Oliver Twist by English Author Charles Dickens. Is Charles Dickens's second novel, and was first published as a serial from 1837 to 1839. The story centres on orphan Oliver Twist, born in a workhouse and sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker. After escaping, Oliver travels to London, where he meets the "Artful Dodger", a member of a gang of juvenile pickpockets led by the elderly criminal Fagin. Oliver Twist is notable for its unromantic portrayal of criminals and their sordid lives, as well as for exposing the cruel treatment of the many orphans in London in the mid-19th century.