Friday, 13 April 2012

Please Sir, can I have some more?

We return to our old friend Charles Dickens as this month there are many special events celebrating his work.
Many people will be joining in reading Oliver Twist during April and there are versions available in all our libraries for children and teens as well as the original full length novel.

To celebrate the great man’s 200th birthday, we’ve got some great talks lined up for you in April.

Novelist Ian Porter will be taking you on a “Walk through Dickens’ London”; a talk on Dickens’ life and times in London and Kent.
Erith Library Tuesday 24th April 2.30pm
Sidcup Library Wednesday 25th April at 2.30pm
Historian and author Adam Roberts will be giving a talk called “Dickens with a Twist”; a sideways look at the book, and the man
“Why has the novel proved so enduring?...How does it map London?...And why is Twist called Twist?”
Central Library, Wednesday 25th April 7.30 pm
Tickets for all the talks cost £2.50 and are available from the libraries concerned, or telephone 020 8303 7777


Bex-Read said...

This is a special month for Oliver Twist, which is Charles Dickens' most popular and well known novel.
Have you seen any of the films? Did you read the book? I really enjoyed it and was surprised how much humour there was in it.
I'm looking forward to the talk on Oliver Twist and Dickens by Adam Roberts at Central Library in Bexleyheath. Come along and find out more.
Ian Porter will also be giving an interesting talk about Dickens' life in London and Kent at both Erith and Sidcup libraries.
See above for details of both talks.
Do tell us if you have read Oliver Twist [or any other Charles Dickens' books] - Did you enjoy it?

Lisa said...

I grew up with the musical Oliver and for many years this was the only version of the story I knew. So you can imagine my surprise when I read the book as an adult and discovered that Nancy wasn't the "tart with a heart" that I'd always believed her to be but, in fact, a drug addict whose only interest in Oliver was the money she could get from his great uncle. Fagin will always be Ron Moody in my mind but even so in the book he is a much darker character than the film portrays. I loved the book however - much more than the film, as it is a much more gritty and realistic view of London and street children at that time. As with all Dickens novels though there is also plenty of humour to lighten the mood.

Rose said...

Oh - I still had Nancy down as a "tart with a heart" - true she probably was addicted to alcohol but I'm not sure she knew about the money until she overheard Fagin and Monks talking - and that seemed to be when she decided to try and help Oliver.

Bex-Read said...

It seems that the choice of Twist as a name for Oliver allows Dickens to make many twists and turns in the story.
It appears that he set out to challenge his readers to think about the nature of good and evil and truth - which is an important word in his preface to Oliver Twist. In particular he refers to Nancy by saying "It is useless to discuss whether the conduct and character of the girl seems natural or unnatural, probable or improbable, right or wrong. IT IS TRUE."
Nancy has been the subject of disagreements amongst readers of the novel and characters in the novel are never sure whether to trust her. There are scenes in which onlookers believe she is mad, certainly she has many bouts of hysteria. She seems to be totally reliant on Sykes and yet something causes her to try and rescue Oliver from life in Fagin's gang, although she knows that will put her own life at risk.
Nancy seems to be the subject of many contradictions which makes her hard to understand - does good come out of evil in her case?

Charlotte said...

Hi Lisa - the musical was my introduction to Oliver too. Like you, Fagin will ever be Ron Moody for me [and Jack Wilde perfectly illustrated the descriptions of the Artful Dodger in the book, while Mark Lester was almost a dead ringer for the George Cruikshank pictures of Oliver].
Ron Moody's Fagin was obviously based on the pictures in the book but the film missed out so much of the story that I guess they chose to ignore his darker side - for he is described as 'a pleasant old gentleman' as well as 'villianous looking'. He tries to lure Oliver into his gang by being pleasant but, of course, his main interest is the safety of his own skin.

Bex-Read said...

One of the major twists in Oliver's story is the mystery character, Monks, who first appears in a clandestine meeting with Fagin but it is obviously not the first time they have met.
Monks seems to be very interested in Oliver.
The nature of their discussion [and the true identity of Monks] is only fully revealed at the end of the book - by Nancy, who overheard their conversations more than once and seeks to rescue Oliver from Fagin's clutches as a result.
Want to know more?
Read Oliver Twist!