Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy's Progress is author Charles
Dickens's second novel, and was first published as a serial
1837–39. The story centres on orphan Oliver Twist, born in a
workhouse and sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker. After
escaping, Twist travels to London, where he meets "The Artful Dodger",
a member of a gang of juvenile pickpockets led by the elderly
Oliver Twist is notable for its unromantic portrayal by Dickens of
criminals and their sordid lives, as well as for exposing the cruel
treatment of the many orphans in
London in the mid-19th century.
The alternative title, The Parish Boy's Progress, alludes to Bunyan's
The Pilgrim's Progress, as well as the 18th-century caricature series
by William Hogarth,
A Rake's Progress
A Rake's Progress and A Harlot's Progress.
In this early example of the social novel, Dickens satirises the
hypocrisies of his time, including child labour, the recruitment of
children as criminals, and the presence of street children. The novel
may have been inspired by the story of Robert Blincoe, an orphan whose
account of working as a child labourer in a cotton mill was widely
read in the 1830s. It is likely that Dickens's own youthful
experiences contributed as well.
Oliver Twist has been the subject of numerous adaptations for various
media, including a highly successful musical play, Oliver!, and the
multiple Academy Award-winning 1968 motion picture. Disney also put
its spin on the novel with the animated film called Oliver &
Company in 1988.
2 Plot summary
2.2 London, the
Artful Dodger and Fagin
2.3 Mystery of a man called "Monks"
4 Major themes and symbols
4.1 Poverty and social class
5 Allegations of antisemitism
6 Film, television and theatrical adaptations
8 External links
The novel was originally published in monthly instalments in the
Bentley's Miscellany from February 1837 to April 1839. It was
originally intended to form part of Dickens's serial, The Mudfog
George Cruikshank provided one steel etching per
month to illustrate each instalment. The novel first appeared in
book form six months before the initial serialisation was completed,
in three volumes published by Richard Bentley, the owner of Bentley's
Miscellany, under the author's pseudonym, "Boz". It included 24
steel-engraved plates by Cruikshank.
The first edition was titled: Oliver Twist, or, The Parish Boy's
Cover, first edition of serial, entitled "The Adventures of Oliver
Twist" January 1846
Serial publication dates:
I – February 1837 (chapters 1–2)
II – March 1837 (chapters 3–4)
III – April 1837 (chapters 5–6)
IV – May 1837 (chapters 7–8)
V – July 1837 (chapters 9-11)
VI – August 1837 (chapters 12–13)
VII – September 1837 (chapters 14–15)
VIII – November 1837 (chapters 16–17)
IX – December 1837 (chapters 18–19)
X – January 1838 (chapters 20–22)
XI – February 1838 (chapters 23–25)
XII – March 1838 (chapters 26–27)
XIII – April 1838 (chapters 28–30)
XIV – May 1838 (chapters 31–32)
XV – June 1838 (chapters 33–34)
XVI – July 1838 (chapters 35–37)
XVII – August 1838 (chapters 38-part of 39)
XVIII – October 1838 (conclusion of chapter 39–41)
XIX – November 1838 (chapters 42–43)
XX – December 1838 (chapters 44–46)
XXI – January 1839 (chapters 47–49)
XXII – February 1839 (chapter 50)
XXIII – March 1839 (chapter 51)
XXIV – April 1839 (chapters 52–53)
Mr Bumble by Kyd (Joseph Clayton Clarke)
Oliver Twist is born and raised into a life of poverty and misfortune
in a workhouse in an unnamed town 70 miles north of London. Orphaned
by his mother's death in childbirth and his father's mysterious
absence, Oliver is meagrely provided for under the terms of the Poor
Law and spends the first nine years of his life living at a baby farm
in the 'care' of a woman named Mrs Mann. Oliver is brought up with
little food and few comforts. Around the time of Oliver's ninth
birthday, Mr Bumble, the parish beadle, removes Oliver from the baby
farm and puts him to work picking and weaving oakum at the main
workhouse. Oliver, who toils with very little food, remains in the
workhouse six months. One day, the desperately hungry boys decide to
draw lots; the loser must ask for another portion of gruel. The task
falls to Oliver, who at the next meal comes forward trembling, bowl in
hand, and begs Mr Bumble for gruel with his famous request: "Please,
sir, I want some more".
A great uproar ensues. The board of well-fed gentlemen who administer
the workhouse hypocritically offer £5 to any person wishing to take
on the boy as an apprentice. Mr Gamfield, a brutal chimney sweep,
almost claims Oliver. However, when he begs despairingly not to be
sent away with "that dreadful man", a kindly magistrate refuses to
sign the indentures. Later, Mr. Sowerberry, an undertaker employed by
the parish, takes Oliver into his service. He treats Oliver better
and, because of the boy's sorrowful countenance, uses him as a mourner
at children's funerals. Mr Sowerberry is in an unhappy marriage, and
his wife looks down on Oliver and loses few opportunities to underfeed
and mistreat him. He also suffers torment at the hands of Noah
Claypole, an oafish and bullying fellow apprentice and "charity boy"
who is jealous of Oliver's promotion to mute, and Charlotte, the
Sowerberrys' maidservant, who is in love with Noah.
Wanting to bait Oliver, Noah insults the memory of Oliver's mother,
calling her "a regular right-down bad 'un". Enraged, Oliver assaults
the much bigger boy. Mrs Sowerberry takes Noah's side, helps him to
subdue, punch, and beat Oliver, and later compels her husband and Mr
Bumble, who has been sent for in the aftermath of the fight, to beat
Oliver once again. Once Oliver is sent to his room for the night, he
breaks down and weeps. The next day, Oliver escapes from the
Sowerberrys' house and later decides to run away to
London to seek a
Artful Dodger and Fagin
George Cruikshank original engraving of the
Artful Dodger (centre),
here introducing Oliver (right) to
Nearing London, Oliver encounters Jack Dawkins, a pickpocket more
commonly known by the nickname the "Artful Dodger", and his sidekick,
a boy of a humorous nature, named Charley Bates, but Oliver's innocent
and trusting nature fails to see any dishonesty in their actions.
Dodger provides Oliver with a free meal and tells him of a gentleman
London who will "give him lodgings for nothing, and never ask for
change". Grateful for the unexpected assistance, Oliver follows Dodger
to the "old gentleman's" residence. In this way, Oliver unwittingly
falls in with an infamous Jewish criminal known as Fagin, the
gentleman of whom the
Artful Dodger spoke. Ensnared, Oliver lives with
Fagin and his gang of juvenile pickpockets in their lair at Saffron
Hill for some time, unaware of their criminal occupations. He believes
they make wallets and handkerchiefs.
Soon, Oliver naively goes out to "make handkerchiefs" with the Artful
Dodger and Charley Bates, only to learn that their real mission is to
pick pockets. Dodger and Charley steal the handkerchief of an old
gentleman named Mr Brownlow and promptly flee. When he finds his
handkerchief missing, Mr Brownlow turns round, sees Oliver running
away in fright, and pursues him, thinking he was the thief. Others
join the chase, capture Oliver, and bring him before the magistrate.
Curiously, Mr Brownlow has second thoughts about the boy – he
seems reluctant to believe he is a pickpocket. To the judge's evident
disappointment, a bookstall holder who saw Dodger commit the crime
clears Oliver, who, by now actually ill, faints in the courtroom. Mr
Brownlow takes Oliver home and, along with his housekeeper Mrs Bedwin,
cares for him.
Bill Sikes by Fred Barnard
Oliver stays with Mr Brownlow, recovers rapidly, and blossoms from the
unaccustomed kindness. His bliss is interrupted when Fagin, fearing
Oliver might tell the police about his criminal gang, decides that
Oliver must be brought back to his hideout. When Mr Brownlow sends
Oliver out to pay for some books, one of the gang, a young girl named
Nancy, whom Oliver had previously met at Fagin's, accosts him with
help from her abusive lover, the robber Bill Sikes, and Oliver is
quickly bundled back to Fagin's lair. The thieves take the five-pound
note Mr Brownlow had entrusted to him, and strip him of his fine new
clothes. Oliver, shocked, flees and attempts to call for police
assistance, but is dragged back by the Artful Dodger, Charley, and
Fagin. Nancy, alone, is sympathetic towards Oliver and saves him from
Fagin and Sikes.
In a renewed attempt to draw Oliver into a life of crime,
him to participate in a burglary. Nancy reluctantly assists in
recruiting him, all the while assuring the boy that she will help him
if she can. Sikes, after threatening to kill him if he does not
cooperate, puts Oliver through a small window and orders him to unlock
the front door. The robbery goes wrong and Oliver is shot by people in
the house and wounded in his left arm. After being abandoned by Sikes,
the wounded Oliver makes it back to the house and ends up under the
care of the people he was supposed to rob: Miss Rose and her guardian
Mystery of a man called "Monks"
Fagin by 'Kyd' (1889)
The mysterious man Monks plots with
Fagin to destroy Oliver's
reputation. Monks denounces Fagin's failure to turn Oliver into a
criminal, and the two of them agree on a plan to make sure he does not
find out about his past. Monks is apparently related to Oliver in some
way. Back in Oliver's hometown, Mr Bumble has married Mrs Corney, the
matron of the workhouse where the story first began, only to find
himself in an unhappy marriage, constantly arguing with his
domineering wife. After one such argument, Mr Bumble walks to a pub
where he meets Monks, who questions him about Oliver. Bumble informs
Monks that he knows someone who can give Monks more information for a
price, and later Monks meets secretly with the Bumbles. After Mrs
Bumble tells Monks all she knows for a price, Monks takes the locket
and ring proving Oliver's parents, which had once belonged to Oliver's
mother, and drops them into the river flowing under his place. Monks
relates these events to Fagin, unaware that Nancy is eavesdropping on
their conversations and plans to inform Oliver's benefactors. Mr
Brownlow returns to London, where Oliver sees him, and brings him to
meet the Maylies.
Now ashamed of her role in Oliver's kidnapping and worried for the
boy's safety, Nancy goes to Rose Maylie, staying in London. She knows
that Monks and
Fagin are plotting to get their hands on the boy again,
and offers to meet again any Sunday night on
London bridge. Rose tells
Mr Brownlow, and the two then make plans with all their party in
London. The first Sunday night, Nancy tries to leave for her walk, but
Sikes refuses permission when she declines to state exactly where she
Fagin realizes that Nancy is up to something, perhaps has a
new boyfriend, and resolves to find out what her secret is. Meanwhile,
Noah has fallen out with the undertaker Mr Sowerberry, stolen money
from him, and fled to
London with Charlotte. Using the name "Morris
Bolter", he joins Fagin's gang for protection and becomes a practicer
of "the kinchin lay" (robbing of children), and Charlotte is put with
Fagin sends Noah to watch the
Artful Dodger on trial, after
he is caught with a stolen silver snuff box; the Dodger is convicted
while showing his style, with a punishment of transportation to
Australia. Next, Noah is sent by
Fagin to spy on Nancy, and discovers
her meeting with Rose and Mr Brownlow on the bridge, hearing their
discussion of why she did not appear the prior week and how to save
Fagin and Monks.
Fagin angrily passes the information on to Sikes, twisting the story
to make it sound as if Nancy had informed on him, when she had not.
Believing Nancy to be a traitor, Sikes beats her to death in a fit of
rage that very night and flees to the countryside to escape from the
police and his conscience. There, Sikes is haunted by visions of Nancy
and alarmed by news of her murder spreading across the countryside. He
London to find a hiding place and intend to steal money
Fagin and flee to France, only to die by accidentally hanging
himself while attempting to flee across a rooftop from a mob angry at
Fagin in his cell, by British caricaturist George Cruikshank
While Sikes is fleeing the mob, Mr Brownlow forces Monks to listen to
the story connecting him, once called Edward Leeford, and Oliver as
half brothers, or to face the police for his crimes. Their father was
once friends with Brownlow. Mr Leeford had fallen in love with
Oliver's mother, Agnes, after Monks' parents had separated. Mr Leeford
had to help a dying friend in Rome, and then died there himself,
leaving Agnes, "his guilty love", in England. Mr Brownlow has a
picture of Agnes and had begun making inquiries when he noticed a
marked resemblance between her and Oliver. Monks had hunted his
brother to destroy him, to gain all in their father's will. Meeting
with Monks and the Bumbles in Oliver's native town, Brownlow asks
Oliver to give half his inheritance to Monks to give him a second
chance; Oliver is more than happy to comply. Monks moves to "the new
world", where he squanders his money, reverts to crime, and dies in
Fagin is arrested, tried and condemned to the gallows. On the
eve of Fagin's hanging, Oliver, accompanied by Mr Brownlow in an
emotional scene, visits
Fagin in Newgate Prison, in hope of retrieving
papers from Monks.
Fagin is lost in a world of his own fear of
On a happier note,
Rose Maylie is the long-lost sister of Agnes, and
thus Oliver's aunt. She marries her sweetheart Harry Maylie, who gives
up his political ambitions to become a parson, drawing all their
friends to settle near them. Oliver lives happily with Mr Brownlow,
who adopts him. Noah becomes a paid, semi-professional police
informer. The Bumbles lose their positions and are reduced to poverty,
ending up in the workhouse themselves. Charley Bates, horrified by
Sikes's murder of Nancy, becomes an honest citizen, moves to the
country, and eventually becomes prosperous.
Oliver Twist – an orphan, mother died at his birth; father is dead
when paternity is revealed.
Mr Bumble – a beadle in the parish workhouse where Oliver was born
Mrs Mann – superintendent where the infant Oliver is placed until
Mr. Sowerberry – an undertaker who took Oliver as apprentice
Mrs Sowerberry – Mr Sowerberry's wife
Noah Claypole – a cowardly bully, Sowerberry's apprentice
Charlotte – the Sowerberrys' maid, lover of Noah
Mr Gamfield – a chimney sweep in the town where Oliver was born
Mr. Brownlow – a kindly gentleman who takes Oliver in, his first
Mr Grimwig – a friend of Mr. Brownlow
Mrs Bedwin – Mr Brownlow's housekeeper
Rose Maylie – Oliver's second benefactor, later found to be his aunt
Mrs Lindsay Maylie – Harry Maylie's mother. Rose Maylie's adoptive
Harry Maylie – Mrs Maylie's son
Mr Losberne – Mrs Maylie's family doctor
Mr Giles – Mrs Maylie's butler
Mr Brittles – Mrs Maylie's handyman
Duff and Blathers – two incompetent policemen
Fagin – fence and boss of a criminal gang of young boys and girls
Bill Sikes – a professional burglar
Bull's Eye – Bill Sikes's vicious dog
Artful Dodger – Fagin's most adept pickpocket
Charley Bates – a pickpocket in Fagin's gang
Toby Crackit – an associate of
Fagin and Sikes, a house-breaker
Nancy – one of Fagin's gang, now living with Bill Sikes
Bet – a girl in Fagin's gang, sometime friend to Nancy
Barney – a Jewish criminal cohort of Fagin
Agnes Fleming – Oliver's mother
Mr Leeford – father of Oliver and Monks
Old Sally – a nurse who attended Oliver's birth
Mrs Corney – matron for the women's workhouse
Monks – a sickly criminal, an associate of Fagin's, and long-lost
half-brother of Oliver
Monks' mother – an heiress who did not love her husband
Mr Fang – a magistrate
Tom Chitling – one of Fagin's gang members, returned from abroad at
the time of the murder
Major themes and symbols
Bill Sikes by Kyd (Joseph Clayton Clarke)
Artful Dodger by Kyd (Joseph Clayton Clarke)
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In Oliver Twist, Dickens mixes grim realism with merciless satire to
describe the effects of industrialism on 19th-century England and to
criticise the harsh new Poor Laws. Oliver, an innocent child, is
trapped in a world where his only options seem to be the workhouse, a
life of crime symbolised by Fagin's gang, a prison, or an early grave.
From this unpromising industrial/institutional setting, however, a
fairy tale also emerges. In the midst of corruption and degradation,
the essentially passive Oliver remains pure-hearted; he steers away
from evil when those around him give in to it, and in proper
fairy-tale fashion, he eventually receives his reward – leaving for
a peaceful life in the country, surrounded by kind friends. On the way
to this happy ending, Dickens explores the kind of life an outcast,
orphan boy could expect to lead in 1830s London.
Poverty and social class
Poverty is a prominent concern in Oliver Twist. Throughout the novel,
Dickens enlarged on this theme, describing slums so decrepit that
whole rows of houses are on the point of ruin. In an early chapter,
Oliver attends a pauper's funeral with
Mr. Sowerberry and sees a whole
family crowded together in one miserable room.
This ubiquitous misery makes Oliver's few encounters with charity and
love more poignant. Oliver owes his life several times over to
kindness both large and small. The apparent plague of poverty that
Dickens describes also conveyed to his middle-class readers how much
London population was stricken with poverty and disease.
Nonetheless, in Oliver Twist, he delivers a somewhat mixed message
about social caste and social injustice. Oliver's illegitimate
workhouse origins place him at the nadir of society; as an orphan
without friends, he is routinely despised. His "sturdy spirit" keeps
him alive despite the torment he must endure. Most of his associates,
however, deserve their place among society's dregs and seem very much
at home in the depths. Noah Claypole, a charity boy like Oliver, is
idle, stupid, and cowardly; Sikes is a thug;
Fagin lives by corrupting
children, and the
Artful Dodger seems born for a life of crime. Many
of the middle-class people Oliver encounters—Mrs. Sowerberry, Mr.
Bumble, and the savagely hypocritical "gentlemen" of the workhouse
board, for example—are, if anything, worse.
On the other hand, Oliver—who has an air of refinement remarkable
for a workhouse boy—proves to be of gentle birth. Although he has
been abused and neglected all his life, he recoils, aghast, at the
idea of victimising anyone else. This apparently hereditary
Oliver Twist something of a changeling tale, not
just an indictment of social injustice. Oliver, born
for better things, struggles to survive in the savage world of the
underclass before finally being rescued by his family and returned to
his proper place—a commodious country house.
One early 21st century film adaptation of the novel dispenses with the
paradox of Oliver's genteel origins by eliminating his origin story
completely, making him just another anonymous orphan like the rest of
Oliver is wounded in a burglary, by George Cruikshank.
Dickens makes considerable use of symbolism. The many symbols Oliver
faces are primarily good versus evil, with evil continually trying to
corrupt and exploit good, but good winning out in the end. The town of
Oliver's birth was
Mudfog in the firsts serialization in Bentley's
Miscellany in 1837, but changed to an unnamed town, a 70-mile walk to
London, when published in book form. The "merry old gentleman" Fagin,
for example, has satanic characteristics: he is a veteran corrupter of
young boys who presides over his own corner of the criminal world; he
makes his first appearance standing over a fire holding a
toasting-fork, and he refuses to pray on the night before his
London slums, too, have a suffocating, infernal
aspect; the dark deeds and dark passions are concretely characterised
by dim rooms and pitch-black nights, while the governing mood of
terror and brutality may be identified with uncommonly cold weather.
In contrast, the countryside where the Maylies take Oliver is a
The novel is also shot through with a related motif, social class,
which calls attention to the stark injustice of Oliver's world. When
the half-starved child dares to ask for more, the men who punish him
are fat. A remarkable number of the novel's characters are overweight.
Toward the end of the novel, the gaze of knowing eyes becomes a potent
symbol. For years,
Fagin avoids daylight, crowds, and open spaces,
concealing himself most of the time in a dark lair. When his luck runs
out at last, he squirms in the "living light" of too many eyes as he
stands in the dock, awaiting sentence. Similarly, after Sikes kills
Nancy at dawn, he flees the bright sunlight in their room, out to the
countryside, but is unable to escape the memory of her dead eyes. In
Charley Bates turns his back on crime when he sees the
murderous cruelty of the man who has been held up to him as a model.
The Last Chance, by George Cruikshank.
In the tradition of
Restoration Comedy and Henry Fielding, Dickens
fits his characters with appropriate names. Oliver himself, though
"badged and ticketed" as a lowly orphan and named according to an
alphabetical system, is, in fact, "all of a twist." However,
Oliver and his name may have been based on a young workhouse boy named
Peter Tolliver whom Dickens knew while growing up. Mr. Grimwig is
so called because his seemingly "grim", pessimistic outlook is
actually a protective cover for his kind, sentimental soul. Other
character names mark their bearers as semi-monstrous caricatures. Mrs.
Mann, who has charge of the infant Oliver, is not the most motherly of
women; Mr. Bumble, despite his impressive sense of his own dignity,
continually mangles the King's English he tries to use; and the
Sowerberries are, of course, "sour berries", a reference to Mrs.
Sowerberry's perpetual scowl, to Mr. Sowerberry's profession as an
undertaker, and to the poor provender Oliver receives from them. Rose
Maylie's name echoes her association with flowers and springtime,
youth and beauty while Toby Crackit's is a reference to his chosen
profession of housebreaking.
Bill Sikes's dog, Bull's-eye, has "faults of temper in common with his
owner" and is an emblem of his owner's character. The dog's
viciousness represents Sikes's animal-like brutality while Sikes's
self-destructiveness is evident in the dog's many scars. The dog, with
its willingness to harm anyone on Sikes's whim, shows the mindless
brutality of the master. Sikes himself senses that the dog is a
reflection of himself and that is why he tries to drown the dog. He is
really trying to run away from who he is. This is
also illustrated when Sikes dies and the dog does immediately
also. After Sikes murders Nancy, Bull's-eye also comes to
represent Sikes's guilt. The dog leaves bloody footprints on the floor
of the room where the murder is committed. Not long after, Sikes
becomes desperate to get rid of the dog, convinced that the dog's
presence will give him away. Yet, just as Sikes cannot shake off his
guilt, he cannot shake off Bull's-eye, who arrives at the house of
Sikes's demise before Sikes himself does. Bull's-eye's name also
conjures up the image of Nancy's eyes, which haunt Sikes until the
bitter end and eventually cause him to hang himself accidentally.
Dickens employs polarised sets of characters to explore various dual
themes throughout the novel;
Mr. Brownlow and Fagin,
for example, personify "good vs. evil". Dickens also juxtaposes
honest, law-abiding characters such as Oliver himself with those who,
like the Artful Dodger, seem more comfortable on the wrong side of the
law. Crime and punishment is another important pair of themes, as is
sin and redemption: Dickens describes criminal acts ranging from
picking pockets to murder, and the characters are punished severely in
the end. Most obviously, he shows
Bill Sikes hounded to death by a mob
for his brutal acts and sends
Fagin to cower in the condemned cell,
sentenced to death by due process. Neither character achieves
redemption; Sikes dies trying to run away from his guilt, and on his
last night alive, the terrified
Fagin refuses to see a rabbi or to
pray, instead asking Oliver to help him escape.
Nancy, by contrast, redeems herself at the cost of her own life and
dies in a prayerful pose. She is one of the few characters in Oliver
Twist to display much ambivalence. Her storyline in the novel strongly
reflects themes of domestic violence and psychological abuse at the
hands of Bill, who ultimately murders her.
Although she is a full-fledged criminal, indoctrinated and trained by
Fagin since childhood, she retains enough empathy to repent her role
in Oliver's kidnapping, and to take steps to try to atone. As one of
Fagin's victims, corrupted but not yet morally dead, she gives
eloquent voice to the horrors of the old man's little criminal empire.
She wants to save Oliver from a similar fate; at the same time, she
recoils from the idea of turning traitor, especially to Bill Sikes,
whom she loves. When he was later criticised for giving a "thieving,
whoring slut of the streets" such an unaccountable reversal of
character, Dickens ascribed her change of heart to "the last fair drop
of water at the bottom of a dried-up, weed-choked well".
Allegations of antisemitism
Fagin § Antisemitism
Dickens has been accused of following antisemitic stereotypes because
of his portrayal of the Jewish character
Fagin in Oliver Twist. Paul
Vallely writes that
Fagin is widely seen as one of the most grotesque
Jews in English literature, and the most vivid of Dickens's 989
characters. Nadia Valdman, who writes about the portrayal of Jews
in literature, argues that Fagin's representation was drawn from the
image of the Jew as inherently evil, that the imagery associated him
with the devil, and with beasts.
The novel refers to
Fagin 257 times in the first 38 chapters as "the
Jew", while the ethnicity or religion of the other characters is
rarely mentioned. In 1854,
The Jewish Chronicle
The Jewish Chronicle asked why "Jews
alone should be excluded from the 'sympathizing heart' of this great
author and powerful friend of the oppressed." Dickens (who had
extensive knowledge of
London street life and child exploitation)
explained that he had made
Fagin Jewish because "it unfortunately was
true, of the time to which the story refers, that that class of
criminal almost invariably was a Jew." Dickens commented that by
Fagin a Jew he had meant no imputation against the Jewish
faith, saying in a letter, "I have no feeling towards the Jews but a
friendly one. I always speak well of them, whether in public or
private, and bear my testimony (as I ought to do) to their perfect
good faith in such transactions as I have ever had with them."
Eliza Davis, whose husband had purchased Dickens's home in 1860 when
he had put it up for sale, wrote to Dickens in protest at his
portrayal of Fagin, arguing that he had "encouraged a vile prejudice
against the despised Hebrew", and that he had done a great wrong to
the Jewish people. While Dickens first reacted defensively upon
receiving Davis's letter, he then halted the printing of Oliver Twist,
and changed the text for the parts of the book that had not been set,
which explains why after the first 38 chapters
Fagin is barely called
"the Jew" at all in the next 179 references to him.
Film, television and theatrical adaptations
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This section is incomplete. (April 2017)
Oliver Twist a classic 1948
David Lean film adaptation starring Sir
Alec Guinness as Fagin.
August Rush is a film, set in the present day, which a few critics
have suggested is essentially a musical adaptation of Oliver
Oliver! is a 1968 British adaptation, winner in the Best Picture
category at the 41st Academy Awards. It is based on the Lionel Bart
Manik is a 1961 Bengali film directed by Bijalibaran Sen which was
based on this novel. The film starred Pahari Sanyal, Chhabi Biswas,
Sombhu Mitra, Tripti Mitra etc.
Oliver & Company is a 1988 Disney full-length animated feature
inspired by the story of Oliver Twist. The story takes place in
modern-day New York City, with Oliver (voiced by Joey Lawrence)
portrayed as an orphaned kitten, the Dodger as a street-wise mongrel
(voiced by Billy Joel), and
Fagin (voiced by Dom Deluise) as a
homeless bum who lives on the docks with his pack of stray dogs that
he trains to steal so he can survive and repay his debt to loan shark
Sykes (voiced by Robert Loggia).
Oliver Twist (1997 film), director: Tony Bill; starring: Richard
Dreyfuss, Elijah Wood.
Oliver Twist (2005 film), director: Roman Polanski; starring: Barney
Clark, Ben Kingsley.
Oliver!, a classic
West End theatre
West End theatre stage musical adaptation by Lionel
Oliver Twist Introduction & Summary". Encyclopedia
Britannica. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
^ Donovan, Frank. The Children of Charles Dickens. London: Leslie
Frewin, 1968, pp. 61–62.
^ Dunn, Richard J. Oliver Twist: Heart and Soul (Twayne's Masterwork
Series No. 118). New York: Macmillan, p. 37.
^ Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist. Kiddy Monster Publication.
^ a b "Oliver and Company". 1988. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
^ Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist, or, The Parish Boy's Progress Edited
by Philip Horne. Penguin Classics, 2003, p. 486.
^ Ackroyd, Peter (1990). Dickens. London: Sinclair-Stevenson.
p. 216. ISBN 1-85619-000-5.
^ Bentley's Miscellany, 1837.
^ Schlicke, Paul (Editor). Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 141.
^ Masterpiece Theater on PBS.org
^ Miller, J. Hillis. "The Dark World of Oliver Twist" in Charles
Dickens (Harold Bloom, editor), New York: Chelsea House Publishers,
1987, p. 35
^ Walder, Dennis, "
Oliver Twist and Charity" in Oliver Twist: a Norton
Critical Edition (Fred Kaplan, Editor). New York: W.W. Norton, 1993,
^ Miller, ibid, p. 48
^ Ashley, Leonard. What's in a name?: Everything you wanted to know.
Genealogical Publishing, 1989, p. 200.
^ Richardson, Ruth. "Dickens and the Workhouse:
Oliver Twist and the
London Poor." Oxford University Press, USA, 2012, p. 56.
^ Donovan, Frank, The Children of Charles Dickens, p. 79.
^ a b c Vallely, Paul (7 October 2005). "Dickens' greatest villain:
The faces of Fagin". independent.co.uk. The Independent. Archived from
the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
^ Valdman, Nadia. Antisemitism, A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice
and Persecution. ISBN 1-85109-439-3
^ Howe, Irving. "
Oliver Twist – introduction".
^ Johnson, Edgar (1 January 1952). "4 – Intimations of Mortality".
Charles Dickens His Tragedy And Triumph. Simon & Schuster Inc.
Retrieved 8 February 2009.
^ Smith, Sid (21 November 2007). "
August Rush (
Oliver Twist reset in
N.Y.) — 2 stars". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original
on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2007. Turn to the master,
Charles Dickens, or better yet, update and recycle him. Such must have
been the thinking behind August Rush, a thinly disguised retelling of
Oliver Twist, transplanted to contemporary New York and sweetened by a
theme of the healing magic of music.
^ Covert, Colin (2007-11-20). "Movie review: Romanticism trumps reason
in Rush". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 10 December
2007. Retrieved 2007-12-15. If
Charles Dickens were alive today, he
might be writing projects like August Rush, the unabashedly
sentimental tale of a plucky orphan lad who falls in with streetwise
urchins as he seeks the family he ought to have. Come to think of it,
Dickens did write that one, and called it Oliver Twist.
^ 1961(Bengali). "Manik". Gomolo. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
^ Souvik Chatterji Master of Law from Warwick University, Coventry,
UK, footnote  (2007). Influence of Bengali Classic Literature in
Bollywood films. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
^ Howe, Desson (18 November 1988). "Oliver & Company". The
Washington Post. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
^ Coveney, Michael (17 March 2017). "Oliver!: The real story of
Britain's greatest musical". The Independent. Retrieved 1 March
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