Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress is the second novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 by English author Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

, published by Richard Bentley
Richard Bentley (publisher)
Richard Bentley was a 19th century English publisher. From a family of publishers, Bentley started a firm with his brother in 1819. Ten years later, he went into partnership with the publisher Henry Colburn...

 in 1838
1838 in literature
The year 1838 in literature involved some significant new books.-Events:* George Palmer Putnam and John Wiley form the book publishing and retail firm of Wiley & Putnam in New York City. It is the forerunner of G. P...

. The story is about an orphan
An orphan is a child permanently bereaved of or abandoned by his or her parents. In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents is called an orphan...

 Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist (character)
Oliver Twist is the protagonist of the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. He was the first child protagonist in an English language novel.-Background:...

, who endures a miserable existence in a workhouse
In England and Wales a workhouse, colloquially known as a spike, was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment...

 and then is placed with an undertaker. He escapes and travels to London where he meets the Artful Dodger, leader of a gang of juvenile pickpockets
Pickpocketing is a form of larceny that involves the stealing of money or other valuables from the person of a victim without their noticing the theft at the time. It requires considerable dexterity and a knack for misdirection...

. Oliver is led to the lair of their elderly criminal trainer Fagin
Fagin is a fictional character who appears as an antagonist of the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist, referred to in the preface of the novel as a "receiver of stolen goods", but referred to more frequently within the actual story as the "merry old gentleman" or simply the "Jew".-Character:Born...

, naively unaware of their unlawful activities.

Oliver Twist is notable for Dickens' unromantic portrayal of criminals and their sordid lives.