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Charles Dickens

Dickens had an unhappy childhood because his father went to prison for debt and he had to work in factory at the age of twelve. When he realised that he had a talent for writing he became a journalist at the Parliament an Law Courts. Then, in his works, he followed the Collins's formula of romance: at the first “make the readers laugh” publishing the Sketches by Boz, his pen name, a collection of comic novels in which he describe London people and scenes and the Papers of Pickwick which demonstrate his humour; then “make the readers cry” publishing Oliver Twist and David Copperfield, in which he exposed lives of children in the slums and factories, inspiring himself to the suffering experience he felt in his childhood; finally “make the readers wait” publishing Bleak Houses and Great Expectation, in which he described people that had great expectations but were disappointed by the life. London was the setting of most of his novels: he knew and described it in realistic details and he highlighted the critical conditions of the poor and working class, but he wasn't a revolutionary thinker: like the other Victorian poets and different from Zolà or Tolstoy, he didn't want to induce revolution or encourage discontent and didn't suggest solutions but only described the reality. Children are often the most important characters: the world and the adult was seen by the children point of view, with a “magnified glass”. So in his novels, Dickens created caricatures: he exaggerated the peculiar characteristics of the characters and dived them in only two categories: bad and good.

He was also an editor of magazines and published not only his work but also the writings of other novelists. He spent his last year travelling round giving theatrical readings of his works. He died in 1870 and was buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Oliver Twist is a novel that first appeared in installments, an expedience used to create more suspense, and then was published as a book. The novel is inspired to the economic insecurity and humiliation Dickens experienced when he was a boy. Oliver is a poor boy of unknown parents that is obliged to live in a workhouse in an inhuman way. A day, he is chosen by the other children of the workhouse to manifest their hungry and unhappiness asking more food, and, for this reason, he is sold to an undertaker as an apprentice. He succeeded to run away to London, but he falls into the hands of a gang of pickpockets, who try to make him a thief, and he is saved by an old gentlemen, who, in the final, will discovered as his grandfather. Then Oliver is kidnapped by the gang and forced to commit burglary, until he shot and is adopted by a middle class family. In the end, are discovered his noble origins, while the gang is arrested. The name Twist represents the revels of fortune that he experiences.

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