SP Books publish Charles Dickens’s manuscript of Oliver Twist to coincide with 150 years since the novelist’s death
150 years after Dickens’s death, June 2020 commemorates the anniversary of globally beloved author, social campaigner and public figure Charles Dickens. To mark the occasion, independent Parisian publisher SP Books are releasing the first-ever facsimile edition of Oliver Twist.
The original manuscript in Charles Dickens’s handwriting, it has been reproduced and published in full for the very first time from manuscripts provided by the V&A Museum and the Charles Dickens Museum. A living testimony to the constraints of the serial form, the pages reveal unseen edits, additions, crossings-out and altered names in the author’s energetic handwriting, providing fresh insight into Dickens’s creative process.
The Observer used the manuscript to explore how ‘the earthiness of the ‘harlot with a heart’ in Oliver Twist was toned down for the Victorian reader’, while The Telegraph examined how ‘domestic violence in Oliver Twist was toned down in later drafts to leave “more to the imagination”’.
The foreword is written by English actor, writer and director Simon Callow, an expert on Dickens, with full-page colour drawings by original illustrator George Cruikshank, including those rarely reproduced from a deluxe edition published in 1911.
Collated as beautifully-bound collectable, these key edits shed new light on the much-loved social novel, and, in the words of Simon Callow “shows us the young genius in the very act of mastering his craft – a uniquely exuberant, inventive, observant, compassionate tyro turning himself, by sheer willpower, into one of the greatest writers in the English – or any other – language.”
Further information about the volume is available at spbooks.com and via social media @spbooksofficial and @saints.peres.