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DICKENS, Charles.

The Adventures of Oliver Twist;

or, The Parish Boy's Progress. With twenty-four illustrations on steel, by George Cruikshank. A new edition, revised and corrected.

London: for the author, by Bradbury & Evans, 1846 Stock Code: 140379
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First one-volume edition of Dickens's second novel. Oliver Twist was first published serially between February 1837 and April 1839 in Bentley's Miscellany, and as a three-volume book by Richard Bentley in 1838 (six months before the initial serialization was complete). This single volume was substantially revised by Dickens, who had bought back his copyright from Bentley; many of his revisions were in the direction of a more dramatic rendering of the text, in light of his experience of public reading.

"Oliver Twist was originally conceived as a satire on the new poor law of 1834 which herded the destitute and the helpless into harshly run union workhouses, and which was perceived by Dickens as a monstrously unjust and inhumane piece of legislation (he was still fiercely attacking it in Our Mutual Friend in 1865). Once the scene shifted to London, however, Oliver Twist developed into a unique and compelling blend of a 'realistic' tale about thieves and prostitutes and a melodrama with strong metaphysical overtones. The pathos of little Oliver (the first of many such child figures in Dickens), the farcical comedy of the Bumbles, the sinister fascination of Fagin, the horror of Nancy's murder, and the powerful evocation of London's dark and labyrinthine criminal underworld, all helped to drive Dickens's popularity to new heights" (ODNB).

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Octavo (205 x 128 mm). Finely bound in red morocco signed C. J. Sawyer in gilt to front turn-in, titles in gilt direct to spine, raised bands, decorative tooling in gilt to compartments, double gilt rules to boards, turn-ins richly gilt with foliate motifs, blue-grey endpapers, top edge gilt.


Frontispiece and 23 steel-engraved plates by George Cruikshank.


A touch of rubbing to binding's extremities, bound without the half-title, occasional browning and spotting, minor paper repair to closed tear at pp. 173-4 and to plate facing p. 204. A handsomely bound and attractive copy.


Gimbel A39; Carr B98.


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