Born to unknown parents, Oliver Twist is forced as a small child to labor in a workhouse under the inhuman conditions that were common in Britain in the mid-nineteenth century. In desperation the boy runs away and is taken in by a disreputable bunch of thieves that includes the burglar, Bill Sikes; Bill's mistress, Nancy; "the Artful Dodger"; and the ringleader, Fagin. Oliver's experiences with this wicked gang, and the kind treatment he receives later from a woman named Rose, are at the heart of this story of the clash between childhood innocence and the dark criminal underworld. |
This new edition is based on the serialized text of the novel, allowing readers to experience the story as its first readers did-not as a polished novel for a family audience, but as the dramatically improvised work of a young man discovering his possibilities as a writer.