Cover image for Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist
Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870.
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, Md. : Recorded Books, [1987]

Physical Description:
14 audio discs : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:

Compact disc.
Added Author:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


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FICTION CD Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

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Author Notes

Charles Dickens, perhaps the best British novelist of the Victorian era, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England on February 7, 1812. His happy early childhood was interrupted when his father was sent to debtors' prison, and young Dickens had to go to work in a factory at age twelve. Later, he took jobs as an office boy and journalist before publishing essays and stories in the 1830s.

His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, made him a famous and popular author at the age of twenty-five. Subsequent works were published serially in periodicals and cemented his reputation as a master of colorful characterization, and as a harsh critic of social evils and corrupt institutions. His many books include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities.

Dickens married Catherine Hogarth in 1836, and the couple had nine children before separating in 1858 when he began a long affair with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. Despite the scandal, Dickens remained a public figure, appearing often to read his fiction. He died in 1870, leaving his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Dickens is a popular author among those reframing classic stories as graphic novels, and Oliver Twist has been adapted by a variety of American cartoonists in the past 50 years. In this French team's hands, however, we are treated to a much fuller version of Dickens' original, fully exploring the role of Oliver's half brother and the power play between Bill Sykes and Fagin. (The French edition, intended for children and students, appeared across five volumes, all of which are bound together in this Classics Illustrated Deluxe edition.) The full-color cartoon images show the literal warts of the bad guys, incorporate such Victorian idiomatic reflections of class as Fagin's pickle of a nose and Mr. Brownlow's lush facial hair, and the high energy of the numerous boys in the story. Variously sized panels shaped to facilitate the narrative flow communicate to the reader the states of mind of the characters. An excellent addition to any classics-adaptation shelf.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The inimitable Martin Jarvis brings his talents to bear on Charles Dickens's classic in an audiobook that will delight listeners with its superb recreations of gritty 19th-century London. To escape Mr. Bumble and life in the workhouse, Oliver flees to London where he meets the Artful Dodger and becomes embroiled with Fagin's ragtag band of thieves. Jarvis simply dazzles: his performance captures both the humor and sorrow of the text, his narration is crisp, and his characterizations-his rendition of the terrifying district magistrate, Mr. Fang, is particularly memorable-are as varied as they are energetic, befitting, and enjoyable. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is one of Dickens's earliest and most famous novels, and there is no question of its importance to any literature collection. The adventures of orphan Oliver amidst a gang of pickpockets, and the indelible picture painted of the seamier side of London life, are an inextricable part of how we view Victorian England. But given the highly charged nature of Dickens's prose, and the huge cast of extraordinary characters who populate his world, the ability of a narrator to render this energetic novel with all the imagination and skill that it deserves becomes crucial in the decision of whether to purchase the program. Martin Jarvis, an accomplished British actor who is best known for his pivotal role in The Forsyte Saga, has devoted much of his time to audio recording, for which he has won a British Talkies Award. As this superb program demonstrates, Jarvis's high standing is well earned. Dickens himself, who performed his own work as often and as well as any writer of his day, would undoubtedly have applauded and so will any listener. Highly recommended.Peter Josyph, New York(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-This graphic adaptation of the classic retains the excitement of Oliver's captures, escapes, rescues, and eventual salvation. Malam has kept some of Dickens's original dialogue, suitably explained in footnotes, so that the work does preserve some of its flavor. Each page features up to nine small illustrations in a fairly dim palette with browns and grays dominating. The panels feature captions underneath that tell the story along with dialogue and thought balloons, but speaking characters do not always have open mouths. The art is curiously static for a story filled with fleeing and fighting. The book opens with a page of characters that helps readers keep track of them. The work concludes with brief information on Dickens, some early criticism of the original story, notes on stage and screen productions, and a few pages on London's poor during Oliver's day that help to put the story into context. Will Eisner's Fagin the Jew (Doubleday, 2003) retells Oliver's story within Fagin's own and is for somewhat older audiences. Though not as appealing as one might hope for a graphic adaptation, Oliver is a suitable alternative for kids who want some visuals with their texts.-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter I Treats of the place where Oliver Twist was Born; and of the Circumstances attending his Birth. Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born: on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events: the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter. For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and trouble, by the parish surgeon, it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child would survive to bear any name at all; in which case it is somewhat more than probable that these memoirs would never have appeared; or, if they had, that being comprised within a couple of pages, they would have possessed the inestimable merit of being the most concise and faithful specimen of biography, extant in the literature of any age or country. Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a workhouse, is in itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance that can possibly befal a human being, I do mean to say that in this particular instance, it was the best thing for Oliver Twist that could by possibility have occurred. The fact is, that there was considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to take upon himself the office of respiration,-a troublesome practice, but one which custom has rendered necessary to our easy existence; and for some time he lay gasping on a little flock mattress, rather unequally poised between this world and the next: the balance being decidedly in favour of the latter. Now, if, during this brief period, Oliver had been surrounded by careful grandmothers, anxious aunts, experienced nurses, and doctors of profound wisdom, he would most inevitably and indubitably have been killed in no time. There being nobody by, however, but a pauper old woman, who was rendered rather misty by an unwonted allowance of beer; and a parish surgeon who did such matters by contract; Oliver and Nature fought out the point between them. The result was, that, after a few struggles, Oliver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise to the inmates of the workhouse the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could reasonably have been expected from a male infant who had not been possessed of that very useful appendage, a voice, for a much longer space of time than three minutes and a quarter. As Oliver gave this first proof of the free and proper action of his lungs, the patchwork coverlet which was carelessly flung over the iron bedstead, rustled; the pale face of a young woman was raised feebly from the pillow; and a faint voice imperfectly articulated the words, "Let me see the child, and die." The surgeon had been sitting with his face turned towards the fire: giving the palms of his hands, a warm and a rub alternately. As the young woman spoke, he rose, and advancing to the bed's head, said, with more kindness than might have been expected of him: "Oh, you must not talk about dying yet." "Lor bless her dear heart, no!" interposed the nurse, hastily depositing in her pocket a green glass bottle, the contents of which she had been tasting in a corner with evident satisfaction. "Lor bless her dear heart, when she has lived as long as I have, sir, and had thirteen children of her own, and all on 'em dead except two, and them in the wurkus with me, she'll know better than to take on in that way, bless her dear heart! Think what it is to be a mother, there's a dear young lamb, do." Apparently this consolatory perspective of a mother's prospects, failed in producing its due effect. The patient shook her head, and stretched out her hand towards the child. The surgeon deposited it in her arms. She imprinted her cold white lips passionately on its forehead; passed her hands over her face; gazed wildly round; shuddered; fell back-and died. They chafed her breast, hands, and temples; but the blood had stopped for ever. They talked of hope and comfort. They had been strangers too long. "It's all over, Mrs. Thingummy!" said the surgeon at last. "Ah, poor dear, so it is!" said the nurse, picking up the cork of the green bottle which had fallen out on the pillow as she stooped to take up the child. "Poor dear!" "You needn't mind sending up to me, if the child cries, nurse," said the surgeon, putting on his gloves with great deliberation. "It's very likely it will be troublesome. Give it a little gruel7 if it is." He put on his hat, and, pausing by the bed-side on his way to the door, added "She was a good-looking girl, too; where did she come from?" "She was brought here last night," replied the old woman, "by the overseer's order. She was found lying in the street. She had walked some distance, for her shoes were worn to pieces; but where she came from, or where she was going to, nobody knows." Excerpted from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.