Dickens's classic morality tale of a starving orphan caught between opposing forces of good and evil is a powerful indictment of Victorian England's Poor Laws. Filled with dark humor and an unforgettable cast of characters Oliver Twist, Fagin, Nancy, Bill Sykes, and the Artful Dodger, to name a few Dickens's second novel is a compelling social satire that has remained popular since it was first serialized in 1837-39.
The text for this Modern Library Paperback Classic is taken from the 1846 New Edition, revised and corrected by the author. It includes new explanatory notes and an appendix, "A Brief History of the English Poor Laws.
About the Author
Arguably one of the greatest writers of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens is the author of such literary masterpieces as A Tale of Two Cities (1859), A Christmas Carol (1843), David Copperfield (1850), and The Adventures of Oliver Twist (1839), among many others. Dickens' s indelible characters and timeless stories continue to resonate with readers around the world more than 130 years after his death. Dickens was born in 1812 and died in 1870.
On Friday, February 7, 1812, the famous Victorian literature author, Charles John Huffam Dickens was born. Raised by parents John and Elizabeth, Charles began his life in a middle class home in the No. 1 mile end Terrace of Landport, Portsmouth, England. As a young boy, Dickens was taught to read by his mother and was formally educated between the ages of 9 and 15. Charles' father considered him to be a 'young prodigy.' He was often sent to tell stories to clerks at the navy pay office, where his father worked. At the age of 12, Dickens father was imprisoned for debt. As a means of helping his mother support his 7 brothers and sisters, Charles was removed from school and sent to work at a boot blacking factory. Earning very little money and surviving off of small portions of food, Charles was forced to live in the attic of a woman's home while the rest of his family resided in prison with their father. After his father was released from prison, Charles chose to continue his life in the work force and held jobs at a lawyer's office and also as a reporter. During his time as a reporter, Dickens' writing career began to lift off. His first published story, A Dinner at Poplar Walk, was printed when he was only 21 in Monthly Magazine in December of 1833. With a new career as an author, Dickens began to write numerous short stories and novels which were published in either weekly or monthly segments in newspapers and magazines. As he began to become more and more well known, Dickens chose the name "Boz" to sign his works. Later in his career, Charles met Catherine Hogarth and quickly fell in love. The two were wed on April 2nd, 1836. Although their relationship was not without its ups and downs, the pair had 10 children together. In 1858, Charles and Catherine separated, but they continued to live together until her death 20 years later. Throughout his career, Dickens wrote 15 novels and many short stories. Growing up in the height of the Industrial Revolution, many of Dickens' themes focused on the negative treatment of the poor in urban areas. Working at the boot blacking factory as a child seemed to be his most life-changing experience as many of his stories' themes reflect this particular time of his life.
Philip Pullman is the acclaimed author of the internationally renowned His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, winner of the Carnegie Medal (England); The Subtle Knife, winner of a Parents Choice Gold Book Award; The Amber Spyglass, the first children s book to win the overall Whitbread Award (England); and Lyra s Oxford. His other books for children and young adults include The Scarecrow and His Servant, Spring-Heeled Jack, Count Karlstein, and a trilogy of Victorian thrillers featuring Sally Lockhart: The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, and The Tiger in the Well. A graduate of Oxford University with a degree in English, Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England.
"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