The story centers on orphan Oliver Twist, born in a workhouse and sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker. After escaping, Oliver travels to London, where he meets the “Artful Dodger”, a member of a gang of juvenile pickpockets led by the elderly criminal Fagin.
Dickens satirizes the hypocrisies of his time, including child labor, the recruitment of children as criminals, and the presence of street children.
Oliver Twist is Charles Dickens’s second novel, and was first published from 1837 to 1839 and was written during Charles Dickens’s time living here at 48 Doughty Street. He was just 25 years old.
Dickens and his wife Catherine moved to Doughty St, a few months before Queen Victoria began her reign in 1837. The couple raised the eldest three of their ten children in the house. They also hosted many of the period’s leading figures with dinners and parties.
As with many of his books, Charles Dickens first published Oliver in small monthly booklets rather than thick finished books. Each monthly part would contain a few chapters at a time.