Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist

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Oliver Twist is a powerful story of crime, poverty and violence. It is one of Charles Dickens' most widely read novels and was first published in 1837. The year before, young Charles Dickens had suddenly leaped from obscurity to success with The Pickwick Papers.

The setting of Oliver Twist is in startling contrast to the happy world of Mr. Pickwick. Its picture of crime and brutality surprised readers who thought of Dickens only as a comic writer. But the author actually had been born into this very world of which he wrote: a world of debtors' prisons, almshouses, slums and poverty.

Oliver was born and reared in a workhouse and apprenticed to a brutal master. He ran away to London. Starving, he was taken from the streets by Fagin, a master criminal who corrupted homeless boys by teaching them the tricks of a professional thief.

Oliver's early career and the events that lead to his rescue present every facet of the genius that has made Charles Dickens perhaps the greatest of all English novelists.

It is a mark of Dickens' genius that today the sharply observed scenes and vivid characters of the early nineteenth century still burgeon with life in the pages of this great novel.