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Oliver Twist / by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist was "ok."  I have to be honest, given that I've heard how much flak Dickens received for his portrayal of the poor classes in Victorian England, I was expecting a much darker and less hopeful story.  Maybe something more along the lines of what this would have been if it had been written by a Russian during the same time period.  There was a little too much light in this story, and I'm just not sure that there really would have been that much hope for a little orphan in Victorian London.  

 

I also became a little weary of the length of this story.  At the same time I was reading it, however, I took a tour of my library's Special Collections collection, and learned that we have the original serializations of Dickens' stories.  The librarian informed us that because Dickens had to meet a certain length when the magazines ran his stories, he tended toward the wordy, often began story lines that didn't go anywhere, and ended up with characters whose names would change as the story progressed.  When I learned all of this, I began to read Oliver Twist differently.  I viewed it more as a bunch of serializations that were put into novel form, and that made the whole book have a different feel for me.  I became less annoyed by the length of the story, and more impressed with the responsibility Dickens must have felt to meet the length requirements, and to keep the reader interested enough to come back to read the next installment in a later issue.  With this in mind, Oliver Twist became more than just a story for me.  It also became a study in the issues authors faced when getting their stories published in the Victorian era, and that kept me interested.