The opening page of Bos's January 1838 piracy

Thomas Peckett Prest, 1810-1859

Part 1, January 1838

Wood-engraving composite block

For the first monthly instalment of Life and History of Oliver Twiss. Edited by "Bos".

This pirated edition's opening number for January 1838 shows the opening of the story at the "Musanshush" (i. e., Mudfog) Workhouse, with Oliver's mother on her death-bed. The supporting characters are directly derived from Dickens's novel, including the Beadle, the attending surgeon, the master of the workhouse, and the old midwife (Sally Thingummy, with an alcoholic's nose). However, whereas Dickens's opening paragraphs read like a story, these opening lines suggest that this will be a narrative essay describing the evils of the New Poor Law of 1834, currently being applied to union workhouses in the metropolis.

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.

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