Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
0 Kudos

Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Feel free to begin our discussion of Oliver Twist any time.
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
Scribe
Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I think it's wonderful how Dickens can make us live with terribly cruel characters and yet leave us with feelings of great warmth. This ability of his was made plain to me in the past couple of weeks by my immediately following a reading of Oliver Twist with Henry James's Washington Square.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)


Laurel wrote:
I think it's wonderful how Dickens can make us live with terribly cruel characters and yet leave us with feelings of great warmth. This ability of his was made plain to me in the past couple of weeks by my immediately following a reading of Oliver Twist with Henry James's Washington Square.

 

I started rereading this last night, and was surprised to find that my 1970 75-cent Scholastic Books edition actually has an introduction and some notations.  The woman who wrote the intro was talking about how Dickens (as expressed in his own foreward) was trying to show the 'real' side of criminals and the underworld.  This was in reaction to works that romanticized this world, such as The Three-Penny Opera and tales of dashing highwaymen, etc.  Dickens wanted people to realize that the reality was that it was an unsavory and unpleasant environment.  However, the writer felt that Dickens, in spite of himself, actually preferred his rogues and villains.  She contrasted some scenes, in which, in similar situations, the scene with the 'bad' characters was interesting and humorous, while the scene with the 'good' characters was bland and boring.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
Scribe
Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Here's something I just read in Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence:

 

Until long habit has blunted the sensibility, there is something disconcerting to the writer in the instinct which causes him to take an interest in the singularities of human nature so absorbing that his moral sense is powerless against it. He recognises in himself an artistic satisfaction in the contemplation of evil which a little startles him; but sincerity forces him to confess that the disapproval he feels for certain actions is not nearly so strong as his curiosity in their reasons. The character of a scoundrel, logical and complete, has a fascination for his creator which is an outrage to law and order. I expect that Shakespeare devised Iago with a gusto which he never knew when, weaving moonbeams with his fancy, he imagined Desdemona. It may be that in his rogues the writer gratifies instincts deep-rooted in him, which the manners and customs of a civilised world have forced back to the mysterious recesses of the subconscious. In giving to the character of his invention flesh and bones he is giving life to that part of himself which finds no other means of expression. His satisfaction is a sense of liberation.

The writer is more concerned to know than to judge.


dulcinea3 wrote:

Laurel wrote:
I think it's wonderful how Dickens can make us live with terribly cruel characters and yet leave us with feelings of great warmth. This ability of his was made plain to me in the past couple of weeks by my immediately following a reading of Oliver Twist with Henry James's Washington Square.

 

I started rereading this last night, and was surprised to find that my 1970 75-cent Scholastic Books edition actually has an introduction and some notations.  The woman who wrote the intro was talking about how Dickens (as expressed in his own foreward) was trying to show the 'real' side of criminals and the underworld.  This was in reaction to works that romanticized this world, such as The Three-Penny Opera and tales of dashing highwaymen, etc.  Dickens wanted people to realize that the reality was that it was an unsavory and unpleasant environment.  However, the writer felt that Dickens, in spite of himself, actually preferred his rogues and villains.  She contrasted some scenes, in which, in similar situations, the scene with the 'bad' characters was interesting and humorous, while the scene with the 'good' characters was bland and boring.

 

 

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
Inspired Contributor
JohnP51
Posts: 1,294
Registered: ‎12-31-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

It's been quite some time since I read Oliver Twist so it's time I do so again. One thing I love about Dickens is the odd names he gives some of his characters.
John

"Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else." ~ Mark Twain
Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)


JohnP51 wrote:
It's been quite some time since I read Oliver Twist so it's time I do so again. One thing I love about Dickens is the odd names he gives some of his characters.

 

That's always been one of my favorite things about Dickens, too!

 

I'm not sure that I've reread this since I first read it in 1970.  This, like Wuthering Heights, is another novel that I was inspired to read after having seen the movie, in this case the musical Oliver! - in sixth grade, we went on a field trip to see it.  Although, unlike WH, instead of rushing to the bookstore the next day, I waited about a year and bought it when it turned up in one of those Scholastic Books flyers we used to get in school.  Of course, since then, I have seen several more dramatic film versions, as well, but I still do love that musical!  My edition has drawings of the characters from the musical on the cover.

 

I'm sure there are many details not included in the films I have seen, so I am really looking forward to finally rereading this classic.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
Inspired Contributor
JohnP51
Posts: 1,294
Registered: ‎12-31-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Me too! I saw Oliver! at the theater shortly after it came out (I was an adult then) and loved it. I think the producers chose the perfect actors and the they performed their roles exceptionally well. Bill Sikes and Fagin in particular. It was also about a year later that I read the book and could not put it down. It's been since then since I read it but we're going to B&N this weekend so I plan on picking up the B&N Classic edition of it to read.

 

I will need to finish "Moby Dick" and "Crime and Punishment" first. Then it's on to Oliver Twist. On second thought, I only just started C&P so I can put it on hold.

John

"Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else." ~ Mark Twain
Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I think that Ron Moody should have gotten an Oscar for his performace as Fagin.  Rascally, and yet poignant at the same time.  And I had a huge crush on Oliver Reed after seeing the movie!  I wanted to be Shani Wallis!  I have the video, and I've seen it enough times that, as I am reading the novel, I can clearly picture some of the scenes.  I think that, in the scenes they chose to use, they stuck very closely to the book.  Although Oliver was caught when he fell down in the street, rather than climbing up on the railway track (that's where I'm up to after last night).  But some of the scenes at Sowerberry's and with Fagin and the boys seem word-for-word.

 

I found that I need to handle my book carefully, as the pages started coming unstuck last night!  I guess if I ever want to read it again, I'll have to buy a new copy, but I'm going to try to make it through with this one.

 

I'm sure Raskolnikov will wait for you to get back to him!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
Inspired Contributor
JohnP51
Posts: 1,294
Registered: ‎12-31-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

With two exceptions, I don't like and won't watch musicals. The two being "Oliver!" and "The Sound of Music".

 

I know what you mean about Ron Moody. Watching him act the role made me feel like I needed a shower afterwards. He comes across as slimey as the book's character. And Oliver Reed both looked and sounded just like I picture Sikes. Evil and cunning, yet intelligent. I have a feeling that's the standard by which I'm going to judge this upcoming  broadcast. If it is broadcast online that is. I can't watch any Sunday night television due to other obligations.

 

Okay, that does it. Raskolnikov has waited this long and he will have to wait a bit longer. I'm going to read "Oliver Twist".

John

"Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else." ~ Mark Twain
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Oh dear -- not even Brigadoon? 

 

Well, anyhow, I hope you don't consider Gilbert and Sullivan in the same class as musicals.   Life without G&S would be a pale imitation of what it can be.


JohnP51 wrote:

With two exceptions, I don't like and won't watch musicals. The two being "Oliver!" and "The Sound of Music".



 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Inspired Contributor
JohnP51
Posts: 1,294
Registered: ‎12-31-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I've never seen  any G&S musical so I can't judge.
John

"Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else." ~ Mark Twain
Frequent Contributor
WinterLady
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎01-03-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I just started the book last night.  I haven't read much Dickens.  I think I've avoided him because of all the poverty he writes about.  That said,  I love A Christmas Carol - especially the original movie.   It amazes me how that same original story is constantly being retold in different ways on TV.

 

  What strikes me so far in reading Oliver Twist is Dickens' distinct voice.  Like the way he describes the orphans as being "...without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing..."

Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

[ Edited ]

Everyman wrote:

Oh dear -- not even Brigadoon? 

 

Well, anyhow, I hope you don't consider Gilbert and Sullivan in the same class as musicals.   Life without G&S would be a pale imitation of what it can be.


JohnP51 wrote:

With two exceptions, I don't like and won't watch musicals. The two being "Oliver!" and "The Sound of Music".



 

 


 

That's funny - my first thought was in almost identical words, with a slight difference: "Oh dear, not even My Fair Lady?"  And then I went on to think about The Wizard of Oz, Singing in the Rain, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Unsinkable Molly Brown,......
Message Edited by dulcinea3 on 02-11-2009 06:30 PM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)


WinterLady wrote:

I just started the book last night.  I haven't read much Dickens.  I think I've avoided him because of all the poverty he writes about.  That said,  I love A Christmas Carol - especially the original movie.   It amazes me how that same original story is constantly being retold in different ways on TV.

 

  What strikes me so far in reading Oliver Twist is Dickens' distinct voice.  Like the way he describes the orphans as being "...without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing..."


 

Yes, I love it when he writes things like that.  It's really kind of layered.  We laugh because what he says is really funny, and yet never lose sight of the fact that he is actually commenting on something very serious and sad.  I think it's a more effective way, to highlight the injustices with humor, rather than being serious and just hitting us in the face with it.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Nice observation.  Yes, that is typical Dickens -- humor with a very sharp edge.

 


WinterLady wrote:

  What strikes me so far in reading Oliver Twist is Dickens' distinct voice.  Like the way he describes the orphans as being "...without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing..."


 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Author
ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)


WinterLady wrote:

I just started the book last night.  I haven't read much Dickens.  I think I've avoided him because of all the poverty he writes about.  That said,  I love A Christmas Carol - especially the original movie.   It amazes me how that same original story is constantly being retold in different ways on TV.

 

  What strikes me so far in reading Oliver Twist is Dickens' distinct voice.  Like the way he describes the orphans as being "...without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing..."


 

I hope you'll stick with Dickens, WinterLady.  Even though he does write about poverty, which is admittedly a sad topic (though important, especially in his place and time and with what his work was able to expose about it), he does it in a way that is moving and engaging--not really preachy.  At least, that's how I always read him.  Others' views may differ, I suppose.
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
Inspired Contributor
JohnP51
Posts: 1,294
Registered: ‎12-31-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)


ConnieK wrote:

WinterLady wrote:

I just started the book last night.  I haven't read much Dickens.  I think I've avoided him because of all the poverty he writes about.  That said,  I love A Christmas Carol - especially the original movie.   It amazes me how that same original story is constantly being retold in different ways on TV.

 

  What strikes me so far in reading Oliver Twist is Dickens' distinct voice.  Like the way he describes the orphans as being "...without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing..."


 

I hope you'll stick with Dickens, WinterLady.  Even though he does write about poverty, which is admittedly a sad topic (though important, especially in his place and time and with what his work was able to expose about it), he does it in a way that is moving and engaging--not really preachy.  At least, that's how I always read him.  Others' views may differ, I suppose.

That's exactly my thinking, too. Dickens started out life in moderate prosperity but then experienced poverty when his father  as arrested and thrown into debtor's prison. I think that while his poverty was in no way on the same scale as Oliver Twist's, I'm sure it affected him with the realization of what it might be like if he had nothing.

 

WinterLady, I hadn't noticed that before but you're right. I'm not schooled in literature to know what the term is for that kind of phrase but in just a few choice words he is able to describe how the wealthy view poverty and how the poor experience it. I hope I made sense.

John

"Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else." ~ Mark Twain
Frequent Contributor
KCHaughawout
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎02-09-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I think the poverty is important. Reading it gives me a sense of the struggle with the workhouses in the late 1800s. Remember, this was after the Irish famine and workhouses were common. I don't know of any Irish literature that describes it. History books often comment on how little the Irish were fed and that Ireland wouldn't have experienced the famine if the English wouldn't have shipped all of the crops and food out.
Karen


"Every burned book enlightens the world."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Trollope's Marion Fay, if I recall correctly, deals with some of the issues of the famine and poverty in Ireland.


KCHaughawout wrote:
I think the poverty is important. Reading it gives me a sense of the struggle with the workhouses in the late 1800s. Remember, this was after the Irish famine and workhouses were common. I don't know of any Irish literature that describes it. History books often comment on how little the Irish were fed and that Ireland wouldn't have experienced the famine if the English wouldn't have shipped all of the crops and food out.

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Inspired Contributor
JohnP51
Posts: 1,294
Registered: ‎12-31-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Oliver Twist: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Bigotry played a big part in that as well. Both in the Scottish clearances and the Irish famine. England had been attempting to displace the native populations of Scotland and Ireland with English landholders for almost 200 years starting with King James I in 1603. Actually Queen Elizabeth I but King James actively persued it. While the clearances themselves didn't cause the famine, the underlying bigotry (or racism) is what caused the famine and subsequent treatment of the Irish by the English to be what it was. Dickens' time was a horrible time to be poor and he threw it in the faces of the English very well. Even so, what the poor endured during that time was far worse than what Dickens wrote. And living conditions were unbelievably bad, especially in urban areas. All one has to do is read a case history of Jack the Ripper to see what life was like in Whitechapel in the latter half of the 19th century. One fact that has stuck with me for a long time is when the police investigated one residence near one of the slayings. The family lived in one small room with filth everywhere, and a long-dead child laying in a bed. The family didn't have the money to dispose of the body and had no other option than to leave it there. Now that is poor.
John

"Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else." ~ Mark Twain