When Oliver Twist was printed for its third edition, Dickens added a preface. In it he explained/defended his deplorable characters. He stated that he used unsavory characters to teach morals. He did not glamorize these corrupt characters but presented “the everyday existence of a Thief“. In this novel we will not find the slick, smooth burglar who lives a luxurious life. Instead we will read about folks that are “for ever skulking uneasily through the dirtiest paths of life“. Crime does not pay in Dickens’ world.
In the preface Dickens also discusses the women in his story who have questionable virtue. He does not apologize for the pictures he paints.
“It is wonderful how Virtue turns from dirty stockings; and how Vice, married to ribbons and a little gay attire, changes her name, as wedded ladies do, and becomes Romance.” page xxix of the Author’s Preface
After reading this quote I paused, then underlined, then added a star in the margin. It makes me sad how often this is the case.
Then I had flashbacks of Bunyan. The way Dickens capitalized the nouns reminded me of the names of Bunyan’s characters. Madame Bubble could have had friends named Vice and Romance.