Oliver Twist Criticism

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In Dickens and His Readers: Aspects of Novel Criticism Since 1836, George H. Ford quoted George Borrow, who wrote in 1838 that "Everybody was in raptures over a certain Oliver Twist that had just come out." Readers of the time, far from being dismayed by the dark quality of the book, loved it. An exception was Thackeray, who mocked Dickens's portrayal of Nancy, saying she was sentimentally and unrealistically presented. Dickens was so upset by this comment that he wrote an angry reply to Thackeray in the preface to the book, according to Ford. Ford also noted that although most readers loved the book, some were indeed alienated: "the kind of reader who cannot bear to be ruffled by violent emotions."

Some of these readers were critics who were dismayed by its presentation of criminals, workhouse inmates, and illegitimacy. According to Ford, Henry Fox wrote that the book was "painful...

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This section contains 726 words
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Buy the Oliver Twist Study Guide
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Oliver Twist from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.