and you better get yourself a deus ex machina in the form of a very unlikely sugardaddy to magic you out of the poorhouse or the rats will eat your bollocks, your bones will turn to dust and be blown away and no one will ever hire cute kids to pretend to be you on stage or screen and melt our hearts and win Oscars and Tonys. Which I think we all knew.

  • Stephen
    2019-05-07 15:15

    I looooooooved this book. Another Dickens...another favorite. 'Please, sir, I want some more.' Jane Austen and Charles Dickens have been dueling inside my WOW center for some time in a titanic, see-saw struggle for the title of greatest word-smither/story-crafter in all of English literature. Ms Austen previously caused heart-palpitations and a slew of gasms with Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility which left me spent like a cheap nickel. However, Sir Dickens, being a slick, wily devil responded in kind with A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, a pair of wonderfully addictive, tingle causing joy blasts full of jaw-drops and breezy elegance. Where this battle of master word charmers will end….I could really care less because I’m sporting a complete happy going through their respective catalogs with a perma-smile on my face. Next up on the parade of mouth-watering, phrase turning feasts is The Adventures of Oliver Twist which is terrific on several levels. In relating the tragic (but ultimately rewarding) life of Oliver Twist, Dickens is at his most Austenesque as he employs with great effect biting sarcasm and dry, dark humor to scathingly satire the English Poor Laws of the 1830s. Of the novels I’ve read by Dickens, this is him at his most “socially conscious” and he strategically uses Oliver’s biography to harshly spotlight the greed, hypocrisy and let’s just say it…evil…of the society that organized and profited by the work house system of the middle 19th century. So they established the rule, that all poor people should have the alternative (for they would compel nobody, not they,) of being starved by a gradual process in the house, or by a quick one out of it. We follow Oliver beginning with his difficult birth that killed his mother and almost cost the young lad his life as well. [T]here 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… From there we journey with the child as he is dumped into a workhouse where his early life goes from bad to horrendously shitty as he’s subjected to a systematic process of neglect, physical brutality and starvation along with the other children residing there. Here is a passage from Chapter 2 that I think perfectly encapsulates the subtly sarcastic style Dickens employs to address his subject matter. 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 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 got his own horse down to a straw a day, and would unquestionably have rendered him a very spirited and rapacious 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 philosopher of the female to whose care Oliver Twist was delivered over, a similar result usually attended the operation of her system; for at the very moment when a 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.I love the way Dickens can describe callous starvation and casual murder of children for nothing more than greed in such a way that I was actually chuckling because of his lusciously humorous phrasing. This man could write.Eventually, Oliver’s life takes another turn from horrendously shitty to mega-painful-chunks-of-misery-filled-crap when he has the temerity to utter the famous words,“Please, sir, I want some more." He gets more…more beatings, more starvation,more verbal abuse,more neglect,…and ultimately finds himself alone on the streets with no means of survival. There, Oliver finds himself sucked into a life of petty criminality under the tutelage of “Fagin the Jew” who I thought was one of the most compelling Dickens characters ever.**[**Note: I know there is a lot of controversy about the portrayal of Fagin being one of the most egregious cases of anti-Semitism in classic literature. I think the criticism is fair, but I also don’t think (based on what I’ve read) that Dickens’ had any malicious intent. It is what it is and everyone can make their own decision on that point.] I thought the character of Fagin was fascinating and his signature phrase my dear (which he uses in almost every sentence) is still popping into my head more than a week after finishing the novel. Fagin, while irredeemably evil and in some ways a criminal caricature, Dickens draws him with such flair imbues him with a dimension and essence that I found very compelling. His psychology, his calculating intelligence and his soft words masking despicable actions is deftly laid out. At times, I almost got the impression that Fagin was intended to represent “the devil himself” with the way Dickens focuses on his corrupting influence. In short, the wily old Jew had the boy in his toils; and, having prepared his mind by solitude and gloom to prefer any society to the companionship of his own sad thoughts in such a dreary place, was now slowly instilling into his soul the poison which he hoped would blacken it and change its hue for ever.On one level, the life of Oliver Twist is one of the harshest, most depressingly sad tales ever put to paper. In lesser hands, the heartache and forlornness of Oliver’s birth and tragic early life could have swallowed up the story and made the book a real chore to get through. Good news…these are not lesser hands.Dickens writing is so melodic that the narrative glides over the horror at a safe middle-distance, allowing us to observe and absorb the surroundings without drowning in the pain that Dickens describes. I thought it was masterful. Intimate yet detached. Eventually, the plot takes a mysterious turn as a shadowy figure arrives on the scene who has a connection to Oliver and his past that is slowly revealed over the last half of the story. All of this leads to a marvelous ending that makes the rest of the story far more enjoyable in retrospect…sometimes positive, warm and fuzzy resolutions are exactly what a story needs. Dickens prose is buttery smooth while his mocking humor is cheddar sharp. His balance is outstanding and his ability to poke fun at his readers’ society while avoiding making the reader themselves feel like a target is brilliant. I had such a wonderful time reading this that I am left wondering why everyone doesn’t love Dickens as much as I do. 5.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!Okay, Ms. Austen…your turn again.

  • BillKerwin
    2019-05-10 21:06

    In recent years, I have become bewitched by all things gothic, and I was curious to discover to what extent gothic tropes and examplars may have influenced the imagery and structure of Dicken's first serious novel. Specifically, I was interested in how gothic elements might be expressed in "Oliver Twist"'s urban atmosphere. Had Hugo's Paris thieves' guild left its mark upon Fagin and his charges? Had Scott's Highland robbers' caves influenced Dickens' lowlife dens? Were these dirty London streets much the same as those of the Newgate novels, or had distinct touches of the marvelous already arisen, hints of the city that would soon take shape in the fiction of Conan Doyle and Machen? I think I detected a little gothic influence in the city atmosphere, but much less than I expected to find. Fagin's den, the "Three Cripples" gin mill, and the abandoned house where Sykes' gang gathers may owe something to Hugo, Scott and Radcliff, but the general atmosphere is neither gothic nor Newgate, but instead something new: early Victorian realism. Dickens knew London well. His childhood acquainted him with London's depths, and his manhood and its long compulsive walks with the city's variety and extent. Dickens sees much, and everything he sees he describes with a photographer's intensity and interest.It is in its structure, rather than its metaphors, that "Oliver Twist" owes a great debt to the gothic novel. Although superficially a Newgate novel--streetboy corrupted by urban gang into a life of crime--it is actually closer to that of the traditional gothic, with Oliver Twist taking the place of the menaced gothic heroine. Oliver is torn between men who wish to control him, often for their own selfish purposes, and it is the struggle between guardians and would-be guardians that gives the narrative of "Oliver Twist" its shape, in much the same way that such a struggle determined the narrative movement of "The Mysteries of Udolpho." All in all, I was pleasantly surprised. "Oliver Twist" is short for a Dickens' novel, and it has few of the wearisome circumlocutions or labored jests that sometimes afflict his longer works. His prose is spare, and full of powerful effects. The murder of Nancy can still touch the jaded modern heart with its horror, and the last appearances of Sykes and Fagin are also well done. There are sentimental touches and incredible coincidences--this is still Dickens, after all--but "Oliver Twist" is in essence a realistic novel of Victorian poverty and crime, and it still packs a powerful punch.

  • Cait Poytress
    2019-04-29 18:04

    I swear Dickens named one of his characters Master Bates on purpose.

  • Lyn
    2019-05-01 21:11

    I have seen the 1968 academy award winning musical film “Oliver!” so many times that we eventually just bought the DVD. David Lean’s 1948 film starring Alec Guinness as Fagan and Robert Newton as Bill Sykes is another favorite. These film adaptations are so ubiquitous and so endearing that it is easy to forget what a rare accomplishment was Dickens original novel. One of Dickens earliest novels and like most was first published as a series of installments, Oliver Twist begins Dickens brilliant career of creating memorable characters and of describing some of his most universal themes such as orphanage, poverty, and juvenile perseverance and nobility while at the same time ruthlessly satirizing adult evils and social ills. Oliver Twist introduces readers to some of the most recognizable characters in all of literature including Fagan, Bill Sykes and the Artful Dodger.

  • Jean
    2019-04-25 18:58

    Oliver Twist is one of Charles Dickens's best known stories. Characters such as the evil Fagin, with his band of thieves and villains, the Artful Dodger with "all the airs and manners of a man," the house-breaker Sikes and his dog, the conscience-stricken but flawed Nancy, the frail but determined Oliver, and the arrogant and hypocritical beadle Mr Bumble have taken on a life of their own and passed into our culture. Who does not recognise the sentence,"Please sir, I want some more!" or"If the law says that, then the law is a ass - a idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience - by experience!"Dramatisations of this story abound, and there have been 25 films made of far! Oliver Twist was appearing in 10 theatres in London before serialisation of the novel was even completed, so how does the original novel hold up for a modern reader? It seems pointless in this review to retell this famous story. The excellent film by David Lean from 1948 is one of the most faithful to the book. It stars Alec Guinness as Fagin, Robert Newton as Bill Sikes and a young John Howard Davies as Oliver Twist. (Davis went on to work for the BBC as a producer all his life.) The subplot with Edward Leeman is largely missed out, but that is inevitable in a short dramatisation. The essence of the story is there, and is true to Dickens, as is much of his dialogue. It's important to look not only at the writing style and construction, but at the social conditions of the time and Dickens's own personal situation. Oliver Twist; or the Parish Boy's Progress was written when he was only 25, and first published serially in "Bentley's Miscellany" where Dickens was editor, from February 1837 to April 1839. Interestingly though, it was not originally intended as a novel but as part of a series of sketches called the "Mudfog Papers". These were intended to be similar to the very popular "Pickwick Papers", Mudfog being heavily based on Chatham, in Kent."The Pickwick Papers" had been phenomenally successful, making Dickens famous. He therefore decided to give up his job as a parliamentary reporter and journalist in November 1836, and to become a freelance writer. But while "The Pickwick Papers" was still only halfway through being serialised, his readers clamoured for a second novel.There must have been a lot of pressure on the young author to maintain such a high standard. In addition to his writing and editing, Dickens's personal life at the time was typically hectic. In March 1837 he moved house. Two months later, his beloved sister-in-law Mary Hogarth died tragically young. The grief he felt caused him to miss the deadlines for both "The Pickwick Papers" and Oliver Twist - the only deadlines he ever missed in his entire writing career. Four months later in October, the final issue of Pickwick was published, but the pressure did not let up. In January of 1838, Dickens and his friend Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz) left for Yorkshire to do research for his next novel, "Nicholas Nickleby" which itself started to be serialised two months later. Interestingly it was not Browne who illustrated Oliver Twist, although he had stepped into the breach before (see my review of "The Pickwick Papers") and also went on to illustrate most of Dickens's further novels. It was George Cruikshank, and this is the only novel of Dickens he illustrated... but that is another dramatic story. Also in March, Dickens's daughter Mary (Mamie) was born. In November Dickens revised the monthly parts of Oliver Twist for the 3-volume book version, the first instance where he was published under "Charles Dickens" instead of "Boz". The serial continued until April 1839, alongside serialisation of Nicholas Nickleby. If we think that the novel's structure may not be as we would wish, it is as well to bear in mind the constraints both of the time and of Dickens's own incredibly complicated personal circumstances!Oliver Twist is very much the novel an angry young man would write, seething with fury at the social injustices he observed. It follows hot on the heels of the "Poor Law Amendment Act" of 1834, and the whole novel is a bitter indictment of that Act, even to its satirical subtitle, A Parish Boy's Progress. This Act was a draconian tightening up of the Poor Law, ensuring that poor people were no longer able to live at home and work at outside jobs. The only help from the parish available to them now was to become inmates in the workhouse, which operated on the principle that poverty was the consequence of laziness; the dreadful conditions in the workhouse were intended to inspire the poor to better their own circumstances.Dickens himself in these chapters constantly makes negative remarks about "philosophers" in this context. It is possible he was thinking about the principles of Utilitarianism; a fashionable philosophy of the time, responsible for such things as the high positioning of windows in many Victorian buildings, placed so that children and workers would not be distracted by looking out of them. According to Jeremy Bentham, man's actions were governed by the will to avoid pain and strive for pleasure, so the government's task was to increase the benefits of society by punishing and rewarding people according to their actions.But as Dickens tells us with bitter sarcasm in chapter 2, the workhouse was little more than a prison for the poor. Civil liberties were denied, families were separated, and human dignity was destroyed. The inadequate diet instituted in the workhouse prompted his ironic comment that, "all poor people should have the alternative... of being starved by a gradual process in the house, or by a quick one out of it."The workhouse functions here as a sign of the moral hypocrisy of the working class. The authorities in charge of the workhouse joke among themselves about feeding minute portions so that the inmates would stay small and thin, thereby needing smaller coffins. They complain about having to pay for burials, again hoping for smaller corpses to bury. Dickens writes a passionate diatribe against both the social conditions and the institutions. His humour is there, but it is a very black biting humour. Sarcasm and irony are on every page; it's a far cry from "The Pickwick Papers". In these scenes set in the workhouse, Dickens makes use of deep satire and hyperbolic statements. Absurd characters and situations are presented as normal; he uses heavy sarcasm, often saying the opposite of what he really means. For example, in describing the men of the parish board, Dickens writes that,"they were very sage, deep, philosophical men" who discover about the workhouse that "the poor people liked it! It was a regular place of public entertainment for the poorer classes; a tavern where there was nothing to pay...""The other recent legislation which is clearly in Dickens's mind in writing this novel, is the Anatomy Act of 1832. Before 1832, only the bodies of murderers could be legally be used for dissection by medical students. This had been partly responsible for the brisk trade in bodysnatching. But after the Anatomy Act, unclaimed bodies from prisons and workhouses were used. The terrifying thought of having their bodies dissected after death became yet another powerful deterrent to entering the workhouse system. Dickens is clearly thinking of this recent Act in the first few pages, when Oliver's mother's body disappears. The fact that the poor young woman who dies in its opening pages was being dissected while her son was being starved has a grotesque significance.There is quite a marked difference in style when the character of Oliver moves away from the workhouse. The author's voice becomes less acrimonious and bitter. There is more concentration on the story and also more gross exaggeration of the characters for comic effect rather than proselytising. Apparently when Dickens was writing instalments of both "The Pickwick Papers" and Oliver Twist, he would sit down to write the sardonic early episodes of Oliver Twist first, and then "reward" himself with a little light relief of "The Pickwick Papers". The change in style probably coincides with the conclusion of "The Pickwick Papers".Surprisingly many of the grotesque characters were based on people in real life, who performed similar unbelievably atrocious acts. The character of Fagin, for instance, was modelled on a notorious Jewish fence by the name of Ikey Solomon. Dickens also sited him in a real location, where the notorious eighteenth-century thief Jonathan Wild had his hideout. Its shops were well known for selling silk handkerchiefs bought from pickpockets. Dickens' letters allude to this,"when my handkerchief is gone, that I may see it flaunting with renovated beauty in Field-lane." There's also the ruthless magistrate "Mr. Fang", who is entirely based on an actual person who could well have been even more severe in reality! In a letter dated June 3, 1837, Dickens wrote to his friend Thomas Haines,"In my next number of Oliver Twist, I must have a magistrate...whose harshness and insolence would render him a fit subject to be "shewn up"...I have...stumbled upon Mr. Laing of Hatton Garden celebrity." Laing was a police magistrate, but was dismissed by the Home Secretary for abuse of his power. Dickens even went so far as to ask Haines, who was an influential police reporter, to smuggle him into the office so he could get an accurate physical description of Laing. It makes the reader wonder whether "Mrs. Corney, Mrs. Sowerberry", and others also have their counterparts in reality. Dickens had previously studied and sketched the office of beadle in "Sketches by Boz", so the harsh hypocritical behaviour of Mr. Bumble could well have started with that.Some of the action too is based on real events. For example, when Nancy went to the gaol to enquire after Oliver, she had a conversation with a prisoner who was in there for playing the flute. This sounds very far-fetched. But in November 1835, Dickens had reported on Mr. Laing throwing a muffin-boy in jail "for ringing a muffin-bell in Hatton Garden while Laing's court was sitting." Again the reader wonders if other parts of Dickens's story had some basis in fact. It says a lot for Dickens's prodigious talent that he could take such examples and weave them into such a captivating whole. Sometimes he employs deus ex machina. Where the plot seems to be impossible to resolve without a contrived and unexpected intervention, he will create some new event, character or object to surprise his audience, or as a comedic device. For all the readers' willing suspension of disbelief, it sometimes seems clear that Dickens has "painted himself into a corner" and sees no other way out. Dickens is often criticised for his use of coincidence, and he uses deus ex machina here to bring the tale of Oliver Twist to a happy ending. We are told that characters whom we have been following know each other, or happen to be related. It does not really seem necessary to "excuse" the use of this device, as it has so many precedents in literature of the Ancient Greeks, and also gives us the happy ending we so much desire. The "goodies" live happily ever after, the "baddies" get an entertaining variety of just desserts. As well as the criticism of "coincidences" that is often levelled at Dickens, one of the main criticisms of Oliver Twist has always been the apparent antisemitism shown in the author's portrayal of Fagin as a "dirty Jew". Fagin is introduced in the first chapters; Dickens often using symbols and descriptions which are normally reserved for the Devil. When we first meet Fagin, we find him roasting some sausages on an open fire, "with a toasting fork in his hand", which is then mentioned twice more. In the next chapter we find Fagin holding a fire-shovel. Also, the term "the merry old gentleman" seems to be a euphemistic term for the Devil.In the original text it is clear that Fagin is a personification of evil, both by his intentions and by his behaviour, "In short, the wily old Jew had the boy in his toils. Having prepared his mind, by solitude and gloom, to prefer any society to the companionship of his own sad thoughts in such a dreary place, he was now slowly instilling into his soul the poison which he hoped would blacken it, and change its hue forever." And in this description he seems barely human,"It seemed just the night when it befitted such a being as the Jew to be abroad. As he glided stealthily along, creeping beneath the shelter of the walls and doorways, the hideous old man seemed like some loathsome reptile, engendered in the slime and darkness through which he moved: crawling forth, by night, in search of some rich offal for a meal."There is a further interpretation of Fagin. Victorian society placed a lot of value and emphasis on industry, capitalism and individualism. And who embodies this most successfully? Fagin - who operates in the illicit businesses of theft and prostitution! His "philosophy" is that the group's interests are best maintained if every individual looks out for himself, saying,"a regard for number one holds us all together, and must do so, unless we would all go to pieces in company." This is indeed heavy irony on Dickens's part, and adds to Fagin's multi-layered personality.Apparently Dickens expressed surprise, when the Jewish community immediately complained about the depiction of Fagin. Sadly, in 1837, antisemitism was still rife and ingrained into English society. With all great authors we hope that they will somehow manage to step outside the mores of their time, but maybe we expect too much. Up to a point, Dickens did manage to do that later. When he eventually came to sell his London residence, he sold the lease of Tavistock House to a Jewish family he had befriended, as an attempt to make restitution. "Letters of Charles Dickens 1833-1870" include this sentence in the narrative to 1860,"This winter was the last spent at Tavistock House...He made arrangements for the sale of Tavistock House to Mr Davis, a Jewish gentleman, and he gave up possession of it in September."There is other additional evidence of a rethink. When editing Oliver Twist for the "Charles Dickens edition" of his works in 1846, he substantially revised the work for this single volume, eliminating most references to Fagin as "the Jew". And in his last completed novel, "Our Mutual Friend", (1864) Dickens created Riah, a positive Jewish character. There are not many shades of grey in this highly-coloured melodrama. Of the goodies and baddies it is the "baddies" whom we mostly remember. Even Sikes's dog Bullseye falls into the baddies' camp, "Mr Sikes's dog, having faults of temper in common with his owner, and labouring, perhaps at this moment, under a powerful sense of injury...fixed his teeth in one of the halfboots." By this amusing quip Dickens makes the dog a symbolic emblem of his owner's character. He is vicious, just as Sikes has an animal-like brutality. In fact many of the characters are named according to their vices. There is the vicious magistrate "Mr Fang"."Mrs Mann" who farms the infants sent to her, is named to show that she has none of the maternal instincts Dickens considers necessary for this task. "Mr Bumble" is a greedy, arrogant, bumbling, hypocritical, procrastinator, proposing marriage by these words,"Coals, candles and house-rent free...Oh! Mrs Corney what a angel you are!...Such porochial perfection!""Blathers and Duff" are two fairly incompetent coppers (and incidentally, possibly the earliest example in fiction of police detectives.) "Rose Maylie" echoes the character's association with flowers and springtime, youth and beauty. "Toby Crackit" refers humorously to his chosen profession of breaking into houses. The curmudgeonly "Mr Grimwig" has only a superficial grimness, which can be removed as easily as a wig.But the main character's name of "Oliver Twist" is the most obvious example. Although it was given him by accident, it alludes to the outrageous twists of fortune that he will experience. Yet another connotation comes from an English card game called "pontoon", where a player asks the dealer for cards to try to total exactly 21 points. Originally it was a French gambling game called "vingt-et-un", and favoured by Napoleon, who died in 1821, well before this novel was written. In the English version, the player "asks for more" ie another card, by saying the word, "Twist". Dickens is clearly having a little joke with his readers! Oliver Twist himself isn't a fully rounded character. He is more of a mouthpiece, or a character created to arouse public emotion and anger against the treatment of poor children. The whole novel is a a vehicle of criticism, a social commentary - entertaining but overcoloured and melodramatic. It is very much the sort of thing Dickens would imagine performed on stage.The hyperbole gets a bit much sometimes, and there are sentimental speeches such as this one from Little Dick, written entirely for effect, to pull at our heart-strings,"I heard them tell the doctor I was dying," replied the child with a faint smile. "I am very glad to see you, dear; but don't stop!...I know the doctor must be right, Oliver, because I dream so much of Heaven, and Angels and kind faces that I never see when I am awake. "Kiss me!...Goodb'ye dear! God bless you."Oliver Twist is a perfect example of persuasive fiction. It is like a morality play in narrative form, with the author continually instructing his readers about the iniquities of social conditions. But it has the faults of a young man's novel. He has not yet learnt how to tailor his passions to the purpose, creating either characters as a sort of Everyman, or grotesques - the comic characters we love so much.Some of the writing is mawkishly oversentimental. But some episodes are gripping. (view spoiler)[Fagin's desperate and terrified descent into madness when he is about to be hanged, and Sikes's murder of Nancy (hide spoiler)] chill us to the marrow. Dickens enacted this latter scene many years later on his final tour, with such passion and violence that that woman fainted in the aisles. It is thought to have hastened his early death. The story itself is undoubtedly exciting, with many mysteries and devious convolutions which are satisfactorily resolved at the end. The many descriptions effectively convey the squalid horror of the specific area around London's River Thames at that time, such as this evocative passage,"Crazy wooden galleries common to the backs of half-a-dozen houses, with holes from which to look upon the slime beneath; windows, broken and patched... rooms so small, so filthy, so confined, that the air would seem too tainted even for the dirt and squalor which they shelter; wooden chambers thrusting themselves out above the mud, and threatening to fall into it - as some have done; dirt-besmeared walls and decaying foundations; every repulsive lineament of poverty; every loathsome indication of filth, rot and garbage; all these ornament the banks of Folly Ditch."If you view it as Dickens's first proper novel it is an amazing accomplishment, and we know that he only got better. Its characters are well-loved and still in our culture today; a sure sign of a classic.

  • Kalliope
    2019-04-26 22:20

    This has been an exercise in exorcism for me.I have been enjoying reading Dickens lately but I knew that not until I tackled Oliver Twist would I have dealt with, and conquered, the devil.Images of black and white dreary images in a boxy TV have been projecting in the back of my mind since my childhood. And growing up and becoming an adult cooking garlic did not help. More substances were needed for a cleansing ritual. Oliver Twist continued to inspire horrific fear in me.Expectedly, the endless scenes of gloom, of poverty, of sleaziness, of dreariness had been haunting my conception of Dickens. But now, with my new distance as a relatively well-read adult, I had become more ready to enjoy Dickens’ fiction. In particular because, in parallel to the text, I have been listening to a brilliant audio edition in which the reader would dramatize very effectively the various voices. Oliver Twist presented as an auditory high relief made me laugh several times. Superb humour cast a different light on the author’s stereotypes and exaggerations. And Dickens’s formidable command of a literary and lively language exerted an accompanying redeeming effect.But the humour and the exquisite language were present in the other Dickens novels I have read recently. What is different in Oliver, and awoke the ghosts of angst from my youth, was the force with which it conveys the feeling of being trapped. No matter what turn of plot lighted a gleam of hope upon poor little Oliver—obviously and easily a projection of my alter ego-- the dreadful encroaching and stultifying doom always hit back. The humour and quaint taste of Dickens’s prose were dampened in this novel by the notion that any new ray of brightness that might save a victim out of his/her ambushed life would eventually dispel.In addition, the greater tragic elements brought in towards the end before one could attain the restoring Happy End conferred to this novel a greater terrifying resonance. My reading ceremony proved then a harder venture than anticipated. The youthful anxieties had a perdurable nature and I had to rely to a greater extent in Dickens’s literary wings to be able to take off and leave my cage of preconceptions well behind.

  • James
    2019-04-29 17:23

    ReviewI only read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens once, back in 6th grade when I was about 12 years old. It was one of the classic books I'd received as a Christmas present, and I loved Dickens other children's stories, so I had to read this one. It's much more harsh tho, and might be a little difficult for a 12 year old to take in without having a better picture of the world. It's one of those books nagging at the back of my mind... "Please re-read me. I bet you'll like me a whole lot more." And it's probably true... so perhaps I can find some time to squeeze this one in for the year. I read a lot of older books, but I should throw in a "classic" or "pre-19th century" book every ten books or so... just to keep me ed-u-ma-ca-ted.Several key things about the book to help you decide if you want to read it:1. The catch phrase: can I have so more, may I have another please...2. Commentary about life being poor3. Written in 1838... almost 200 years old!4. A happy endingNot a spoiler: I'm just saying... we all die sometime, right?5. Adventure for a young adult / kid6. Truly understanding what an orphan meant -- they have scissors for hands, right?About MeFor those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.[polldaddy poll=9729544] [polldaddy poll=9719251]

  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)
    2019-05-17 17:22

    Read for school*Not one of my absolute favourite classics but overall it was a really enjoyable read! Interested to see what's said about it in my Victorian literature class!

  • Kelly
    2019-05-06 23:14

    Please sir, may I have less?

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2019-05-09 23:13

    Despite having watched numerous retellings of this, I’ve not actually read it in its entirety. About five years ago I got half way through it and just stopped reading. I can’t remember why. My bookmark is still even in its place. Time to finish up.

  • دعاء ممدوح
    2019-05-14 19:01

    رواية واقعية لدرجة الصدمة ، تشارلز ديكنز كاتب أجتماعي و أنساني من الدرجة الأولى و هو ما يظهر هنا بوضوحالرواية تتناول رحلة ذلك اليتيم البائس"أوليفر تويست" فى دور الرعاية البريطانية و الظروف غير الآدمية التى مر بها، و رغم قسوة الشخصيات التى تظهر في النصف الأول من الرواية إلا أن تشارلز ديكنز يقدم المقابل لها في النصف الثاني و كأنه يوجه سالة كلاسيكية بأن الخير لا ينتهي من مجتمع ما مهما كانت قسوة الظروف المحيطةرائعة و حزينة و تستحق القراءة

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-04-24 20:18

    918. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickensاولیور تویست - چارلز دیکنز (مرکز) ادبیات انگلستانعنوان: اولیور ؛ نویسنده: چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: محمدرضا سیف، امیرکبیر، 1348، در 180 ص عنوان روی جلد پسر یتیم؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی - قرن 19 معنوان: اولیور توایست؛ نویسنده: چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: یاسمن یاسی پور، تهران، آبان مهر، 1394، در 157 ص؛ شابک: 9789649016467؛عنوان: اولیور تویست؛ نویسنده: چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: حسین خسروی، تهران، گلشائی، 1363، در 648 ص؛ شابک: 9789649016467؛بسیاری از بزرگواران این متن را ترجمه کرده اند، در فرصتی بهتر همه را خواهم نگاشتهشدار اگر هنوز کتاب را نخوانده اید و میخواهید آن را بخوانید، ادامه نوشتار را نخوانید؛ نویسنده در الیور تویست به بررسی اوضاع وخیم یتیم‌خانه‌ها در انگلستان در آن دوران می‌پردازد. اولیور، پسربچهٔ یتیمی ست که پس از فروخته شدن از طرف یتیم‌خانه، به پیرمردی تابوت‌ساز، تصمیم می‌گیرد از شهر فرار کند، و به لندن برود، در میانهٔ راه با پسری دزد آشنا می‌شود که برای پیرمردی یهودی در لندن کار می‌کند؛ و اولیور را نزد او می‌بَرَد، تا ناخواسته آموزش دزدی ببیند. ... سرانجام اولیور بی‌گناه دستگیر می‌شود. شاکی او، که فردی عاقل است، او را به‌ عنوان فرزند در خانه نگهداری می‌کند، اما از بخت بد اولیور، در خیابان توسط همان دزدان، دوباره دزدیده می‌شود؛ و اینبار از او برای سرقتی بزرگتر استفاده می‌کنند. اولیور در آن سرقت تیر می‌خورَد، ولی از سوی همان خانه که قصد دزدی داشته، پذیرفته می‌شود؛ و از او مراقبت می‌شود. سرانجام، شخصی به نام مستعارِ: مانکس؛ پیدا می‌شود که برادر اولیور است؛ و قصد کشتن او را دارد؛ و خبر خطر مرگ اولیور به اهالی خانه می‌رسد. از قضا صاحبان پیشین اولیور نیز، که اولیور از پیشِ آن‌ها دزدیده شده بود، او را پیدا می‌کنند و با کمک صاحبانِ جدید اولیور سعی در نجات او دارند. سرانجام اولیور نجات می‌یابد و تمامی دزدان به سزای خود می‌رسند و واقعیت‌ها نیز برملا می‌شود. ا. شربیانی

  • Ahmed Mahmoud Gamal
    2019-04-27 17:58

    "أرجوك سيدى ..أعطنى مزيد من الحساء""تطلب المزيد أيها الوغد الصغير ..سوف تنتهى حياتك على حبل المشنقة قريبا هيا أخرج من هنا "هذا مافعله خادم الملجأ فى أوليفر بعدما ارتكب جريمه طلب المزيد من الحساء حبسه فى غرفه العقاب المظلمه اوليفر تويست "روايه خالده تعتبر رمز للطفولة البائسة والشقيه المليئة بالالام والمتاعب ..ينشأ يتيملايعرف له اهلا .. يربى فى الملجأ ثم يهرب منه ليقع فى يد عصابه من اللصوص والنشالين بقياده يهودى لاضمير له يجند الاطفال ويعلمهم النشل ..شخص جبان وماكر..يلتقى أوليفر بافراد العصابه الاطفال البؤساء امثالهجاك وكنز)الفتى المراوغ الداهيه و(تشالى بيتس )الغلام كثير الضحك والمرح و(نانسى )الفتاه البائسه لاتخلو منالمروءه برغم انحطاطها..وظل اوليفر معهم فى تلك العيشه السوداء التى تقصر العمر الى ان وقع مصادفة فى يدالمستر براونلو والمسز مايلى الذان يعطفان على اوليفر ..هذا بالنسبه للجزء الاول من الروايهاما الجزء الثانى كان اكثر امتاعا وتشويقا فيه ما آل اليه افراد العصابه وزعيمهم اليهودى وايضا مااصبحت عليهحياه اوليفر وروز ..النهايه سعيده وتقليديه وبالرغم من ذلك أحببتهاتتشابه حياه اوليفر تويست بحياه المؤلف تشاليز ديكنز الى حد كبير وكانه يتكلم عن طفولته البائسه ايضافهو نشأ فقير معدم ينتمى لطبقة قسى عليها الدهر..تراكم الديون على أبيه فزج به الى السجن يعمل تشالز فى مصنع دهانات للاحذيه ثم ينتقل الى اعمال اكثر مشقه..يأكل مع العمال ويعاشر الأطفال المشردين و من خلال هذه المشقه منذ الصغير طبيعى جدا ان يكتب قصه مثل هذه بتحليل شائق وسخريه لاذعه من الطبقة العليا لم يذهب تشالز الى المدرسه سوى أربع سنوات التعليم الاساسى فقط ومع ذلك كتب قصص تعد من اروع قصص الانسانيه الترجمة جيدة جدا تساعد على انهاء قدر كبير من الروايه فى وقت قصير ...السرد متقن جدا ..ولا تعليق على الحبكة طبعا ممتازه.والعيب الذى يؤخذ على الرواية ان الاحداث متوقعه جدا مثلها مثل بقيه الاعمال الكلاسيكيه التقليديه الا انى احببتها

  • Chris Horsefield
    2019-05-07 18:59

    Dickens' famous story of a young orphan's struggle to survive on the streets of London is rightly one of his most remembered.Two outstanding characters have been contributed to literature - Fagin and Jack Dawkins the Artful Dodger.Dickens writes Fagin as a puppet master, controlling the orphaned children as pickpockets and the adults like Bill Sikes as thieves. His subterfuge of a penniless pauper with a kindly approach are at odds with the moments he steals gazing at his hidden stash of jewels and his barking moments of brutality. Though his name is Fagin, Dickens refers to him more often than not as "the Jew", a label quite jarring in today's culture. Fagin is sinister though and many see him as a devil like character. His many schemes, plans, and selfishness all contribute to the image.The Artful Dodger is a whirling dervish of charisma and charm, teaching Oliver the tricks of the trade and leading the cohorts of youngsters as the ultimate example they should all be aspiring to. Dickens chooses to have the Dodger answer for his crimes as he is finally caught and sent to jail. Tantalisingly, Dickens implies that the Dodger will be deported to Australia though we never see Dodger again after he is led away back to jail. Maybe he was thinking of writing a sequel with him as a grown up character?Oliver is by no means a great character but a likeable one. His tribulations put us on his side early on and his base survival has us enthralled and rooting for him throughout. Bill Sikes isn't also that great a character. A one dimensional thug and bully, his character is indeed menacing and ugly but unfortunately never goes further.Nancy meanwhile is another triumph of characterisation. Dickens shows her kind side, her deceitful side, her desperate life, and ultimately her sacrifice. She longs to stay with her boyfriend Bill Sikes despite his brutality and maintains a cheerful and optimistic disposition throughout the miserable drama. Her life and desires are complex and is one of Dickens' most enduring creations.When Sikes kills Nancy in Oliver Twist the sordid criminal demi-monde of early Victorian London rises up and allies itself with self-righteousness and denunciation. I doubt that Dickens wrote anything more compelling or arresting than Bill Sikes's terror strewn 'flight' from Victorian propriety and retribution. But it is not the 'mob' who capture his soul and dash its brains out - Dickens was far too knowing for that. Bill Sikes flees from his final crime against Nancy and finds that he is fleeing himself and that there can be no escape only nightmarish visions without respite.'He went on doggedly; but as he left the town behind him, and plunged into the solitude and darkness of the road, he felt a dread and awe creeeping upon him which shook him to the core. Every object before him, substance or shadow, still or or moving. took the semblance of some fearful thing; but these fears were nothing compared to the sense that haunted him of that morning's ghastly figure following at his heels. 'Vengeance is mine and I shall repay!Sikes's conscience renders him all too human, almost makes him a lost pilgrim, and like Sikes we find ourselves looking over our shoulder, aware only of the relentless ghost of Nancy's Banquo ...Sikes's suffering reveals his victimhood as abjectly as his slaughter of his lover Nancy. And once again Dickens's shows us the humanity lurking in even the most monstruous corners of the human soul;'he wandered on again, irresolute and undecided, and oppressed with the fear of another solitary night.Suddenly, he took the desperate resolution of going back to London.'There's somebody to speak to there, at all events...'Sikes chooses sociality over possible freedom, recognising that any freedom enjoyed beyond communality is illusory.So he turns back to the city and dies for the sake of any residue of conversation, for a 'last syllable of recorded time'..his soul's desperate and only choice.Wonderful!

  • Alex
    2019-04-27 22:14

    First of all, Oliver Twist is a shitty book. His second, following the comedic Pickwick Papers, it shows Dickens reaching for new territory: exposing the hopelessness and injustice of destitute life in London. But it's maudlin, obvious, predictable, lame. Oliver is such a simpering bitch that it's impossible to give a shit about him. Bad people want to use him; good people want to pamper him; you are bored. Dickens will write great books, but not yet.Second, Oliver Twist is a hateful book. Dickens has created in Fagin an embodiment of bigotry; a leering, black-nailed, money-grubbing Jew who's nearly always referred to as The Jew, as though Dickens wasn't sure we'd get it. Fagin is the most memorable character in Oliver Twist, and he's inexcusable. Look, I've read a lot of Victorian novels; I'm familiar with the casual anti-Semitism that's nearly unavoidable in them; I understand the context of the time. Dickens is well beyond that context. For his time, Dickens was a hater. "It unfortunately was true," he said in his own defense, "of the time to which the story refers, that the class of criminal almost invariably was a Jew."To be fair, not that I want to be, in the last chapters of Oliver Twist, he seems to have worked the storytelling issue out. Nancy and Sikes suddenly take over the book, although I doubt Dickens knew they would, in a climax of terrific power; and Fagin's last scene is equally powerful. But it's way too little, way too late. This is a shitty, hateful little book. It makes me think less of Dickens. I wish he'd done better.

  • Aya Hamza
    2019-05-16 14:58

    *Read it for school and decided to re-read it because I just loved this book so much!This book is worth re-reading again and again!I really love this classic, although it is so miserable and sad.I promise I will write a review for it after exams.

  • Natalie Monroe
    2019-04-27 16:19

    Dear Oliver,Dear Ending,

  • Mark
    2019-04-23 19:05

    I have in my 37 years of life avoided reading Charles Dickens. My reason: after having suffered through trying to read the so-called English literature of his era--think Thomas Harding, Emile Bronte and Mary Shelly--I figured Dickens would be no better. For some reason I can’t now recollect, I decided to give Dickens a try. I chose Oliver Twist. And was immediately hooked. Far from the boring narrative one finds the works of the other English writers I've already mentioned, Dickens has a very personable, simple, attractive writing style.As its title suggests, the book itself is about Oliver Twist. He's an orphan who, constantly abused, finally runs away and goes to London for there he figures he'll never be found. During his trip to that city, he meets a youth of perhaps thirteen years who calls himself the Artful Dodger. He's a pick pocket, and he brings poor Oliver into a den of thieves, one headed by a fence named Fagin. Here is a character of very bad reputation. Alas, he also demonstrates Dickens’ obvious anti-Semitism. Fagin represents a caricature of all “bad” Jews. Despite this flaw, Dickens nonetheless makes him a compelling villain. His other primary rogue, Bill Sikes the housebreaker, is even more dangerous and more terrifying.Poor Oliver is soon used as a decoy while the Artful Dodger and his fellow pickpocket, Charley Bates, steal from a gentleman looking at books at a bookstand. Oliver is caught, taken to the magistrate, then befriended by the very man who thought Oliver had picked his pocket: Mr. Brownlow. From here Oliver’s adventures for the most part recall the terrible things that happen to the poor boy: he’s kidnapped, compelled to be a house breaker, and has a variety of other problems. Along the way he learns that not all the adults in the world are as compassionless as those who ran the Parish orphanage from whence he came.This book is more than a compelling tale: it is biting social commentary, attacking the terrible conditions that the English masses had to endure in the first half of the 19th century; it is especially critical of the unfair Poor Law. England at that time was in essence what the free market advocates want in America to be today: they want no government interference in business nor the government to manage anyone’s lives’ let the market to take care of it! Thus an orphanage isn’t a place where you keep children until they can be adopted or come of age, it’s a place where you work the them to turn a profit. Oddly, this tale rings very true to our society today, but even if you have no interest whatsoever in society in general and politics and economics in particular, it’s nonetheless a wonderful tale well worth reading.

  • Raya راية
    2019-05-06 19:19

    أوليفر تويست.. من أوائل الروايات التي قرأتها صغيرة وكانت الخطوة الأولى لمسيرتي في القراءة...إحدى كلاسيكيات الأدب الإنجليزي والعالمي.. وإحدى إبداعات الكبير تشارلز ديكنز..رواية ممتيّزة، تصوّر البؤس والشقاء والاستغلال الذي يتعرض له أطفال الملاجئ المساكين.. وأوليفر.. ذلك الطفل المسكين البائس ذا النغس الكريمة العزيزة الذي قاسى الأمرّين مع عصابة اللصوص والمجرمين..يا للأطفال البائسين الضعفاء.. :(لكن الفضيلة والعدالة تنتصر في النهاية فهذه سنّة الكون..أسقط تشارلز ديكنز حياته الشخصية وواقعه وواقع المجمتع الإنجليزي في فترة الثورة الصناعية على شخصية أوليفر، وما تبعها من بؤس للناس وتفاوت في الطبقات الاجتماعية وتزايد شريحة الفقراء وعمالة الأطفال..

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-05-05 18:06

    Yes, but what became of Oliver? Let me tell you. He became Oliver Twisted. That’s what. He became Battersea’s premier caulker—that is, someone who seals gaps in drywall with waterproof sealant. But Fagin’s influence seeped into poor Oliver’s caulking duties. Instead of sealant, he would put sea lions, banana skins and discount copies of the musical Oliver! Homeowners would thrash in their beds to the bleating of moribund sea lions. Houses would slip away from their districts into horrible places like Wales or Scotland. People were driven mad listening to Lionel Bart’s appalling musical numbers (with no apologies to Paul Bryant). Yes, Oliver was a rotter and no mistake. He was later dismissed from the Caulking Co. and set up a whelk stall in the East End where he met Bianca, a flame-haired human foghorn whose face was so mottled with freckles she became one oblate spheroid human freckle, living off a diet of hydrocortisone smoothies and Diprobase pasties. You didn’t think Oliver would grow up good? Please! You don’t endure a childhood of ritual abuse and become a huggable hunk. You milk it for all its worth (naming no names—Dave Pelzer) or become a corrupt caulker. I am loving Dickens right now. I also love The Vaselines. And I also love Eugenius. Ciao ciao.

  • Anna
    2019-05-07 23:08

    Κλασική ιστορία που είχα διαβάσει παιδί. Μου έχει αφήσει θετικές αναμνήσεις, αλλά νομίζω- το έχω ξαναπεί - ότι η κατηγοριοποίηση κλασικών έργων ως "παιδικά" μας κάνει να τα διαβάζουμε σε μικρή ηλικία και να μην τα καταλαβαίνουμε καλά. Μετά, όταν μεγαλώσουμε δεν επανερχόμαστε σε αυτά, γιατί από τη μία θεωρούμε ότι τα διαβάσαμε, από την άλλη υπάρχουν επίσης πολλά αξιόλογα βιβλία και ο ελεύθερος χρόνος λιγοστεύει

  • Γιώργος Δάμτσιος
    2019-05-09 21:26

    Άλλο ένα βιβλίο που ξαναδιάβασα μετά από πάρα πολλά χρόνια. Ήταν κι αυτό ένα τσεκ για να ξέρω πότε θα το πασάρω στα δικά μου παιδιά... και μάλλον θα το κάνω όταν δεν θα είναι παιδιά.Δεν μπορώ να καταλάβω γιατί βάζουμε στα παιδιά να διαβάζουν βιβλία με τέτοια περίπλοκα νοήματα. Δεν τα πολυκαταλαβαίνουν και τζάμπα τα ζορίζουμε. Επίσης, μιλώντας για Ντίκενς, τζάμπα τους κόβουμε και το χαμόγελο. Θλίψη, κακοποίηση, θάνατοι... ένα σωρό πράγματα υπάρχουν στις σελίδες των συγγραμμάτων του.Κατά τα άλλα, το βιβλίο είναι φυσικά εξαιρετικό. Γράφτηκε το 1838 και πολλά από τα νοήματα με τα οποία καταπιάνεται παραμένουν επίκαιρα. Από εκεί και πέρα, νομίζω ότι οποιαδήποτε άλλη λεπτομέρεια γι' αυτό είναι περιττή, αφού είναι πασίγνωστο.-Υποσημείωση, η έκδοση που έχω εγώ δεν είναι αυτή αλλά η ''παιδική''. (Άντε πάλι). Αν θυμάμαι καλά τώρα, που δεν το έχω μπροστά μου, πρέπει να είναι κοντά στις 220 σελίδες.

  • Abigail Amor
    2019-05-12 20:01

    As expected of Charles Dickens, he really did a great work of literature that gives us the wisdom about good and evil in this world. And that despite the evilness that exist in this world, there is still goodness in majority.

  • Jennifer (aka EM)
    2019-05-23 22:58

    Copy-edited. Just in case you thought I was a complete doofus the first-time round.Yes, I am giving Oliver Twist one star. What went wrong here? Oh, about a million things. First, the single reason I decided to read this book is because I got a new dog recently, and I named him Oliver Twist. Then I realized I hadn't actually read his namesake, and I really like Dickens, and well ... it's orphans, right? ... and there was this lovely new Penguin hardcover all nubbly and pretty and ....... and now I'm three books behind my GR Reading Challenge - blast it all to hell and back again!!!!! hahahaha (ok, well that has more to do with the canine OT than this book), butttttttt:I love Dickens when his characters are over-the-top caricatures crafted with blind rage against the poverty and injustice they - and he - experienced at their core - not when they are shallow, one-dimensional, and here in one case, racist, clichés. It was almost like he couldn't describe the horrific conditions of Oliver's early life well enough; he couldn't sustain it. He couldn't get close to it, likely because he was too close to it. We knew too early the kid was going to be okay. I love Dickens when his sentences and his plots are as convoluted, dark and edgy as the rank London streets and jails he describes. When his language skates so far beyond purple prose into the most delicious hyperbole that it makes you want to grab a placard and march behind him yelling slogans and demanding justice. Mostly, I love Dickens when I feel politically aligned with him - and here, I didn't. He almost had too much sympathy for "the bad guys." Bumble was ... bumbling and an idiot, but easily dismissed and quickly defrocked (I choose that word deliberately). Sikes was evil incarnate, but we didn't get to see enough truly evil ACTS or thoughts; we saw him through the lenses of other characters -- Fagin - could there be a more ambiguous bad guy? and Nancy, in particular -- both of whose viewpoints were compromised by their own ambiguity.Coming back to the language. Usually, I find Dickens more controlled, more consistent, more intentional with his rhetoric. Here, I swear he must have sub-contracted out some of these chapters. They were wildly inconsistent in tone and style one to the next. Maybe he could get away with that as it was being published in its original format, but jam-packed all together like this (granted, I read it about as slowly as it was originally intended), it was glaringly obvious that he was experimenting with style over the course of it, got easily distracted in several spots and then -- with something akin to arrogance at his own ability to fool most of the people most of the time -- overconfidently came back in the next chapter to apologize for the sins of the last. It made for a very frustrating and anger-provoking reading experience.I confess I don't know any of the context in which this was written, so feel free to correct my argument by providing context. One thing I would like to know is whether all of Dickens's novels were originally published serially, or only a few, OT among them. I'm thinking that what I like/dislike among his oeuvre may fall along those lines. I like the wholly-composed novel: the one where Dickens knows exactly where he will take the reader, puts you in the palm of his hand from the first chapter, but doesn't reveal where you're going (except to give you the confidence that the destination will be worth the journey) until the very last. That's the Dickens I love.This, not so much. I may have to change my dog's name. :-p

  • Jasmine
    2019-04-27 18:20

    "This is where Dickens' social revolt is of more value than mere politics and avoids vulgarity of the novel with a purpose. His revolt is not a revolt of the commercialist against the feudalist, of the Nonconformist against the Churchman, of the Free-trader against the Protectionist, of the Liberal against the Tory. If he were among us now his revolt would not be the revolt of the Socialist against the Individualist, or of the Anarchist against the Socialist. His revolt was simply and solely the eternal revolt; it was the revolt of the weak against the strong. He did not dislike this or that argument for oppression; he disliked oppression. He disliked a certain look on the face of a man when he looks down on another man. And that look on that face is the only thing in the world that we have really to fight between here and the fires of Hell."From the introduction by G.K. Chesterton

  • Elina
    2019-05-05 23:07

    Κλασική αξία!

  • Kyriakos Sorokkou
    2019-05-04 19:25

    Well, my dears (to acquire Fagin's dirty skin) Oliver Twist was a fascinating tale, about a poor boy and his adventure or progress through hardships, evil people and places, enemies and allies. Some say that this novel has anti-Semitic descriptions but, (although I don't want to defend Dickens, oh no, not that, my dears) I believe that Dickens made Fagin a Jewish caricature intentionally, as a way to criticise his Victorian society. Fagin had something fascinating in his character, he was talking always with a hoarse voice and the way of his talk was seemingly friendly (the catching phrase "my dear(s)", helped to make him look friendly) but he was an arch-villain, and this friendliness in his voice was confusing, in the sense that in one moment you were liking him and in the other you were hating him. Bill Sikes on the other hand reminded me of The Hound (Sandor Glegane), he was harsh, brutal, he had a dog (hound) as a companion, had interests only in crime and food (probably chicken too), and was violent with children (Arya/Oliver,Charlie Bates). Well, to me Oliver was a very flat character, no real progress, he was a sweet yet pathetic boy that was 100% good, almost angelic, and I believe that Fagin was the most developed character in the novel, even though he was a villain. Maybe this novel could be renamed Fagin, The Descent Of The Old GentlemanThis was my 3rd novel by Dickens, the first was A Christmas Carol and the second was Hard Times. I read this along with a very good audiobook read by actor Martin Jarvis very well-known for his narrations of Dickensian novels. The audiobook helped me to enjoy this book even more especially by the fact that the narrator being a voice actor himself was able to make more than a dozen different voices, and Fagin's was the most characteristic, my dears. So 4,4 stars from me. Now I'm off to read something else by Dickens.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-05-01 17:02

    It is hard to exit the original worlds created by Dickens. I usually manage it crying like a baby. Oliver Twist is top shelf storytelling. The characters are amazing. The setting is perfect. The plot manages to throw out hundreds of threads and ties them all together at the end, while never losing or boring the reader. Weakness? This is probably nit picking, but the story seems to work out too well in the end. Don't get me wrong, I know this is a social novel and FICTION, but I guess I just have a little bit of an issue with the whole melodramatic end, with every shoe finding a foot and every evil getting a noose. Other than that, Dickens shows with 'Oliver Twist' why he is/was the master and the giant of the social novel.

  • Joe
    2019-04-28 23:00

    Having seen the stage musical and two movie versions, I have wanted for a long time to read the original. It was interesting to see how much was changed from the book. Fagin is a much more loathsome creature in the book--more treacherous, more cunning, more quick to anger, and not the jolly old naughty elf that he is in the musical version. Nancy is also more of a wretch, and not the kindly, big sister figure to Fagin's gang as she is portrayed in the film; making her decision to act on Oliver's behalf seem more daring, as it was in fact out of character. I also enjoyed the fact that the story is more complex than depicted in the musical. In Monks, there is a more sinister threat to Oliver than merely Fagin and Sikes fears of discovery. And Oliver has many more friends, and more family, by the end than Mr. Brownlow alone.Some of my favorite parts of the book are the satircal passages, especially those involving Mr. Bumble and the parochial administration, where Dickens exposes, with many humorous turns of phrases, all the hypocricy and degradation of the systems of so-called social welfare, criminal justice, etc.I read this aloud to my 10 and 11 year old daughters. They had recently seen their cousins and uncle in a stage production of the musical, and so were keen to have me read it to them. They were able to follow it pretty well, although the language in many places is quite difficult to follow. They enjoyed the richer detail and more intricate plot, as well.