- Reading level: 12+ years
- Paperback: 608 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; Reissue edition (27 March 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141439742
- ISBN-13: 978-0141439747
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Other Sellers on Amazon
Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 27 Mar 2003
|Paperback, 27 Mar 2003||
Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
Interactive & Activity Books for ChildrenBrowse through wide range of interactive & activity books that make learning fun for your child. Shop now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"The power of [Dickens] is so amazing, that the reader at once becomes his captive, and must follow him whithersoever he leads."
--William Makepeace Thackeray
About the Author
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.
Philip Horne is a Reader in English at UCL. He is author of the acclaimed Henry James: A Life in Letters and editor of James' The Tragic Muse for Penguin.
To get the free app, enter mobile phone number.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
What captivated me to read the book was its opening page. “Among other public buildings in a certain town…”. That is one of the distinctive traits of any work by Dickens. The opening page itself is able to have such a hold on the reader, that it gets difficult for him not to venture to the next page. Whether it is “Now, what I want is facts…” of Hard Times or, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” of A Tale of Two Cities.
In Oliver Twist, Dickens chronicles the circumstances of a child, Oliver, and traces his life right from his birth, whence he becomes an orphan, to his encounters with some of the worst (as also the best) aspects of human society, and human nature. How he manages to weave so perfectly the opposing streams in Oliver’s life, is something to be noted.
Oliver is innocent and naïve, living in constant fear of how easily things in his life can turn for the worse. He never fails to show his gratitude for his benefactors, whether Mr. Brownlow or Mrs. Maylie and Rose, in thoughts and in action. He is always eager to help them, in his own small way, and it is during one of these very expeditions, when Mr. Brownlow and Mr. “I’ll eat my head” Grimwig have placed a bet on whether Oliver would return or not, the latter believing that he won’t, that he is captured by his old gang, on the orders of Fagin.
Dickens must be commended for creating such memorable characters by skillfully sketching their personalities. That of the principal antagonist, Fagin, deserves special mention.
Fagin, referred often as simply “the Jew”, is painted as the most grotesque, diabolical and scheming person one can imagine. He is not really evil per se, but his irrepressible motivations to take advantage of the people around him, especially the group of children he has trained in ‘pickpocketry’, for his own needs is nothing short of evil. He is constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to further his interests.
Fagin, and his shady associates, paint a picture of Victorian London where child labour and trafficking are the order of the day - to the extent that it makes one feel that a child living with his parents, away from the prying eyes of the gang, is nothing short of fortunate, for the gang is capable of ensnaring virtually any child from any strata of society, if only Fagin is sure of his safety.
The book is replete with dark humour. For it is well known, and well-accepted, that to speak the unspeakable, humour is the best weapon one can have.
Dickens never directly criticizes the workings of the gang, or even the fact that something like this was very common in England at the time. But he skillfully uses black humour, sarcasm and irony to get his message through. And it works. As much as the book is about the life of Oliver, it is also a scathing criticism on the Victorian society, and how easily innocent children are misled, trapped and forced to do things they would otherwise never have done.
But on the whole, the book is about the eventual triumph of good over evil. There are bad people in the world, no doubt. But if the good people choose to keep doing good things, and vow to teach the other half a lesson for all their misdeeds, all evil can be uprooted from its very roots.
It was but obvious from the beginning that the charm of such a beautiful opening could not reasonably be expected to be maintained for any appreciable duration during the rest of the book and, indeed, the story meandered a bit, as if trying to pick up the strands it would require in its denouement. In fact, for a considerable part of the first hundred pages, I wasn’t really sure whether I was really enjoying the book at all.
However, once the plot got into its groove, there was simply no turning back. Each passing chapter gave me something more to relish than the previous one, and by the end of it, I was more than satisfied.
At 350 pages, it is not a long novel. And it just may be the perfect window for any person who might want to get a taste of Dickens before going for some of his lengthier works.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Look for similar items by category