George Cruikshank, 1792-1878


Although Oliver Twist is rooted in the social issues and literary forms of the late Regency period, Dickens edited the book for Bradbury and Evans, his new publishers, while he was in Italy (1844-45), and it was subsequently published with Cruikshank's incisive caricatures of London thieves in 1846. Because the illustrator's Oliver Asks for More had achieved iconic status, the publishers chose to use this illustration from Bentley's Miscellany for the frontispiece for the single-volume edition. Even prior to the completion of its serial run in April 1839, Richard Bentley published the novel as a triple-decker in November 1838 to capitalise on the serial text's popularity.

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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.

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