Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics)

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9780140435221: Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics)

Dickens' second novel is a compelling portrait of the clash between the innocence of childhood and a dark criminal underworld inhabited by a vivid cast of wicked or compromised characters. This new edition aims to place this mythical story of the struggle between good and evil firmly within the context of the early Victorian attitudes to crime and its punishment, and Dickens' own evolution as a novelist.

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From the Publisher:

This fiercely comic tale stands in marked contrast to its genial predecessor, The Pickwick Papers. Set against London's seedy back street slums, Oliver Twist is the saga of a workhouse orphan captured and thrust into a thieves' den, where some of Dickens's most depraved villains preside: the incorrigible Artful Dodger, the murderous bully Sikes, and the terrible Fagin, that treacherous ringleader whose grinning knavery threatens to send them all to the "ghostly gallows." Yet at the heart of this drama is the orphan Oliver, whose unsullied goodness leads him at last to salvation. In 1838 the publication of Oliver Twist firmly established the literary eminence of young Dickens. It was, according to Edgar Johnson, "a clarion peal announcing to the world that in Charles Dickens the rejected and forgotten and misused of the world had a champion."

From the Back Cover:

Charles Dickens’s famous second novel recounts the story of a boy born in the workhouse and raised in an infant farm as he tries to make his way in the world. Intended to raise feeling against the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 (which had emphasized the workhouse as an appropriate means of dealing with the problem of poverty), Oliver Twist also provides a sweeping portrait of London life in the 1830s—including the life of the criminal elements in society. Oliver Twist was first published in serialised form (with illustrations by George Cruikshank) in Bentley's Miscellany between February 1837 and April 1839. It was issued with some corrections and revisions in ten numbers in 1846 by Bradbury and Evans (which then also issued the same text in a single volume). Each of these ten numbers, including the Cruikshank illustrations and the advertisements, is included in this facsimile reprint of the 1846 edition. This is one of a series from Broadview Press of facsimile reprint editions—editions that provide readers with a direct sense of these works as the Victorians themselves experienced them.

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