Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fagin the Jew” as Want to Read:
Fagin the Jew
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Fagin the Jew

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  349 ratings  ·  51 reviews
From his early newspaper comics to the sophisticated graphic novels he produces today, Will Eisner has been a pioneering force in comics for more than sixty years. Ron Goulart, writing in Book World, declared, “A shrewd, thoughtful man, Eisner has always had a knack for deftly combining dialogue and images to tell his story,” and fellow graphic novelist Alan Moore simply s ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 16th 2003 by Doubleday (first published 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fagin the Jew, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Fagin the Jew

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 513)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Eisner's stated purpose with this graphic novel is to create a "more truthful stereotype" in his rendering of Fagin than Dickens and the illustrator Cruikshank did in Oliver Twist.

He gives Fagin a backstory and posits him as one of the Ashkenazim (Jews of Middle Europe) that came to London after the more educated Sephardim (those from Portugal and Spain) had arrived. I appreciated the history; it's just a shame Eisner's story isn't more interesting, and the middle is simply a rehash of the plot
Ian Wood
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-
Essentially fanfic that tries to correct some of the blatantly anti-Semitic stereotyping in Dickens.

This is my third Eisner (after this and this), and I think I like this one least so far. The writing risks teetering into heavy-handedness a few times, and I found the pacing a bit whirlwind. We follow Moses Fagin - who would become the infamous "Fagin the Jew" of Oliver Twist - from his birth, through various misfortunes, until he gets to his present position. It's incredibly interesting from th
I appreciated the forward and afterword written by the author more than the actual work though I'm not saying I disliked the work itself. I appreciate the point Eisner is making about the treatment of Jewish characters in the media and I really appreciate his own acknowledgment of stereotypes in his own early work that he attempted to correct when he became aware of them. This is the first thing I've read by Eisner and I do want to experience more of his work. Though I don't know much about his ...more
English Education
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Much as I've always loved Eisner, I wasn't pre-sold on this graphic novel. The idea of an elderly cartoonist grappling with antisemitism via literary revisionism in the context of his own longstanding liberal guilt suggested the possibility that the story might get bogged down in good but fraught intentions.

Well, I needn't have worried. With his usual effortless storytelling, Eisner had created yet another compulsive page-turner, a fascinating reimagining of Dickens's classic OLIVER TWIST focuss
Mimi Wolske
Dickens himself was quoted on how he came up with the depiction of Fagin: "It unfortunately was true, of the time to which the story refers, that the class of criminal almost invariably was a Jew.

I'm about 10+ years late in reading "Fagin the Jew", but I'm glad I finally did.

Let me begin where many books begin... Eisner's novel includes a foreword that explains probable historical antecedents of the tale and dares to explain how they related to Dickens' portray of Jews.

"Fagin the Jew" finds the
Artur Coelho
Desgostoso com a abundância de estereótipos raciais nos comics (aos quais a sua própria obra não é estranha) Will Eisner revisita a mais clássica das obras de Dickens sob o ponto de vista de um dos seus mais tenebrosos personagens. É um curioso virar do jogo. Eisner aplica a técnica usada por Dickens para sublinhas as extremas injustiças sociais da Inglaterra do século XIX com o propósito de demonstrar o o anti-semitismo como racismo absurdo. No caminho resume muito bem o clássico Oliver Twist, ...more
This is Will Eisner’s graphic retelling of Oliver Twist from Fagin’s point of view… literally: Eisner’s structure is to frame the story around an imagined cellblock visit of Charles Dickens on Moses Fagin, with Fagin calling the author to account for a portrayal that has more to do with prevailing, class-based British antisemitism than unique character-based history (as is noted here and has been elsewhere addressed, Dickens uses the word “Jew” as Fagin’s descriptor 257 times in the first 38 cha ...more
Salvatore Pulvirenti
Oliver Twist visto da un altro punto di vista.
Stavolta Eisner non inventa, bens�� reinventa un classico della letteratura di Dickens. A spingerlo �� una distorsione storica dell'ebraismo che vuole in qualche modo sconfiggere.
E' chiaro che, date le sue origini, la spinta nasce da qualcosa che ha nel sangue. Ma in fondo chiunque di noi appartiene a quella che la Storia classifica come "minoranza" in qualcosa. E lo spunto di questo fumetto �� un punto a favore di qualsiasi "minoranza".

I personaggi
In an attempt to understand his own use of racial stereotypes and the long standing stereotypes of Jewish people in graphic art, Will Eisner retells Oliver Twist from the perspective of Fagin - beginning with his family's emigration to England following the pogroms of the early 19th century and ending with his death at the gallows.

Eisner calls out Dickens, literally. The shadowy back of Dickens as listener appears throughout the work. Eisner does place blame on Dickens for creating an insidious
Great book! One of the more disturbing things in literature is lack of humanized ethnic characters. Eister does a good job of giving us a believable backstory for one of the more egregiously negative portrayals of a Jewish character. When Fagin meets Oliver, the story tracks along with Dickens' version of things exactly. Well done.
Tara Hughes
This was a really interesting take on Dicken's character, Fagin. I especially appreciated how Eisner points out how stereotypes really plagued Eastern European Jewish immigrants and made it practically impossible for them to survive, let alone thrive.
A really interesting retelling of Oliver Twist with an aim to retell the character of Fagin. Due to the power of Dickens, the stereotype of Fagin in Oliver Twist furthered a particularly negative stereotype of Jewishness in popular culture. Dickens himself attempted a rewrite years later to reduce this negativity and tried in later years to support the acceptance and assimilation of Jews in society, but Fagin still existed as a powerful, devilish character. Eisner gives Fagin a sympathetic back ...more
Paulo Tiago Muliterno
Not Eisner's most brilliant work, although it is, surely, beautifully drawn and its connection with Charles Dickens's "Oliver Twist" makes it at least remarkable.

However, its almost apologetic tone (Eisner's preface pretty much announces it) gets to be annoying at times, especially in the very ending, after Fagin's fate is shown. The epilogue feels misplaced, as if the reader needs some sort of comforting reassurance.

Yet, being an Eisner work, it surely has more brains and style than most books
Eisner's goal here is to essentially tell the "true" story about Fagin from Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist novel. Mostly the story deals with all the anti-semitism that led to Fagin's "career" choice, making him a much more tragic character. Fagin even pleads with Dickens himself to be more sympathetic in his portrayal.

As usual, Eisner's art is great. This isn't entirely a graphic novel per se, since there is a lot of text still. It's more like an illustrated textbook in some sequences. If you ar
I liked it. It was nice to see a character humanized. I'm still not reading Oliver Twist, though.
This graphic novel by comics legend Will Eisner is an extrapolation from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and provides a plausible back story for the character of Fagin. It does a good job with the task; though, obviously, some familiarity with the story presented in Oliver Twist is needed. Also it does a very good job of presenting the social history of the time, explaining the difference between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews and their respective place as minorities in Britain, and explaining the s ...more
DJ Dycus
Will Eisner is trying to redeem an anti-semitic portrayal of a character from Oliver Twist--I can appreciate that. He is giving the character depth, complexity, and a greater degree of humanity. All of that is creative and interesting.

However, I just didn't like this book. Maybe it's Dickens' fault because I just don't care much for his work. My main objection is the pacing of the story, which very well might be characteristic of Dickens. And I know that Eisner is a master, a legend, in the fiel
Jan 02, 2008 Lauren rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Oliver Twist
Shelves: graphic_novels
At first I was worried that I wouldn't be able to really get into this book. The entire story is created in sepia-toned illustrations and I thought it would fail to entertain. Thankfully, I was wrong. It's been ages since I've watched or read Oliver Twist, but that really didn't matter. This is the story of the king of the pickpockets from his childhood to his death. Not only a biography, but Eisner's personal commentary on his disgust for the stereotypical depictions of Jews in past works of li ...more
A terrific book, chock full of research into the historical circumstances of Jews in London during the time of Oliver Twist, showing the circumstances that might've led to a man becoming the villainous "Fagin the Jew" of Dickens' novel.

Eisner does run somewhat out of steam when he attempts to retell the novel from Fagin's perspective - nothing in Dickens' text indicates any sympathy on Fagin's part, and the excessive compression of Dickens' narrative doesn't let the reader fully immerse in the e
This is a really well done re-telling of the "Oliver Twist" character Fagin... but stripped of derogatory English stereotypes about jews. Eisner practically invokes Dickens and makes him have a sit down with Fagin so that Fagin can explain to him the life a Jewish person living on the streets in that time period in London.
The first thing he does is to visually re-construct Fagin from Sephardi to Ashkenazi, as was more likely for a street or peasant Jew in London at that time.

The rest you can re
Emilia P
Yeah, what the other reviewers said. It's kinda good, but it's too overt and heavy-handed to be truly winning. But it's interesting, makes you realize what a total twerp Oliver Twist was, how convoluted the O.T. story was (I think that carries over to the convolutedness of this story), and makes you go urghhhh now I have Food, Glorious Food stuck in my head. Yeah, racist cariactures are a part of literature, this is a fairly decent enriching of one, but Eisner does much better in his own world.
I know it's probably sacrilege to say so, but I realized while reading this that I just don't like Eisner's art very much at all. I guess it's just the style I don't like; everyone, even the "beautiful" women, looked very ugly to me, and I guess the style was just generally more cartoony than I usually like. I think I also tend to like more angular forms, and all of Eisner's forms are quite rounded. The story was good, though, and the foreword and afterword were also very interesting.
I love Eisner--his art, his storytelling.
Simply put: Eisner runs a counter-narrative to Dickens's story. An interesting one that has Fagin touring the highs and lows of Jewish society in early 19th century England and the colonies.
This book could be the final straw in my tackling the text of "Oliver Twist"--esp. after being traumatized by the musical. Now I can be traumatized by it's anti-semitism!
Great illustrations, but not so great details. The story seemed more speech than action, which is excpected in a graphic novel, but it could use a huge amount of detail. And, certain pages had, well..., I'll say interesting scenes. Aside from this, it was great to see the Oliver Twist story retold from a different perspective, and to get more backround info. on a character.
Sort of a bittersweet story. Eisner, feeling guilty for his stereotyping in the portrayal of The Spirit's black sidekick (way back when he wrote/drew the series--1940s and 1950s), created a backstory for Fagin from Dicken's Oliver Twist. A compelling story, though didactic and the pace was too fast. But it's Will I can't be critical. :-)
Another graphic novel. It lacks the power of Maus or the perceptiveness of Persepolis but it cleverly provides a background story to the challenges experienced by Jewish émigrés to the UK. It particularly draws attention to the advantage secured early by the Sephardim and the under class status of the Ashkenazy Jews who fled the Eastern European pogroms.
Eisner tells the story of Fagin, from Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist", challenging Dickens' portrayal on historic grounds and bringing to life a character whom Dickens later felt he had unjustly portrayed. The book features Eisner's excellent soft, fluid illustrations, a narrative that fits nicely into the story's flow, and good dialog.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Clan Apis
  • Rawhead Rex
  • Daredevil: Love and War
  • L'Incal noir
  • 30 Days of Night, Vol. 6: Spreading the Disease
  • Lovecraft
  • 30 Days of Night, Vol. 7: Eben and Stella
  • Moebius 2: Arzach & Other Fantasy Stories (The Collected Fantasies of Jean Giraud, #2)
  • The Mozart Question
  • 30 Days of Night, Vol. 8: Red Snow
  • The Quitter
  • Why I Hate Saturn
  • The Drowned
  • Stuck Rubber Baby
  • Smax
  • Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned
  • Only the End of the World Again
WILL EISNER was born on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York. By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, Will Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of sequential art, a term he coined.

In a career that spanned nearly eight decades -- from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics - Will Eisner was truly the 'Father of the Graphic Novel' and the 'O
More about Will Eisner...
A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories Comics and Sequential Art The Contract With God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative Will Eisner's New York: Life in the Big City

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »