On of Dickens’ classics written to rouse society to the sufferings of the poor and the Government’s ineptness to do anything practical to help those who had no choice but the grim workhouse.  It also illustrates the complete lack of feeling toward the poor, and the corruption that was rife in a mean welfare system that actually made things worse, not better. Oliver’s mother dies while bringing him into the world; and the sensitive boy is buffeted from the horrific workhouse to being sold to an undertaker and thence into the foul slums of London. He naively falls in with the Artful Dodger and the evil Fagin, fencer of stolen goods and schooler of children in the art of thievery. There is the vicious Bill Sikes and his pathetic lover Nancy, who is kind to Oliver; Mr Bumble the bullying beadle, Mrs Sowerberry and a whole raft of other vivid Dickensian characters. Oliver’s story is unforgettable. Cover art by Seymour Chwast.