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Oliver Twist Paperback – Dec 30 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (Dec 30 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486424537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486424538
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.3 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 45 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) is one of the most acclaimed and popular writers of all time. His many works include the classics The Old Curiosity Shop, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, Barnaby Rudge, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Bleak House, Hard Times, Our Mutual Friend, The Pickwick Papers and many more.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Since I was in preschool I knew who Oliver Twist was. First through two cartoon adaptations where his famous "Please sir, I want some more!" became a classical quote always associated with this novel and Charles Dickens, its author. Then came the Wishbone TV series where an episode had trimmed the story to a very simplistic level, keeping the Artful Dodger and a friend as antagonists, while Mr. Brownlow remained Oliver's sole protector. No Fagin, no Bill Sikes, nothing violent. Of those adaptations, I remembered that the Emerald City Productions had used character designs that replicated the costumes of Carol Reed's musical.

Therefore, many versions of Oliver Twist had passed before my eyes, until I decided to set forth with Charles Dickens's original novel. Getting a full and firm grasp of Oliver's Twist's adventures. His departure from that workhouse where he came to birth; then his job as coffin maker until he escaped for a life in London. To make a fortune that would end him up the city's slums, at Mr.Fagin's hands until Mr. Brownlow would rescue him temporarily. Indeed, Fagin, his associate Bill Sykes, and another sinister individual named Monks intend to retrieve Oliver. To introduce him into a life of crime for grave reasons.

On its cover, Oliver Twist is a picaresque story of virtue, where we wonder if the good and pure Oliver will ever be tempted to the dark vices of London. But through its lines, it is a chance for us to witness the terrible class issues between the poor and rich in London, of the prejudices that surround them as the Industrial Revolution takes place within the United Kingdom in the early 1800's.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I needed this book for a school course, and my best option was to purchase it from here. I had no problems with the book itself (ie pages, cover, etc.) and the story is great, too! The original illustrations that are used a great touch to the book. Definitely recommend.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I haven't read Oliver Twist in over 30 years. The last time was when I was in high school and it was an assigned reading. It really is a classic and I can tell you I appreciated it much more this time around. I'm now inspired to go back and read more of the classics.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Starting with Oliver's premature birth to a dying mother looked on by a gin-swilling nurse in a parish workhouse, Dickens tone is extremely satirical. Though his meanings are clear, his craftsmanship with the English language is in rare form in the beginning of Oliver Twist. The "distinguished and enlightened gentlemen" who's reform policies for the workhouse are raked over the coals in glowing language represent an unusual type of Dickens character for me. Usually even Dicken's villains are multi-faceted characters whose motives we understand though disapprove of. Here, the Directors of the parish who eventually pay to get rid of Oliver, are difficult to conceive of. The hardships of the workhouse inmates, more especially what seems like intentional starvation, seem hard to believe though as I read this book, the death of a foster child in New Jersey from starvation brought to light many things going on in twenty-first century reality which had seemed implausible in this nineteenth century novel. The satirical language is often humorous though the subject matter is not and makes the account more palatable. The first of the book is spent in this way which seems really to be more of Dicken's social commentary than pure story line.
In true Dickens style, each of the characters Oliver meets throughout the story are part of a larger, more elaborate plot line that the story is ever trying to unfold. After being apprenticed to the coffinmaker Mr. Sowerberry, he is taunted by the charity boy - Noah Claypole - until he makes a break for London. Accidentally falling into the clutches of local fence Fagin whose aim it is to turn him to a life of crime, Oliver struggles to break free with the help of various good hearted people he befriends along the way despite his situation.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The creative novel Oliver Twist, written by Charles Dickens in 1838, defines a classic of all times. This intense story reflects a young boy's life in London with no family or place to go. Oliver's mother dies while giving birth to her son in the beginning of the book. Oliver's father remains unknown. Throughout the book the reader sees constant struggles. Oliver is befriended by Fagin and his company. Fagin, along with the Artful Dodger, invite Oliver to stay with them and become a thief. During one of Oliver's pick pocketing adventures; he is caught by Mr. Brownlow. Instead of reprimanding the young lad, Mr. Brownlow decides to raise him. Oliver desperately searches for the answer to his past while trying to stay alive on the streets of London. Ironically, Mr. Brownlow is Oliver's grandfather. A dominate theme of Oliver Twist examines the importance of family. Oliver's early years taught him to fend for himself and he suffers from never experiencing a loving and nurturing childhood. The setting of the book plays a powerful role as the story unfolds. Dickens describes the setting of London and all the places that Oliver stays very descriptively. "The street was very narrow and muddy, and the air was impregnated with filthy odor. The walls and ceiling of the room were perfectly black with age and dirt..." (page. 56). Dickens explains the facilities that were available to poor Oliver and makes them sound unbearable. He does an excellent job making the setting come alive and allows the reader to plight. I would recommend all readers at some point in life to delve into this classic. I found Oliver Twist very moving and towards the end hoping only the best for poor Oliver.
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