Oliver Twist Essay

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In a preface to Oliver (written in 1841) Dickens spoke at length of its second purpose, and defended himself against critics who had objected to his dealing with the lives of pickpockets and burglars. His aim, he tells us, was to discredit a school of fiction then popular, which glorified the thief in the guise of a gallant highwayman; the real thief, he declared, he had nowhere found portrayed, save in Hogarth, and his own intention was to show the real creature, vile and miserable, "for ever skulking uneasily through the dirtiest paths of life." From the category of evil examples in fiction of the day, he excepts "Sir Edward Bulwer's admirable and powerful novel of Paul Clifford," having for that author a singular weakness not easily explained. His own scenes lie in "the cold, wet, shelterless midnight streets of London," in "foul and frowsy dens," in "haunts of...

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This section contains 933 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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.