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."
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.
Delmore Schwartz (1913-1966) was born and raised in Brooklyn. One of America's greatest poets and short-story writers, Schwartz contributed "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities" to the first issue of "Partisan Review" in 1937. Schwartz taught at Syracuse, Princeton, and Kenyon College, and received the Bollingen Prize in 1959. After a difficult period of alchoholism and depression, he died of a heart attack in 1966.
"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