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Oliver Twist
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Old Monthly Group Reads > Oliver Twist By Charles Dickens

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message 1: by Nicolle (new) - added it

Nicolle Starting tomorrow.


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments Yeah it is already tomorrow in the UK!

We move on to Oliver Twist!

I am half way through the story.

First time reading Dickens. The world he lives in is utter misery.

Scrooge the Musical?

I don't think it possible to capture the type of bleakness the author intended in a movie.




Kenneth White This will be a reread for me but I will be reading along. It is among my all time favorites!


Valerie | 17 comments I just started yesterday. Poor, poor Oliver! People were so heartless!


message 5: by Hannah (new) - added it

Hannah | 39 comments Just about to start and very much looking forward to it! This will also be my first time reading Dickens - my previous experience extends as far as watching The Muppet Christmas Carol (if that even counts).


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063385/

Oliver looks happy in the above movie.

Would Dickens be disturbed by the changes in the adaptation of his book to this movie?


Kenneth White Hannah enjoy! Dickens is absolutely awesome!


Kenneth White Joseph... Probably.... LOL


message 9: by Anca (new)

Anca Lumei (ancalumei) I've started to read (actually listen to) it today and made it to chapter 4. I had read Oliver Twist once before in my early teens and I had been left with a negative feeling about it which made me avoid re-reading it for years. So I'm surprised that I really like it so far with all the grimness of the setting and the dark humor of the narrator. It looks like I have to give other novels by Dickens a chance because it turns out I like his style.

Also, it made me curious to find out how life was in that period. Was Dickens exaggerating or was life really that bad for orphans in Victorian England?


message 10: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Garner (jdgarner68) | 82 comments Reread this one about a year ago; Dickens is one of my top 3 classical authors. I'll be sitting out this one, but viewing the comments.


Jonathan Terrington (thewritestuff) It's really interesting that the group chose this to be their novel because after a while of not interacting with the group it just so happens I've been wanting to read more Dickens thanks to having been working with a school production of 'Oliver'.


swwords (-sww) | 18 comments I've also started listening to this.

Never having read Dickens before I was always under the impression that his style was serious but a few chapters in and I am pleasantly surprised by the subtle humour.


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments I wanted to read Dickens' Cricket on the Heart.


(I would think a cricket walking on someone's heart would cause palpitations?)




Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments The Victorian English slang took a bit of abstract thinking to make sense of.

Finished last night.




Kenneth White My Easton Press edition of Oliver Twist arrived in the mail today! Now I can start. :)


message 16: by Hannah (new) - added it

Hannah | 39 comments Oh my Kenneth, just looked up Easton Press for curiosity's sake. They are beautiful! As a poor student I'm more concerned with quantity than quality generally speaking but there are a couple of favourites that I would love to get in a nice edition. Alas, I can't seem to find anywhere to buy them from without ordering from the US. If you don't mind me asking, where do you purchase yours from? Maybe they're not available in the UK.

Haven't started yet either. Got about 50 pages each for Frankenstein and Sense & Sensibility and then I can begin. If I'm lucky that'll be tomorrow.


Kenneth White I buy direct from Easton Press though I think you can probably get them used through Amazon or eBay or sites like that if you want to take the chance. I figure if I'm going to get a nice leather bound and gold leafed edition, I'm buying it new. I do not want to take the chance of fingerprints or bent pages, etc. on an edition like that.


message 18: by Hannah (new) - added it

Hannah | 39 comments Think I will have to investigate their international delivery or maybe look for another company that does similar bindings. Thanks for the info, much appreciated!


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments Instead of Oliver's noble heart being unchanged by all the wrong done to him,

Say he become a 'printence with a heartless tinker who continues to overwork, underfeed and mistreat him.

(Eventually Oliver develops a fondness for the taste of human skin)

Oliver, while in the tinkers shop constructs a steam driven chain saw for the purpose of hacking apart Mr Bumble. Preceeding to do so severs his limbs from his screaming body, spraying blood across the white winter snow.

The rest of the paupers follow Olivers example and ask for more gruel eventually demanding it. They attack and kill all that stand in their way.

The magistrate demands an explanation of what went wrong in the workhouse. The head of the workhouse is interrogated and found completely responsible then sent to prison. "Oliver being in a position of control, is a prime candidate to become the new head of the workhouse." Oliver is granted a pardon by the magistrate.

He gains peace of mind by treating his fellow paupers fairly as he would have desired himself to be treated. (And They are served two helpings of gruel a day.)




Kenneth White Joseph?...... Stephen King's foray into Victorian England?..... LOL


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments My version would have been more fun to watch yet less likely to lead to the social reform that the Dickens version inspired.


Kenneth White Tougher to turn into a musical though! LOL!!


Dinou R | 5 comments I've just started it today; I remember having read an abridged version back when I was a child: that was really abridged! No one should give this book to read to a child! I love the tongue in the cheek kind of humour of this book.


message 24: by Valerie (last edited Sep 06, 2013 09:32AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Valerie | 17 comments Joseph: (Eventually Oliver develops a fondness for the taste of human skin)

Oliver, while in the tinkers shop constructs a steam driven chain saw for the purpose of hacking apart Mr Bumble. Preceeding to do so severs his limbs from his screaming body, spraying blood across the white winter snow


Very good, maybe you should write a horror story!!

It was so horrible what Oliver and orphans went through. Really you should write a horror story "Oliver Fights Back!"


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments We live in a world where everything gets rewritten and exploited. Why not Dickens.


Why not by me?


"Oliver Twisted?"




Chatterjak 'Oliver twisted', I love it! Go for it sir! Horror is probably a more apt remake than the 'jolly' musicals that exist (although I will happily confess to having enjoyed watching them!) considering the actual horror of the deprivations suffered in the novel!
Anca asked if was really so awful for orphans in Victorian times. I'm no expert, but from what I know of social history Anca, I think the answer would be an overwhelming yes - and possibly even worse! Truly appalling social conditions for the poor - both in work and domestic terms. Workhouses cast a long shadow of fear over the poor. My Grandma is 93, and has vividly described the fear of the workhouse to me - always what she (& her contemporaries) was threatened with if she ever 'got herself into trouble' as a young girl, and that was long past Vicorian times! They all lived in fear of it, some former workhouses have been turned into museums now & are very interesting to visit if you like social history.
The reality is sadly even more heart breaking than the fictions, as in so many instances. Last year I read 'Call the Midwife' by Jennifer Worth, she was a community Midwife in the East end of London in the 1950's & its her memoir of her experiences during that time. One of the stories she tells is of a woman who had been in a workhouse, it's absolutely tragic & left me in floods of tears (despite that its actually not all depressing & i very highly recommend it as a fascinating read!). She also wrote book:Shadows Of The Workhouse|3925836] which I haven't read yet but do plan to - perhaps after Oliver Twist! Sorry if I've gone a little off-topic there!


message 27: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 07, 2013 04:22AM) (new)

I can't read Mr Bumble without imagining it in the late, great, Harry Sercombe's voice and adding a GoonShow-esque raspberry noise onto the end......


message 28: by Joseph “Millennium Man” (last edited Sep 10, 2013 05:15PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants

I read the above book. The gloomy world of Dickens was a good follow up.


Letting the world know of the misery that was taking place is more profound than the story itself.

The elements of the story fell together like clockwork spoiler: (view spoiler)




Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments Maggie A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane

Began reading Stephen Crane.




Chatterjak So how is everyone getting on with Mr Twist? I'm on chapter 14, fair to say I'm really enjoying it so far (but then I do seem to enjoy misery in novels... anyone else?!) & it's an easier read than I'd anticipated. That said, I'm still struggling with the odd phrase or two:

'“Toor rul lol loo, gammon and spinnage, the frog he wouldn't, and high cockolorum,' said the Dodger: with a slight sneer on his intellectual countenance.”

I can translate most of them but that stumped me! Think that was chapter 13. I was also a bit surprised by the little introductions to each chapter - perhaps this is my inexperience of reading classics showing through - is this a common feature? I was intrigued my the use of 'treats' in many if them. Can anyone help educate me?!


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments Shouldn't that be Master Twist?

Even the characters in the story themselves were asking - Fagen - for example and some of the others adult characters to talk in a way they could understand wats dey wer sayn [instead of using slang.]


Dinou R | 5 comments @Chatterjack: I seem to recall from my high school days that it was common for many authors (that we nowadays call Classics) to publish what we know as "a book" as serials in the newspapers; maybe they really were introductions.


Chatterjak @ Joseph, ah yes, Master Twist indeed, I stand corrected sir ;)

Yes, I suppose we still struggle in the modern world with accents/dialect and slang at times ... I love the rich variety of accents we have, I wonder how much they will dwindle in the future with more globalisation & the effects of multimedia being so accessible.

@ Dinou, aha, I think you have it there, I'd overlooked the fact that most of his work was published as serialisations, thanks for that :)


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments Master Twist, Yes - now there was a character, a young pick-pocket with the last name of "Bates..."


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments Anyone recall Mr. Bates?


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments @above I suppose if you were an author getting your work published in a newspaper you would wield a lot of influence among the general public.


swwords (-sww) | 18 comments I finished listening to this yesterday.
Oh no, that bit where Oliver is taken in by Mr Brownlow; so you thought things will be better for him now. But then, he's sent on an errand and snatched by Fagin and gang ... unlucky!!!!

All the way through I was on the edge of my seat hoping things would turn out right for Oliver - a fantastic read, great choice, thanks.


Chatterjak Joseph (Millennium Man) wrote: "Anyone recall Mr. Bates?"

Lol, yes I think you & I may be amused at the same thing there ... And there was I thinking the writers of Captain Pugwash were the originators of that little but of fun - now I know they just ripped off Dickens - there's nothing like stealing from the classics eh?!


Chatterjak swwords wrote: "I finished listening to this yesterday.
Oh no, that bit where Oliver is taken in by Mr Brownlow; so you thought things will be better for him now. But then, he's sent on an errand and snatched by ..."


I've just read that part - and even though I knew it was coming I was still hoping it wouldn't happen!! You can't help but be routing for Oliver! Poor little soul eh?!


message 40: by Valerie (last edited Sep 12, 2013 11:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Valerie | 17 comments swwords wrote: "I finished listening to this yesterday.
Oh no, that bit where Oliver is taken in by Mr Brownlow; so you thought things will be better for him now. But then, he's sent on an errand and snatched by ..."
...


I just finished the book last night. When I read the above part, I almost stopped reading the book. I just couldn't take it anymore. Poor, poor Oliver and the orphans.

I was like, not again, please. I can't take it anymore.


Kenneth White Oliver proves at nature can win out over nurture. He went through a horrendous life, especially for someone so young and yet he continued to be a good and honest kid. This CAN happen in real life.,People just have to WANT to be a good person. How much easier would it have been for Oliver to follow with what the Dodger and all the rest were doing? But no, he fought to stay true to himself and in the end escaped from them and had the good and happy life he deserved!!


Valerie | 17 comments Kenneth wrote: This CAN happen in real life.,People just have to WANT to be a good person. How much easier would it have been for Oliver to follow with what the Dodger and all the rest were doing? ...

Yes you have to want to be good, but also remember he had faith in God and he was raised as a Christian. When they tried to make him steal, he just kept praying!

I was so happy in the end!


Chatterjak Apologies if this isn't available to everybody, but there is an abridged version of a Dickens biography - Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin on the BBC I-Player/Radio player on the Radio 4 drama section. I've just finished listening to it, and found it very enjoyable & interesting, but it did seem to suffer a bit from being rather radically abridged (it comes in the format of 5 short episodes), so I am going to add the book to my TBR shelf. That should be a very interesting read!

William Boyd reviewed to biography for the observer newspaper, 'The work remains and endures – and Tomalin analyses the novels with great acuity – but what is so valuable about this biography is the palpable sense of the man himself that emerges. Tomalin doesn't hesitate to condemn Dickens when his behaviour demands it, yet she writes throughout with great sympathy and unrivalled knowledge in the most limpid and stylish prose. She has the gift of being able to set a scene and a time with compelling vividness. This is a superb biography of a great writer – and is a beautifully produced book, it should be said, with copious illustrations. It is worthy to stand beside Richard Ellmann on Joyce, Donald Rayfield on Chekhov and Jean-Yves Tadie on Proust – all three writers who deserve that rarest of accolades, genius. Like Dickens, they were complicated and often extremely difficult and demanding individuals. The more we learn about them as people – paradoxically – the greater their art resonates with us.'

Thought this may be of interest to some of you, so thought I would share it, hope that's ok :)


message 44: by Joseph “Millennium Man” (last edited Sep 26, 2013 11:28AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments I am doing Atkins diet and it would bump me out of ketosis.

I can't have any gruel. :(




Chatterjak Haha! I've not found it too bad to read, but for some reason I'm having to force myself to finish the last 30 pages! I feel like a child avoiding doing homework! Is it full of plot holes or is it me?!


message 46: by Joseph “Millennium Man” (last edited Sep 26, 2013 11:28AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments We Know what it was like being an orphan. Maybe Oliver would of had better luck being sent to a boarding school?


message 47: by Ali (new)

Ali Dent (allident) | 3 comments swwords wrote: "I've also started listening to this.

Never having read Dickens before I was always under the impression that his style was serious but a few chapters in and I am pleasantly surprised by the subtle..."


I thought the same thing before I read my first Dickens novel — Oliver Twist. Dickens does a good job blending serious topics with humor. Add to that his excellent command of words and writing skills and you get an entertaining read every time.


message 48: by Joseph “Millennium Man” (last edited Sep 29, 2013 04:56PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments I wish Dickens was here to write a novel about attending a Catholic school.


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 204 comments Today is the last day to finish the this month's read. The GR policy is execution for not finishing the group read.

If you don't believe me what eles do you think could motivate GR members to complete and review several thousand books?




Veljko (_vxf_) | 63 comments Finished!
No execution ;-)

Surprisingly funny at parts. The story... bah. Usual Dickens... too many coincidences. It's like there are ten people in all of England and they all are related somehow.

And for a classic with such staying power, I felt like most character - albeit not all of them - were very 'black and white'.

But I enjoyed reading it, and it made me laugh out loud at points.


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