Oliver Twist Author:Charles Dickens [From Wikipedia] Oliver Twist (1838) is Charles Dickens' second novel. The book was originally published in Bentley's Miscellany as a serial, in monthly installments that began appearing in the month of February 1837 and continued through April 1839, originally intended to form part of Dickens' serial The Mudfog Papers. George Cruikshank provid... more »ed one steel etching per month to illustrate each installment.
Oliver Twist is the first novel in the English language to center throughout on a child protagonist and is also notable for Dickens' unromantic portrayal of criminals and their sordid lives. The book's subtitle, The Parish Boy's Progress alludes to Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress and also to a pair of popular 18th-century caricature series by William Hogarth, "A Rake's Progress" and "A Harlot's Progress".
An early example of the social novel, the book calls the public's attention to various contemporary social evils, including the Poor Law that states that poor people should work in workhouses, child labor and the recruitment of children as criminals. Dickens mocks the hypocrisies of the time by surrounding the novel's serious themes with sarcasm and dark humor. The novel may have been inspired by the story of Robert Blincoe, an orphan whose account of his hardships as a child laborer in a cotton mill was widely read in the 1830s.
Oliver Twist has been the subject of numerous film and television adaptations, and is the basis for a highly successful musical, Oliver!.« less