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Dickens and the Workhouse: Oliver Twist and the London Poor


Dickens and the Workhouse: Oliver Twist and the London Poor Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It's one of the best known scenes in all of literature--young Oliver Twist, with empty bowl in hand, asking "Please Sir. I want some more." In Dickens and the Workhouse, historian Ruth Richardson recounts how she discovered the building that was quite possibly the model for the workhouse in Dickens' classic novel. Indeed, Richardson reveals that Dickens himself lived only a few doors down from this notorious building--once as a child and once again as a young journalist. This book offers a colorful portrait of London in Dickens' time, looking at life in the streets and in the workhouse itself. Illustrated with maps, documents, photos, and illustrations, this fascinating book provides an engaging blend of history, biography and literary criticism, rooted in hitherto largely unexplored historical sources, in Dickens' own fiction and journalism, and in works of biography and criticism. Richardson's discovery made headlines worldwide. Published on the 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth, Dickens and the Workhouse offers an intriguing glimpse of one of the great literary figures of the Victorian Age.

About the Author

Ruth Richardson is Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the author of a number of books. The Wall Street Journal described her last book, The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy as "one of those rarities, history that reads like a novel." That book won the 2009 Medical Journalists' Open Book Award.

Table of Contents


1. Discovery: threat, silences, discovery, Dickens' first London home

2. Vicinity: environs of gentility, Norfolk-street, medical charity, environs of poverty

3. Home: house, landlord, inside, views: upstairs/downstairs

4. Street: looking down, and around

5. Calamity: gap years, catastrophe, blacking factory, Marshalsea, Somers Town, schooling

6. Young Dickens: Return to Norfolk Street: clerk, young professional, Parliament, first essays

7. Workhouse: government/management

8. Works: family moves, Sketches by Boz, Oliver Twist, Marylebone borders, human heaps

9. Poor Law: visitor, doctor, master, commission, change

10. The Most Famous Workhouse in the World



Product Details

Richardson, Ruth
Oxford University Press, USA
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literature/English | British Literature | 19th C
Literary Criticism : General
Publication Date:
25 illus.
5.6 x 8.6 x 1.1 in 1.294 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Dickens and the Workhouse: Oliver Twist and the London Poor New Hardcover
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$36.75 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199645886 Reviews:
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