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Oliver Twist

Novel by Charles Dickens (1837–1839) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress, is the second novel by English author Charles Dickens. It was originally published as a serial from 1837 to 1839, and as a three-volume book in 1838.[1] The story follows the titular orphan, who, after being raised in a workhouse, escapes to London, where he meets a gang of juvenile pickpockets led by the elderly criminal Fagin, discovers the secrets of his parentage, and reconnects with his remaining family.

Quick facts: Author, Original title, Illustrator, Cou...
Oliver Twist
Frontispiece and title-page, first edition 1838
Illustration and design by George Cruikshank
AuthorCharles Dickens
Original titleOliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress
IllustratorGeorge Cruikshank
GenreSerial novel
PublishedSerialised 1837–1839; book form 1838
PublisherSerial: Bentley's Miscellany
Book: Richard Bentley
Preceded byThe Pickwick Papers 
Followed byNicholas Nickleby 
TextOliver Twist at Wikisource

Oliver Twist unromantically portrays the sordid lives of criminals, and exposes the cruel treatment of the many orphans in London in the mid-19th century.[2] The alternative title, The Parish Boy's Progress, alludes to Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, as well as the 18th-century caricature series by painter William Hogarth, A Rake's Progress and A Harlot's Progress.[3]

In an early example of the social novel, Dickens satirises child labour, domestic violence, the recruitment of children as criminals, and the presence of street children. The novel may have been inspired by the story of Robert Blincoe, an orphan whose account of working as a child labourer in a cotton mill was widely read in the 1830s. It is likely that Dickens's own experiences as a youth contributed as well, considering he spent two years of his life in the workhouse at the age of 12 and subsequently, missed out on some of his education.[4]

Oliver Twist has been the subject of numerous adaptations, including a 1948 film of the same title, starring Alec Guinness as Fagin; a highly successful musical, Oliver! (itself adapted into a multiple Academy Award-winning 1968 motion picture), and Disney's animated film Oliver & Company in 1988.[5]