Oliver is an orphan living on the dangerous London streets with no one but himself to rely on. Fleeing from poverty and hardship, he falls in with a criminal street gang who will not let him go, however hard he tries to escape. In Oliver Twist, Dickens graphically conjures up the capital's underworld, full of prostitutes, thieves and lost and homeless children, and gives a voice to the disadvantaged and abused.
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An unforgettable journey into criminal behaviour that takes me back to my own childhood fantasies -
The power of [Dickens] is so amazing, that the reader at once becomes his captive -
Dickens is huge - like the sky. Pick any page of Dickens and it's immediately recognizable as him, yet he might be doing social satire, or farce, or horror, or a psychological study of a murderer - or any combination of these -
The image of little Oliver Twist victimised by poverty, almost seduced by the specious excitement of crime, and then offered the possibility of a lucrative career in authorship is always compelling - Guardian
We leave him most reluctantly, and so will every reader who has any capacity to see and feel whatsoever is most loveable, hateful, or laughable, in the character of the everyday life about him - Examiner
Dickens has genius to vivify his observation - Spectator
He deals truly with human nature, which never can degrade; he takes up everything, good, bad, or indifferent, which he works up into a rich alluvial deposit.He is natural, and that never can be ridiculous - Quarterly Review
Charles Dickens was born on 7 February 1812 in Landport in Portsmouth. His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office who often ended up in financial trouble. When Dickens was twelve years' old he was sent to work in a shoe polish factory because his father had been imprisoned for debt.In 1833 he began to publish short stories and essays in newspapers and magazines. The Pickwick Papers, his first commercial success, was published in 1836, the same year that he married Catherine Hogarth. The serialisation of Oliver Twist began in 1837 while The Pickwick Papers was still running. Many other novels followed and Dickens became a celebrity in America as well as Britain. He also set up and edited the journals Household Words (1850-9) and All the Year Round (1859-70). Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870 leaving his last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.