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Little Dorrit (Illustrated with Free audiobook link)

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Little Dorrit is a serial novel by Charles Dickens published originally between 1855 and 1857. It is a work of satire on the shortcomings of the government and society of the period. Much of Dickens' ire is focused upon the institutions of debtors' prisons—in which people who owed money were imprisoned, unable to work, until they have repaid their debts. The representative Little Dorrit is a serial novel by Charles Dickens published originally between 1855 and 1857. It is a work of satire on the shortcomings of the government and society of the period. Much of Dickens' ire is focused upon the institutions of debtors' prisons—in which people who owed money were imprisoned, unable to work, until they have repaid their debts. The representative prison in this case is the Marshalsea where the author's own father had been imprisoned. Most of Dickens' other critiques in this particular novel concern the social safety net: industry, and the treatment and safety of workers; the bureaucracy of the British Treasury (as figured in the fictional "Circumlocution Office" [Bk. 1, Ch. 10]); and the separation of people based on the lack of intercourse between the classes. The book includes original illustrations by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz), an active/navigable table of contents, and a Free audiobook link for download (which can be downloaded using a PC/Mac) at the end of the book.


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Little Dorrit is a serial novel by Charles Dickens published originally between 1855 and 1857. It is a work of satire on the shortcomings of the government and society of the period. Much of Dickens' ire is focused upon the institutions of debtors' prisons—in which people who owed money were imprisoned, unable to work, until they have repaid their debts. The representative Little Dorrit is a serial novel by Charles Dickens published originally between 1855 and 1857. It is a work of satire on the shortcomings of the government and society of the period. Much of Dickens' ire is focused upon the institutions of debtors' prisons—in which people who owed money were imprisoned, unable to work, until they have repaid their debts. The representative prison in this case is the Marshalsea where the author's own father had been imprisoned. Most of Dickens' other critiques in this particular novel concern the social safety net: industry, and the treatment and safety of workers; the bureaucracy of the British Treasury (as figured in the fictional "Circumlocution Office" [Bk. 1, Ch. 10]); and the separation of people based on the lack of intercourse between the classes. The book includes original illustrations by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz), an active/navigable table of contents, and a Free audiobook link for download (which can be downloaded using a PC/Mac) at the end of the book.

30 review for Little Dorrit (Illustrated with Free audiobook link)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens Little Dorrit is a novel by Charles Dickens, originally published in serial form between 1855 and 1857. It satirises the shortcomings of both government and society, including the institution of debtors' prisons, where debtors were imprisoned, unable to work, until they repaid their debts. The prison in this case is the Marshalsea, where Dickens's own father had been imprisoned. Dickens is also critical of the lack of a social safety net, the treatment and safety of Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens Little Dorrit is a novel by Charles Dickens, originally published in serial form between 1855 and 1857. It satirises the shortcomings of both government and society, including the institution of debtors' prisons, where debtors were imprisoned, unable to work, until they repaid their debts. The prison in this case is the Marshalsea, where Dickens's own father had been imprisoned. Dickens is also critical of the lack of a social safety net, the treatment and safety of industrial workers, as well the bureaucracy of the British Treasury, in the form of his fictional "Circumlocution Office". In addition he satirises the stratification of society that results from the British class system. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوازدهم ماه نوامبر سال 1974میلادی عنوان: دوریت کوچک؛ چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: محمد قاضی، رضا عقیلی؛ تهران، جاویدان، 1343؛ در 364ص؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 19م عنوان: دوریت کوچک؛ چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: فریده تیموری؛ تهران، ماد، 1370؛ در دوجلد؛ جلد دو در 288ص؛ عنوان: دوریت کوچک؛ چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: فریده تیموری؛ تهران، سمیر، 1388؛ در727ص؛ چکیده: داستان این رمان، نوشته ی نویسنده ی سرشناس «انگلیسی»، «چارلز دیکنز»، درباره ی رفتارهای موجود در ادارات دولتی آن روزگاران است، که در آنزمان، از نظر کندی کار، و تنبلی کارکنان، مورد اعتراض مردمان، بوده است؛ «ویلیام دوریت» در پی عدم اجرای قراردادی، که با یکی از ادارات امضا کرده، به زندان گزمه ها میافتد، و آنقدر انجا میماند، که به (پدر زندان گزمه ها) نامدار میشود؛ ایام حبس او، با فداکاریهای دختر کوچکش (امی) یا همان «دوریت کوچک»، تسکین مییابد؛ «آرتور کلن نم» نیز مردی است، که به خانواده ی «دوریت» یاری میکند؛ پس از مدتی «امی» به او علاقمند میشود؛ اما علاقه، نخست دوسویه نیست؛ با تغییر ناگهانی سرنوشت، «ویلیام دوریت»، وارث ثروت کلانی میشود، و «آرتور کلن نم» نیز، همان روزها، برای سفته های بی اعتبارش، به زندان گزمه ها میافتد؛ این موضوع رویدادهایی را، به دنبال دارد، که در ادامه ی داستان بازگو میشود تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 18/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 18/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    Little Dorrit is Charles Dickens’s eleventh novel, published in monthly parts between December 1855 and June 1857, and illustrated by his favourite artist and friend Hablot Knight Browne, or “Phiz”. We tend to give Dickens’s novels convenient labels, such as the one criticising the workhouse: “Oliver Twist”, the one criticising schools: “Nicholas Nickleby”, the one criticising the legal system: “Bleak House”, and the one criticising unions: “Hard Times”. This one could be thought of as “the one Little Dorrit is Charles Dickens’s eleventh novel, published in monthly parts between December 1855 and June 1857, and illustrated by his favourite artist and friend Hablot Knight Browne, or “Phiz”. We tend to give Dickens’s novels convenient labels, such as the one criticising the workhouse: “Oliver Twist”, the one criticising schools: “Nicholas Nickleby”, the one criticising the legal system: “Bleak House”, and the one criticising unions: “Hard Times”. This one could be thought of as “the one criticising government bureaucracy”. But it is much, much more than that. By now Dickens had established himself as a literary phenomenon. He was an enormously popular novelist, but he was keen to sustain his literary status as well as entertain the crowds. Like “Bleak House”, this is an elaborate, very complex and occasionally creaky novel with many interwoven and seemingly inexplicable mysteries. In this, it seems more of a natural successor to “Bleak House”, rather than to the much shorter and more direct one which preceded it, “Hard Times” (although the vitriol of “Hard Times” is in evidence here too). Although Little Dorrit is set in about 1826, it was written only a few years after the great Crystal Palace Exhibition “of the Works of Industry of All Nations” in 1851. It is interesting to wonder whether this vicious attack on British institutions is in part a commentary by Dickens on Britain’s grand industrial and social advances. Dickens was continuing to work at a frenetic pace — to “burn himself out” in the modern vernacular — and his personal life was equally frenzied. In these two years, he bought two new houses, including his dream house “Gads Hill” in Rochester, which he had admired since he was a boy. He lived in Folkestone, Paris, Boulogne and London, as well as travelling for speeches and business. He continued to write, edit, and give public readings, be involved in the lives of his children, and was as enthusiastic about the theatre as ever. He produced and acted in 6 plays and farces during this time, helped by his friend Wilkie Collins, although Dickens was very much the driving force behind them. And his letters reveal that he was approaching a domestic crisis, and increasingly frustrated with his marriage. He was preoccupied by the idea of freedom in all areas; freedom assumed a greater and greater importance to him, and he was increasingly impatient with the Victorian constraints of his time. Little Dorrit is the novel which comes out of this state of mind. The themes of prisons and being trapped in various ways, both physically and psychologically, permeate throughout the book. Dickens certainly felt himself trapped, whatever others thought. He also felt a long-buried shame at his father’s incarceration in the “Marshalsea” Prison for debt. This is perhaps the novel most influenced by Charles Dickens’s early experience, and a sense of gross injustice prevails too. In fact the original title of the novel, for the first four issues, was not Little Dorrit but “Nobody’s Fault”. The Marshalsea Prison was a notorious prison in Southwark, Surrey (although Southwark is now part of London), just south of the River Thames. It was one of London’s best known debtors’ prisons, and one with which Dickens was well acquainted. Of course, the irony was that the only way for those incarcerated to survive there, was by purchasing items to keep themselves fed and clothed. Getting out was well nigh impossible, as being incarcerated, they could rarely earn any money! It was very much like a village behind bars, and although it was 30 years since his father had been imprisoned there (and the prison had been closed down in 1842), Dickens had never returned to look at it. Only when he came to write Little Dorrit, did Dickens nerve himself to visit the parts of it which were still standing. He notes in his preface, that this was in order to research the “rooms that arose to my mind’s eye when I became Little Dorrit’s biographer.” Yet Amy Dorrit (“Little Dorrit”) is not the main character in the book. If there is just one, it would be Arthur Clennam. Dickens may well have decided to name his novel after Amy, since she is one of the very few virtuous unaffected characters, always seeking opportunities for each of her family, and through sheer determination, working towards the best life they can all have. She may be small in stature, but her heart and courage are great indeed. Amy was born in the “Marshalsea” Prison, surrounded by a family who all display the faults which can result from such a meanness of environment. Her father, William, is so pompous, so quick to take offence, and so socially conscious, that having the unofficial title “Father of the Marshalsea” conferred on him, is seen by him as a great honour. He is arrogant, selfish, and “all show”, continually bolstered up by Amy’s coquettish and patronising sister Fanny, a theatrical dancer, and her brother Tip, a roguish ne’er-do-well. William’s brother Frederick, a broken man, has been up to now, Amy’s only true friend. We also follow the story of Arthur Clennam. On his father’s death, Arthur has returned from business abroad, and is at a loose end. Arthur’s mother is a grim, old puritanical woman, who is paralysed, and living in the gloomy, decrepit old family house. She is attended by Flintwinch, a malicious man, twisted in both body and mind, who has wheedled himself into being her business partner, and forced the family servant, Affery, to marry him. These three form a unholy trio. The scenes set here have a gothic unearthly quality, and Affery, with her terrified nonsensical babbling, comes across as some kind of wise seer. There is hatred and malevolence here; a deep-seated resentment, but we are not privy to its cause, and neither is Arthur. There are myriad minor characters who make this novel sparkle, although it is a sinister sparkle, perhaps as in sparkly vampires. There is the avaricious Casby, with his flowing white hair and twinkly eyes, with a semblance of benevolence shining out of his bald head. There is his whipping-boy and rent-collector Pancks, a little chugging steam engine, busily screwing more and more money out of Casby’s tenants. There is Casby’s daughter, the widow Flora Finching, fat, flirtatious and foolish. Twittery, chattery Flora used to be Arthur’s sweetheart (a fact which now appalls him) and is determined that he will never forget that fact, much to Arthur’s embarrassment and chagrin. She now looks after an equally eccentic and hilariously impossible relative, “Mr F.’s aunt”. Flora’s character is based on Maria Beadnell (later Mrs Henry Winter), with whom Charles Dickens had fallen madly in love, in 1830, when he was 18. Maria, like Flora, was pretty and flirtatious, and the daughter of a highly successful banker (similar enough to a property-owner). After three years, her parents objected to the relationship, because Dickens’s prospects did not look good. Dickens wrote to her, “I never have loved and I never can love any human creature breathing but yourself.” And it is clear from his letters to his friend, John Forster, that Dickens had felt completely heartbroken over the break-up. He met Maria, now Mrs Winter, again in 1856, and although he knew she was a great fan of her work, he was devastated at how she had changed, although she had tried to warn him, describing herself candidly in a letter as being “toothless, fat, old and ugly”. Dickens found her talkativeness especially irritating, and quickly attempted to extricate himself from all but the most essential social contact with her — and always strictly in public. Dickens it now was, who rebuffed Maria’s flirtatious attempts, and he portrayed her here as the voluble and irrepressible Flora. Perhaps an old affection did temper his pen, however. Although it seems a cruel, heartless portrait initially, Flora reveals herself to have a heart of gold, and hidden perceptiveness, as the novel proceeds. These characters who are so vociferous often prove to be the most multi-layered in Dickens’s novels. The silent ones are often more shadowy. But Flora is an appalling delight, and some scenes which feature her may well make you laugh out loud: “Wanting the heart to explain that this was not at all what he meant, Arthur extended his supporting arm round Flora’s figure. ‘Oh my goodness me,’ said she. ‘You are very obedient indeed really and it’s extremely honourable and gentlemanly in you I am sure but still at the same time if you would like to be a little tighter than that I shouldn’t consider it intruding’”. There is Mr Merdle, the financier and greatest man of his time: “As a vast fire will fill the air to a great distance with its roar, so the sacred flame which the mighty Barnacles had fanned caused the air to resound more and more with the name of Merdle. It was deposited on every lip, and carried into every ear. There never was, there never had been, there never again should be, such a man as Mr Merdle. Nobody, as aforesaid, knew what he had done; but everybody knew him to be the greatest that had appeared.” Dickens builds Mr Merdle up so much that we are tempted to suspect that everything might come crashing down! In fact Mr Merdle is based on a real life Irish financier and politician, called John Sadleir, (view spoiler)[a “prince of swindlers”. John Sadleir had resigned his ministerial position, when he was found guilty of being implicated in a plot to imprison a depositor of the Tipperary Bank, because the individual in question had refused to vote for him. His disastrous speculations and forgeries had ruined several major banks, to the tune of more than £1.5 million. John Sadleir had ended his life by drinking prussic acid. (hide spoiler)] There is Mr Merdle’s wife, always referred to as “the Bosom”, on which he displays all his jewels and worldly acquisitions. Mrs Merdle piques herself on being society, hypocritically professing herself “charmed” at the idea of being a “perfect savage”. She values her own status, money and etiquette above all else. There is her son from a previous marriage, Edward Sparkler, a chap of limited intelligence, whose highest praise of a woman is that there is “no nonsense about her”. There is young John Chivery, the prison warden’s son, who is devoted to Amy, and has a tendency to keep imagining his own gravestone with appropriate new inscriptions, according to how he feels the wind is blowing with respect to her feelings about him. And the kindly Meagles family: the retired banker Mr Meagles, impossibly convinced that all the world should speak English, his wife, and their cossetted daughter Minnie, or “Pet”. There is Pet’s companion or servant “Tattycoram”, whose real name is Harriet Beadle. Tattycoram/Harriet is an interesting character, who is to play an essential part in the novel’s outcome. She grows greatly in character, but initially has understandable feelings of resentment. She was a foundling, who has ostensibly been adopted by the Meagles. They think they are being benevolent in this, but in fact she feels patronised, instructed to “count five and twenty, Tattycoram” whenever she shows her temper, and is treated more like a servant than a companion. These feelings are encouraged by another malevolent and manipulative presence in the book, Miss Wade, one of Dickens’s most evil creations. We have a veritable panoply of characters then, full of energy and life, spilling from the pages, as always in a novel by Dickens — and there are many more I have not mentioned. And the dastardly villain of the piece? He is a true pantomime villain — “Rigaud”, alias “Blandois” — based on the hated tyrant Napoleon III — and we first meet him right at the start of the novel, in a prison, in Marseilles. For this novel does not start out in the dank gloom of the Marshalsea, but in an oppressive hellhole of a prison in the blistering heat of the South of France. We see Rigaud’s arrogant, evil, manipulative, swaggering personality straightaway, and although Dickens keeps up the mystery by rarely naming him, we can recognise him every time he enters the stage, by his malicious, devilish smile, when: “his moustache went up under his nose, and his nose came down over his moustache”. Mysteries abound in this novel. There are long-lost twins, both male and female, impersonations and doppelgängers, unsuspected marriages and dysfunctional relationships. There is truth, but mostly there are lies, and secrets. There is the collapse of an institution, both metaphorically and in a very dramatic literal scene. It is doom-laden, with delusions and dreams; mysterious creaking sounds are seen to be prophetic. There is a suicide — and a murder — and animal cruelty. It is a novel of two parts, entitled “Poverty” and “Riches”. In the second part, there is restitution of a sort, and there is punishment. Debts are paid. Poverty is transformed into riches, and those who were kind to each other when they were poor, become more spiteful or selfish, considering such earlier behaviour to be humiliating. Starting in Marseilles, the action removes to London and then Venice — a crumbling, decaying edifice, reflected in the degeneration of the characters within it. In Little Dorrit any prosperity is almost a guarantee that the wealth will be put to bad use. Even that decidedly decent fellow Daniel Doyce, intelligent and kind, the inventor of an unspecified mechanical wonder, is unable to get a patent for it in the Circumlocution Office, and we fear for his future. Nothing in Little Dorrit is what it appears to be. In many ways it is as much of a mystery story as “Bleak House”. Almost all the characters are self-seeking, and the message of the novel is a very bleak one indeed. For whereas the concerns of the novel are similar to those of “Dombey and Son”, in Little Dorrit it is not only business concerns which are corrupt. It has a far wider purview — Dickens here attacks the whole of British society. The novel Little Dorrit does not merely indicate a dark view of human nature, but is a savage indictment of the corruption at the heart of British institutions, and the effects of British economic and social structure upon every single individual. Dickens shows with this embittered novel that he believes British society to be rotten to the core, and riddled with deceit. There are only two refuges from the all-pervasive “Circumlocution Office”, either exile, or prison. The very name “Circumlocution Office” is a challenge, and with the monstrous “Barnacle” family, Dickens once more thumbs his nose, by naming the family after a limpet-like marine animal, which lies on its back and attaches itself to anything solid, such as a ship forging ahead and destroying everything in its path. This is another metaphor for that great destroyer of originality, the Circumlocution office. It is a self-serving system of sinecures; a place where all the employees learn “how not to do it”, where all innovation, creativity, individualism and enterprise are efficiently stifled and ultimately quashed. Together with the Stiltstalkings, the Barnacles infest both government and society, going around in circles, spewing red tape, and accomplishing nothing. They ensure that no business which might promote the common good is ever done, crushing both originality and initiative, and rendering all relationships false. This damning satiric representation of the Civil Service draws on Dickens’s view of the recent government’s bad decisions during the Crimean War (which they expected would take 12 weeks, but in fact took twelve months, three major land battles and countless actions resulting in loss of life on a massive scale) coupled with the leftover cynicism from his own days as a young parliamentary reporter. Dickens was well placed to comment on the Civil Service, and his view was savage, waspish — and also very witty. Chapter 10: “Containing the Whole Science of Government” is possibly the funniest thing Dickens ever wrote — and that’s really saying something! The extraordinary achievement of Little Dorrit is that such a devastating and dour indictment of British society and institutions can be so very readable, so topical, yet at the same time so current, in its description of the never-ending wheels grinding on in the Civil Service — and to contain such delightful characters. Dickens’s characters can be recognised in any age; he knew how to write about the familiar types of people we all know. I can see Mrs Merdle with her “Bird, be quiet!”, and the awful spectacle of Mr Dorrit with his airs and graces, posturing, hemming and hawing “hem — hah — ah”. I can see the heart-rending picture of an over-large child, Maggy, Amy’s mentally disabled friend with her “large features, large feet and hands, large eyes and no hair”, devotedly following her diminutive friend Amy round like a little dog, with an inner conviction that if they all go to “’orspital” everything will be all right. I can see timid beaten Affery, worrying about “those two clever ones” always plotting. I can see the appalling “varnishing” of the smooth-tongued Mrs General, employed as a tutor to Fanny and Amy, with her insistence on reciting “Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism” at every opportunity, in order to keep the lips in the desired pouting positions: “[her] way of forming a mind was to prevent it from forming opinions. She had a little circular set of mental grooves or rails on which she started little trains of other people’s opinions, which never overtook one another, and never got anywhere”. And now I can see the final scene in the book open up before my eyes. The two characters we have been rooting for most, come out of the church of St George the Martyr, in Southwark, and are swallowed up in the roar of the city: “[they pause] for a moment on the steps of the portico looking at the fresh perspective of the street in the autumn morning sun’s bright rays, and then went down. Went down into a modest life of usefulness and happiness ... into the roaring streets, inseparable and blessed.” Curiously enough, in the church of St George the Martyr now, Little Dorrit herself is still to be seen. If you approach the altar and look up at the left panel of the magnificent stained glass window behind it, you will see the figure of St George, see that his foot is resting on a piece of parchment. Directly beneath this is a much smaller, kneeling figure of a girl, whose hands are clasped in prayer, and whose poke-bonnet is dangling from her back. This is “Little Dorrit”: Dickens always provides us with neatly tied up endings, in which mostly the evil characters get their just deserts, and our heroes achieve some sort of happiness, or growth. We have that here, but we also have a deep sense of doom, or foreboding. Their destinies lie heavily shrouded in the ether; the fug of the city. George Bernard Shaw considered Little Dorrit to be Dickens’s “masterpiece among many masterpieces”. I cannot think of a more apt description.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Now this book is primarily a love story although in a convoluted narrative, containing fraud, murder, suicide and hate, domestic violence...plenty of that, mystery, weird noises in a dilapidated mansion, the lopsided shaped edifice, inside an old recluse woman with bitter memories and a son which he and her the mother, dislike each other stating it mildly.... A evil man who likes doing evil things, however some think this is a comedy ....to each their own. Arthur Clennam the son after twenty ye Now this book is primarily a love story although in a convoluted narrative, containing fraud, murder, suicide and hate, domestic violence...plenty of that, mystery, weird noises in a dilapidated mansion, the lopsided shaped edifice, inside an old recluse woman with bitter memories and a son which he and her the mother, dislike each other stating it mildly.... A evil man who likes doing evil things, however some think this is a comedy ....to each their own. Arthur Clennam the son after twenty years in China working with the recently deceased father in business comes home at the age of forty a virtual stranger in his native land of England...And the people old friends and particularly relatives unknown, they in reality are strangers . Mother, Mrs. Clennam cold, intelligent, unforgiving lady with dark secrets in a wheelchair for many years...her eyes show hatred and Mr.Clennam wonders why ? The parents were for a numerous time, estranged. In the same house a poor little woman of 22, Amy Dorrit a part time servant there that for obvious reasons Arthur calls "Little Dorrit," the timid girl doesn't mind...Her father William has been in debtors prison, Marshalsea for 23 years... still the amenable man becomes the leader of the inmates, surviving by accepting small gifts from the unlucky creatures, the poor giving to the poorer . But of course his daughter Amy lives with him in the ugly compound taking care of the wretch, the widower two other children envious Fanny , and Edward the drunk have shed the bad remembrances or tried to and live outside, not very well though. Arthur falls for Amy but being 18 years older is he entitled, feeling uncomfortable and sees various women, Flora a lady he almost married but the flame is out only Little Dorrit can lite . Starting a new business with Daniel Doyce a brilliant inventor lacking the ways of bookkeeping they are perfect until the troubles begin; money or not enough as it is everywhere. However the wealthiest man in England all say Mr. Merdle, has a get- rich- quick business proposition, Arthur is tempted. Then Mr.Blandois, not his real name for sure he has many, the evil man mentioned before, reenters the scene bringing gloom and destruction for those unable or unwilling to pay up, a mustached villain with a pointed nose the very image of mid 19th century, blackmail is his game. To anyone who has read Mr. Dickens will surmise the ending but the fun is taking the long log (obstacles ) road getting there. Little Dorrit is such a lovable girl which any person with a heart will love. The bad thing is they only exist in fiction.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Baba

    My favourite Dickens of them all, and this was just the first time I'd read this! I felt that this was Dickens' primary take on the tightrope that the masses tried to balance their lives on to survive, with the very real threat of possible and quick imprisonment hanging over them all. A grand tale of fortunes won and lost, that reveals so much about Victorian society. Back from overseas, Arthur Clennan takes a kindly interest in his family's seamstress Amy Dorrit, and her father who's in a debtor My favourite Dickens of them all, and this was just the first time I'd read this! I felt that this was Dickens' primary take on the tightrope that the masses tried to balance their lives on to survive, with the very real threat of possible and quick imprisonment hanging over them all. A grand tale of fortunes won and lost, that reveals so much about Victorian society. Back from overseas, Arthur Clennan takes a kindly interest in his family's seamstress Amy Dorrit, and her father who's in a debtor's prison. Through these relationships Clennan (and I, the reader) get to see how the system doesn't work; and the significant impact debtors' imprisonment has not only on the families involved, but on society as a whole. This was part of a journey I was undertaking to read most of Dickens work, but I was not prepared to find such a gem as this. A wonderful reflection of Dickens in his writing maturity, and hopefully a story for the ages. Splendid! 9 out of 12.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stas'

    A forgotten classic, hidden among so many other fine works that Chuck produced. I laughed, I cried and I nearly peed myself because I refused to put the book down. It has been clinically proven that those who find Dickens too maudlin or sentimental are either emotionally stunted or full-on cold hearted sociopaths. Clinically proven. Not suprisingly, Kafka loved this book what with the Circumlocution Office and the strange almost alternate reality of Marshalsea Debtors Prison. If you have never re A forgotten classic, hidden among so many other fine works that Chuck produced. I laughed, I cried and I nearly peed myself because I refused to put the book down. It has been clinically proven that those who find Dickens too maudlin or sentimental are either emotionally stunted or full-on cold hearted sociopaths. Clinically proven. Not suprisingly, Kafka loved this book what with the Circumlocution Office and the strange almost alternate reality of Marshalsea Debtors Prison. If you have never read Dickens, give yourself a good hard slap now and get started. Ah Charles, still the champion of the Big Engrossing Superbly Written Novel.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Violet wells

    If only Dickens didn't almost always place at the heart of his novels the adored meek little girl woman. She's rarely the shining moral light he wants her to be. Because she's created with too much sentimentality. Sentimentality is his other problem. If only he had seen more worth in trees and less in pretty garden flowers. But his novels always end in a domesticated garden with pretty flowerbeds and trimmed hedgerows and lawns. I had to abandon David Copperfield because for me the onslaughts of If only Dickens didn't almost always place at the heart of his novels the adored meek little girl woman. She's rarely the shining moral light he wants her to be. Because she's created with too much sentimentality. Sentimentality is his other problem. If only he had seen more worth in trees and less in pretty garden flowers. But his novels always end in a domesticated garden with pretty flowerbeds and trimmed hedgerows and lawns. I had to abandon David Copperfield because for me the onslaughts of whimsy ruined all the brilliant stuff. That said, I had a whale of a time with Little Dorrit. Yes, I wanted to shake Little Dorrit herself at times and found myself more supportive of her flawed and not entirely nice sister but this novel is so brilliantly put together, features so many masterpieces of character study and is such a fabulous biting and very funny satire of the ruling class, the privileged elite, which has lost none of its bite and relevance, that it's a joyous read from beginning to end. I've fallen in love with Charles Dickens again.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    UPDATE: 11/2020 I have upgraded my rating to 5-stars and feeling quite different toward both Amy Dorrit and the other characters of Little Dorrit this time around. I read the book very slowly (one chapter a day) with full discussions in the Dickensians group, and my appreciation of it rose daily. I'm afraid one read is just not enough for this complex and profound novel. My hat is always off to Mr. Dickens, one of the greatest writers of all time. ******************************** Dickens built his UPDATE: 11/2020 I have upgraded my rating to 5-stars and feeling quite different toward both Amy Dorrit and the other characters of Little Dorrit this time around. I read the book very slowly (one chapter a day) with full discussions in the Dickensians group, and my appreciation of it rose daily. I'm afraid one read is just not enough for this complex and profound novel. My hat is always off to Mr. Dickens, one of the greatest writers of all time. ******************************** Dickens built his novel, Little Dorrit, around the life of inmates of the Marshalsea Prison, and drew from some very personal experiences to do so. I did not find these characters as compelling nor his plot as tight as usual, but still a worthy read and much enjoyed. Amy Dorrit (whose moniker of “Little Dorrit” aggravated me), is a bit too perfect, sweet and unselfish for my tastes; Arthur Clennam a bit too clueless about his own feelings and what was going on with others; and our major villain Rigaud a little too much like Snidely Whiplash, right down to the twisting of the moustache. The loves and hates in this novel were also somewhat contrived. Of course, those emotions can be pretty arbitrary in real life. We’ve probably all known people who hate beyond the bounds of the offense they have endured and one person or another who has professed to love someone who was obviously a cad and below their worthiness. Mainly, however, I did not feel that the explanation for the mysteries at the heart of the novel really made good sense. So, not on a level with Great Expectations or Bleak House , but still...a bad Dickens is better than almost anyone else, it is the high expectations that cause the problem. If you ever suffer from the idea that the problems of Charles Dickens’ world won’t have correlatives in our world, you ought to read Little Dorrit . Sprinkled amid the convoluted story of Amy Dorrit and Arthur Clennam is a diatribe on bureaucracy that felt far too familiar. Perhaps it is uniquely American (of course NOT) that people in government seem more interested in “not doing” than in “doing”, but I could so totally relate to the red tape approach to running off the petitioner, and I’m betting everyone else who has ever tried to deal with government can as well. Hold up your hand if Mr. Rugg’s comments here ring true: ”If the money I have sacrificed had been all my own, Mr. Rugg,” sighed Mr. Clennam, “I should have cared far less. “Indeed sir? said Mr. Rugg, rubbing his hands with a cheerful air. “You surprise me. That’s singular, sir. I have generally found, in my experience, that it’s their own money people are most particular about. I have seen people get rid of a good deal of other people’s money, and bear it very well; very well indeed.” Oops, too many to count. And, when I came across this passage, I could not help thinking of Bernie Madoff: Numbers of men in every profession and trade would be blighted by his insolvency; old people who had been in easy circumstances all their lives would have no place of repentance for their trust in him but the workhouse; legions of women and children would have their whole future desolated by the hand of this mighty scoundrel. Every partaker of his magnificent feasts would be seen to have been a sharer in the plunder of innumerable homes, every servile worshipper of riches who had helped to set him on his pedestal, would have done better to worship the Devil point blank. But what really struck me was that he was admired by one of the characters for pulling the deception off so universally, and I gasped because I had an acquaintance who actually made that statement about Madoff…"You have to admire him for his cleverness”, he said. NO, NO and NO. Would you not think people would have learned between 1855 and 2008? Apparently human nature thrives on the same errors repeated over centuries. There is much that could be said about this novel and, like every Dickens I have read, it would make for a marvelous group read. If you want to know more and delve deeper, I strongly suggest that you take the time to read the review written by Bionic Jean, our resident Dickens guru, who never gets it wrong and always enlightens my reading. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I was afraid I was going to fail in my quest to read all of Dickens by culling two a year off my list. Thankfully, I have finished Little Dorrit just in time to satisfy this year. I read Hard Times as well. I have Martin Chuzzlewit, about which I know nothing, and The Old Curiosity Shop, a story I am very familiar with but have not ever read, slated for 2019. It would be lovely if I could up the ante and squeeze in a third! I must say I have enjoyed every single novel so far.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Emerging from Little Dorrit like Clennam from the Marshalsea Prison, after debts are paid and the story over, I feel a little bit like him as well! How could you possibly leave a place like Dickens' Little Dorrit, once you were locked up with the characters? How could you possibly stray from the fate of the Dorrits and the Meagleses and the Merdles and the Casbys and Finchings and Panckses and Plornishes and Chiverys and Blandois-Rigauds? When you are locked up in the dark corner of Dickens' late Emerging from Little Dorrit like Clennam from the Marshalsea Prison, after debts are paid and the story over, I feel a little bit like him as well! How could you possibly leave a place like Dickens' Little Dorrit, once you were locked up with the characters? How could you possibly stray from the fate of the Dorrits and the Meagleses and the Merdles and the Casbys and Finchings and Panckses and Plornishes and Chiverys and Blandois-Rigauds? When you are locked up in the dark corner of Dickens' late work, you don't have the freedom to take a walk in the bright sunshine of other books. You don't have the free air to breathe in a Goodreads review and send off some comments here and there, just for the easy-going pleasure of it. YOU HAVE TO STICK IT OUT! A thousand pages, a thousand feelings, a thousand worries to share. After a thousand pages, the paperback book will have a story of its own to tell: ripped and torn and smudged and folded and squeezed and cherished and stroked with the caring hand of Amy Dorrit, it will tell the story of the reader who dropped everything and forgot the rest to make sure that a house came crashing down on the evil spirit of Blandois and that Dorrit's riches wouldn't stay to prevent Amy's happiness. Society - that Invisible Monster - came out quite unscathed, as always, but for Little Dorrit and her friends, and for Clennam and Doyce in particular, failing in the social and financial machinery will only make them stronger in pursuing what is truly happiness: community and friendship and love in the strangest of places. Locked up or set free: hearts are never prisoners in the company of those they love.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    What a book. One of Dickens's best - a truly fantastic, moving clever novel, and an absolute favourite of mine. What a book. One of Dickens's best - a truly fantastic, moving clever novel, and an absolute favourite of mine.

  10. 5 out of 5

    B0nnie

    Little Dorrit is a wonderful comic novel. Within these gentle pages are: -a severely brain damaged woman who was beaten and neglected by her alcoholic mother -a bitter old lady who just sits in a room for 15 years -evil twin brothers -an abusive husband who beats and torments his wife -spoiled twin sisters, one who kicks it early and is replaced by a resentful orphan -an innocent man rotting away in prison for years -children who are born and raised in prison -a suicide -a murder -in articulo mortis m Little Dorrit is a wonderful comic novel. Within these gentle pages are: -a severely brain damaged woman who was beaten and neglected by her alcoholic mother -a bitter old lady who just sits in a room for 15 years -evil twin brothers -an abusive husband who beats and torments his wife -spoiled twin sisters, one who kicks it early and is replaced by a resentful orphan -an innocent man rotting away in prison for years -children who are born and raised in prison -a suicide -a murder -in articulo mortis misery -paralysis and stroke -blackmail -a dog beaten to death -a catastrophic collapse of a building -the Tite Barnacle Branch of the Circumlocution Office, a government agency that suggests Kafka and The Trial “It being one of the principles of the Circumlocution Office never, on any account whatever, to give a straightforward answer . . . it was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart.” -a variety of themes, including imprisonment, incarceration, quarantine and detention. Also twins, doubles, and aliases. Little Dorrit is a pleasure to read in spite of all the gloom & misery - *that* is Dickens’s power. The ending though, is rather hasty and muddled. If I weren’t so lazy I’d draw a chart which would clarify this mess, but suffice it to say that there is no incest.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alasse

    I have a really close friend - let's call him Charlie. Charlie began college at 18, like most of us did. Then he sort of started drifting, and his friends began to suspect he wasn't sitting his exams. The years went by, and gradually they began to realize he wasn't even enrolling. He just avoided the issue, or made such an elaborate pretense of being terribly busy during exam season, they tacitly left the whole thing alone. To this day, he hasn't officially quit university or laid out any altern I have a really close friend - let's call him Charlie. Charlie began college at 18, like most of us did. Then he sort of started drifting, and his friends began to suspect he wasn't sitting his exams. The years went by, and gradually they began to realize he wasn't even enrolling. He just avoided the issue, or made such an elaborate pretense of being terribly busy during exam season, they tacitly left the whole thing alone. To this day, he hasn't officially quit university or laid out any alternative plans for his life - he's just frozen. But he's made such a good job of obliterating the issue, he firmly believes he's eventually finishing law school. He's 30 now. We talk on an almost daily basis, and I have never discussed this with him. I thought a lot about Charlie while reading Little Dorrit. I'm not going to dwell on the main themes in this novel. Firstly, because I have nothing to add that hasn't already been covered in the previous reviews. The imprisonment motif, the dysfunctional families, the criticism of Victorian society and of government incompetence - they're all there, and they're probably what the novel is about, mostly. But they didn't exactly surprise me - rather, those are topics one can always count on Dickens for covering in his, at the same time, sarcastic and empathic style. In this respect, the book delivers better than almost any Dickens I've read to date. The whole subplot concerning the fictional Circumlocution Office is borderline Kafkian, and the family melodrama gets dark. Like, really dark. But that is not the novel I have read. Which is embarrassing, because it's the novel all of the scholars have read, and all of GR's reviewers too. Meaning what I'm going to say now is going to sound, really, really pretentious. Okay, here I come: that's not what Little Dorrit really talks about. *ducks* I don't know if it was intentional on Dickens's part or just a result of his criticism of Victorian society, but if you pay close attention to the character development, you'll realize what I mean. Almost every main character in this novel (and a good portion of the secondary ones as well) are bent on deceiving themselves as methodically as possible. Sure, there are a couple of people here and there who pretend in front of other people, but they aren't believing their own lies. Still, pretty much everybody else is investing so much energy on self-deception, and making such a point of believing their own lies, I sometimes felt exhausted just watching them. There's of course the Dorrit family, with their airs of self-importance and wounded pride, overcompensating for the fact that they've been penniless for the last 25 years. Flora Finching insists on behaving like the 15-year old she once was, in the hopes that her old lover will propose to her again. Arthur insists on shutting off his feelings for Minnie Gowan, even after it becomes obvious that he's feeling deeply disappointed - the whole subplot is told in the third person, in a way that strongly reminded me of a depersonalization episode once recounted to me by a schizophrenic patient. And on, and on, and on. Of course I'm not claiming to know Dickens's mind better than the Harold Blooms of this world. But trust me - if you're at all interested in why people do what they do, you'll find Little Dorrit isn't just about bureaucracy and poverty. In fact, it might be that it's about the power of the human nature for believing its own lies, and how everyone else is just too polite to tell you to shut up.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    Little Dorrit is a dark tale written by Charles Dickens. It is dark in texture, atmosphere, and satire. The story begins in a prison and also technically ends in one. The prison atmosphere dominates the story even when it's not present. And as it happens, most of the other settings in London too, have a similar ambiance of confinement, gloom, and airlessness. It was at first puzzling why Dickens set such a gloomy tone to the story, but when it is understood that the setting is a necessary charac Little Dorrit is a dark tale written by Charles Dickens. It is dark in texture, atmosphere, and satire. The story begins in a prison and also technically ends in one. The prison atmosphere dominates the story even when it's not present. And as it happens, most of the other settings in London too, have a similar ambiance of confinement, gloom, and airlessness. It was at first puzzling why Dickens set such a gloomy tone to the story, but when it is understood that the setting is a necessary character to work on the dominating themes of the story, all felt into a pattern. The main reason that induced Dickens to write this story is his need to expose the obstacles that operated to impede the forward progress of the country. He wanted to show what imprisoned the country, robbing it of its air, light, and freedom. Everything was confined and weighed down by government bureaucracy by their maxim of "how not to do it", and also by the false patriots who represent them as major contributors to the country's finances, boasting as saviors of the people when in fact they are nothing but a bunch of swindlers who squeezes and robs people of their hard-earned money. Dickens, with his dark satire, exposes this duplicity. Following the publication of Little Dorrit, Dickens was accused of exaggeration. Perhaps, he did, for the book was a creative art, but it also was evidence that the message has hit home. The book consists of two parts - the first part is named "poverty" and the second part is named "riches". As the names indicate, the story is a comparison and contrast between these two ends. The exploitation of the poor by the rich is a common theme in many Dickens novels, and here he does it by exposing the shocking living conditions of the poor, living in cramped, dirty houses while the landlord's, from their comfortable houses, unmercifully demanded the due rents when the tenants were barely scratching a living to feed their families, and this too with no thought for the improvement of the place. This showed in whose hands the power laid. And then there is the condescending patronizing of the poor by the rich which was prompted not out from true kindness, but from their vanity and love to differentiate. Some of the literary critics have described this 11th book of Dickens as a 19th-century criticism of Capitalism. There is some truth in it no doubt, for otherwise, George Bernard Shaw wouldn't have declared that the book turned him to socialism. Other than the social criticism, Dickens's personal views and experiences too have made strong contributions to the story, especially regarding a debtor's position. It was customary when a person is found in heavy debt and unable to meet his creditors for the creditor to execute a writ and imprison him in a debtor's prison (a similar situation was faced by Dickens's father). But Dickens seems to doubt the productivity of such action. Unless the creditors can be relieved by some friend or relative, meeting their demands, the debtor has no way to meet them as he is imprisoned and cannot earn. What benefit will the creditors reap by confining the debtor into a prison, except for a possible vengeance? These thoughts run subtly through the pages of the story. Immersed in this social commentary and personal opinions is a beautiful story of courage, perseverance, and selflessness. The titular character, Little Dorrit, is the good angel, the loving heroine. With a quiet strength and an unusual forbearance, she labours for others both in their good times and in their affliction. She herself is steadfast equally in her poverty and her riches. Arthur Clennam, the center of the story, despite the title, is Little Dorrit's male counterpart. He comes to our story having passed his youth in toil for his family business. His youth was sacrificed for duty and he continues with this duty and many other duties he takes upon him in the course of his life, having resigned his own hopes of love and marriage thinking that his time for such pursuits has passed. Arthur is a new hero that I came across in a Dickens novel, one I cannot compare with, unlike Little Dorrit, the dutiful daughter, sister, wife, and friend who we have met in Dickens's novels before. I liked both these characters. They made me quite emotional. Their misfortunes, miseries, losses, and heartbreaks became my own too. That is the extent of closeness that I felt for them. I was happy that they were both rewarded at the end for the many sacrifices they've made. Dickens's writing is rich and heavy, unusually so than other Dickens novels I've read. Reading was almost a battle in the field of his verbosity. There is always the debate when it comes to Dickens that he could have done with fewer words and it is because he had to stick to a certain amount of serial installments that so many words came forth from his pen. But it is also a characteristic of Dickens that if you do away with it, certainly it will lose the pleasure of reading him. What I found most fascinating in Dickens's writing in Little Dorrit, however, is the use of symbology to bring out different quirks of his characters. I don't know if I've missed observing this style in his other works, but since I observed it only here, its novelty was welcoming. Reading Dickens is always a pleasant journey. It takes you to memorable places and characters you'll never forget. It also gives a good account of 19th-century Victorian society with its strengths and its flaws. I also like the fact that I'm drawn to that time through his writing and living the history of a memorable period in England. I experienced the same in Little Dorrit. Except in one, Dickens hasn't disappointed me so far, and that may be why I keep looking forward to reading him more.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Helene Jeppesen

    Wow, having disliked a lot of Dickens' novels in the past I'm surprised how much "Little Dorrit" appealed to me. While I was a bit confused as to the ending and the several characters and all their relations (I had to look up an analysis online just to make sure I got it all right), I still think that this is a really telling, humorous and interesting story. What I liked the most about this 1000-page-novel was the story of Little Dorrit and how she was raised. I have never read of a character li Wow, having disliked a lot of Dickens' novels in the past I'm surprised how much "Little Dorrit" appealed to me. While I was a bit confused as to the ending and the several characters and all their relations (I had to look up an analysis online just to make sure I got it all right), I still think that this is a really telling, humorous and interesting story. What I liked the most about this 1000-page-novel was the story of Little Dorrit and how she was raised. I have never read of a character like hers before, and I found it hugely entertaining to dive into her story and also see how she develops over the 1000 pages. I was also amused with the satiric paragraphs that are very typical of Dickens and which worked, in my opinion. It was funny and it was sarcastic, and I appreciated it a lot for that. All in all, it's hard to cover all of the 1000 pages and all of the underlying storylines in just a few words. Let's just say that this is, in my opinion, one of Dickens' better works because it is more simple, original and overall very much entertaining and typical for the Victorian literary era.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    Little Dorrit is one of the less reviewed Dickens, it is clearly not “up there” with Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist and whatnot. I wish I could advance a theory as to why but I can’t because Little Dorrit really does deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as those acclaimed titles. Anyway, it’s been years since I read a Dickens and it is always nice to pick one up. I just get a kick out of his writing style, the way the prose occasionally switch into a poetic / rhythm Little Dorrit is one of the less reviewed Dickens, it is clearly not “up there” with Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist and whatnot. I wish I could advance a theory as to why but I can’t because Little Dorrit really does deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as those acclaimed titles. Anyway, it’s been years since I read a Dickens and it is always nice to pick one up. I just get a kick out of his writing style, the way the prose occasionally switch into a poetic / rhythmic mode, the way every character seems to have their own distinctive speech pattern and catch phrases, and the characters and story of course. I am fairly useless at deciphering themes from novels but if there is a single overriding theme in Little Dorrit that communicates itself to me I would say it is the virtue of modesty. The eponymous Little Dorrit (real name Amy Dorrit) is a young lady of twenty+, small in stature, unassuming in manner, without an atom of malice, kindly and virtuous to a fault. She is one of Dickens’ angelic girl stock characters. Yet the novel also shows that always being self-sacrificing, never thinking or doing anything for oneself can lead to a lot of unhappiness and being taken for granted by the people we are servicing. (TV Tropes.com classify this character type as “Incorruptible Pure Pureness”!). Sometimes I am a little resentful that Dickens expects me to love this shrinking violet of a character but her niceness does club me into submission after a while. If only real people could be like this. “This is the way in which she is doomed to be a constant slave to them that are not worthy that a constant slave she unto them should be.” Besides being a character study Dickens also has a lot to say about the bureaucracy, the class system of the time, debtors prisons and whatnot. I don’t want to go into details about such weighty matters but a special note should be made for the Circumlocution Office, a fictional government office which is a great bit of lampooning about red tapes. Dickens’ prose is great to read as always, sometimes beautiful, sometimes sarcastic, and sometimes hilarious. The dialogue similarly ranges from silly to heartfelt and profound, it brought a lump to this throat a few times. A very rare thing while reading I assure you. I am more sedimental than sentimental. In rating the book so high I am really cutting Dickens a lot of slack. His usage of deus ex machina at several plot points is a little outrageous. People become rich and poor at the drop of a hat, buildings fall on people just because they deserve it. Still, the way I see it a five stars rating does not indicate that the book is perfect; it just means that I like it a lot and am willing to forgive its flaws. If you were made to read Dickens at school and have consequently been avoiding him like the plague to this day as an adult reader I would suggest you give him another try. Personally, I am always up for a bit of Dickens, my favorite Victorian author probably. ________________________ Notes: • This review is based on the audiobook version amazingly well read by Mil Nicholson (with voices and accents galore), available for free at Librivox. • The BBC adaptation is very good (they almost always are).

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anne (On semi-hiatus)

    This book has been reviewed so many times there is nothing new that I can add. I read this book with the Dickensians group, one chapter per day for 70 days. This was a wonderful experience. Thank you so much to Jean for working so hard at moderating this group, providing summaries, interpretations and other information every single day. The experience of reading and understanding this novel was so much richer given all of your much appreciated hard work and knowledge. I love Dickens writing, es This book has been reviewed so many times there is nothing new that I can add. I read this book with the Dickensians group, one chapter per day for 70 days. This was a wonderful experience. Thank you so much to Jean for working so hard at moderating this group, providing summaries, interpretations and other information every single day. The experience of reading and understanding this novel was so much richer given all of your much appreciated hard work and knowledge. I love Dickens writing, especially his satire which is brilliant. He is simply a joy to read. His satire of bureaucratic government offices and the men who run them was one of my favorite parts of this novel, perhaps because it is still so apt today, especially in the U.S.. The ending was beautiful and perfect. As my friend Violeta would say, (view spoiler)["who doesn't like a happy ending?" (hide spoiler)]

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Newton

    Ah, Dickens and his paragons. I adore Dickens, but his paragons are no different from anyone else’s—they’re excruciatingly dull. They’re stuffed full of every high-minded, moral quality with nary an inch for any of the less-attractive, negative qualities the rest of us mere mortals possess. They face their trials and tribulations with gentle courage and purity, braving despair, degradation, and death, and they escape unscathed, as innocent as newborn lambs. I thought, at first, that Little Dorri Ah, Dickens and his paragons. I adore Dickens, but his paragons are no different from anyone else’s—they’re excruciatingly dull. They’re stuffed full of every high-minded, moral quality with nary an inch for any of the less-attractive, negative qualities the rest of us mere mortals possess. They face their trials and tribulations with gentle courage and purity, braving despair, degradation, and death, and they escape unscathed, as innocent as newborn lambs. I thought, at first, that Little Dorrit was going to be one of these angels without wings. Happily, I was not completely right. Don’t get me wrong! She’s pretty darn innocent and pure. The difference is that, unlike some of Dickens’ other virtuous characters, we’re allowed a little more access to her mind. We see that she has fears, there are people she dislikes, and she recognizes some bad behavior when she sees it. Amy Dorrit (sorry, Amy—I prefer your given name to “Little Dorrit”), while mind-bogglingly forgiving of those she loves, seems a little more fleshed-out and real than I expected her to be when first introduced to her. And she only fainted once (or maybe twice). Still, that’s not too bad for one of Dickens’ ingénues, you gotta admit. Little Dorrit follows the lives and adventures of Amy Dorrit and Arthur Clennam. They meet while Amy is working as a seamstress for Arthur’s very unpleasant mother, and he is taken by her air of gentle sweetness. She is in her early twenties, but looks much younger, so Arthur persistently views her as a child. He befriends her and also gets to know her family. Amy has the dubious distinction of being the first child ever to be born and raised in Marshelsea prison, where her father is imprisoned for debt. This part draws on Dickens’ personal experience of having his own parent incarcerated in this same prison for this same offense. Just as the Dorrit family did, Dickens’ own family joins their patriarch in the prison (Charles didn’t, but was no less humiliated about the whole situation). Mr. Dorrit deals with his humiliation by affecting airs of gentility and lording it over the other prisoners as “a gentleman fallen on hard times.” Eventually, his arrogant attitude and his sheer longevity earn him the title of “Father of the Marshelsea,” and his air of condescension would have done a duke proud. Amy’s brother and sister are whiny, entitled (somehow!) brats who blame everyone else for their problems and generally bully their baby sister. Amy alone feels the shame of their position, but her loving nature forgives her family’s crass self-centeredness and ignorance. This book follows the ups and downs of Amy’s and Arthur Clennams’s fortunes, and both of them experience the extremes of wealth during the story. There is so much going on in this book—mysteries and secrets, unrequited love and heartbreak, shady characters and innocent victims, blackmail and fraud . . . and money. Everything comes back to money. We go from the elegant salons of the uber-rich to the dank cells of the imprisoned impoverished . . . and sometimes these people trade places! Dickens is at his satirical best here, as he skewers both the arrogance and pretensions of the upper classes, as well as the delusions of the power of wealth by the economically disadvantaged. Their comfortable conviction of their own superiority, their reverence for Mr. Merdle solely for his power to make money, and their embrace of Fanny, the former dancer, after she becomes wealthy lays bare their venality and hypocrisy. The Dorrits, meanwhile, bemoan their lot in life and their lack of means to support their station, but are no happier when they are suddenly in possession of the wealth they had long dreamed of. And of course, there is the portrayal of the benevolent powers of government. This is a literary portrait of true beauty, and Dickens’ deft touch is sublime to behold. He presents us with the all-powerful, awe-inspiring Circumlocution Office (literally: talking in circles), which is mostly staffed by the members of a socially prominent family by the name of Barnacle (another jibe!), and the sole aim of this government office is to show how NOT to do things. They are very careful to never actually accomplish anything or help anyone—that would be beyond the pale! Dickens’ presentation of this institution is laugh-out-loud funny. There were SO many quotable lines that I just couldn’t include them all in my status updates, or it would have taken me twice as long to finish this book! I’m not going to go into all the characters, sub-plots, and mysteries in this book: there are so many! It’s quite an entertaining read, and contains a host of Dickens’ trademark minor characters, such as Flora, Clennam’s ex, who speaks in stream-of-consciousness, and her slightly-addled bequest, known only as “Mr. F’s Aunt.” There’s Young John Chivery, the lovelorn turnkey, and Edward Sparkler, the brainless stepson of “the eighth wonder of the world,” Mr. Merdle. As with all of Dickens’ books, I highly recommend it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    Having not fallen fully under the sway of Dickens’s longest, Bleak House, we’re back to the savagely impressive corkers with this satirical and tender effort from the Immortal Blighty Scribe (IBS—unfortunate acronym). On a less grandiose scale than the preceding tome, Little Dorrit is much quieter, funnier, more powerfully affecting novel throughout than BH. In two parts, Poverty & Riches, the novel charts the progress of Amy Dorrit, (the token spirit of purity and goodness), and her family from Having not fallen fully under the sway of Dickens’s longest, Bleak House, we’re back to the savagely impressive corkers with this satirical and tender effort from the Immortal Blighty Scribe (IBS—unfortunate acronym). On a less grandiose scale than the preceding tome, Little Dorrit is much quieter, funnier, more powerfully affecting novel throughout than BH. In two parts, Poverty & Riches, the novel charts the progress of Amy Dorrit, (the token spirit of purity and goodness), and her family from Marshelsea debtors’ prison into a shaky life of infinite riches and never-ending Italian holidays. Central to the novel is her father William, who replaces his memories of destitution with violent hauteur, and whose mental collapse is rendered with masterful swings of wrenching drama. Clenham is the more complex, reticent hero, almost frustratingly dim in spots, but no less than impeccable on the moral scruples front. Apart from a sudden gallop into action-packed melodrama in the last 100pp or so, and a byzantine final-reveal sequence to out-Lost Lost, Little Dorrit goes straight atop the essential-Dickens pile, along with all the others. [And a final warning to Oxford World’s Classics: if you make your fonts any smaller, I will send in the midget assassins]. Recent Andrew Davies BBC version on YT

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    A chapter-a-day group read with the Dickensians! group, starting September 15. Adding some variety to my reading diet. :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)

    Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens is arguably one of the very best fiction books I've read in my entire life. I would unhesitatingly recommend this book to anyone. It was captivating, engaging, and at times humorous, and at other times sad; with romance, mystery, and intrigue. Dickens' plotting is amazing, his characters intriguing, and his descriptions solidly place you in the midst of London in the Victorian Age in all social classes. The message and moral tone of this novel is so incredibly ap Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens is arguably one of the very best fiction books I've read in my entire life. I would unhesitatingly recommend this book to anyone. It was captivating, engaging, and at times humorous, and at other times sad; with romance, mystery, and intrigue. Dickens' plotting is amazing, his characters intriguing, and his descriptions solidly place you in the midst of London in the Victorian Age in all social classes. The message and moral tone of this novel is so incredibly applicable to today's economic and social conditions. A fabulous book; and made even more fabulous with watching the sumptuous Andrew Davies screenplay brought to life in the multi-episode BBC adaptation that aired originally in March-April 2009 on Masterpiece Classics on PBS TV. I think that Little Dorrit is an important book, not only for our time, but anytime, and a book that I simply love to revisit every few years.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Though the title character is static, never wavering, by the end, she has transformed into a symbol. I was reminded of the title character in My Ántonia in that she too becomes a symbol by her book’s end—a symbol of an ideal American woman. In much the same way, Amy Dorrit is the symbol of ideal English womanhood, at least in the eyes of the time period: taking care of her difficult father, always with patience and love; sticking by her man, doing all for him, even when he’s not aware of it. Tho Though the title character is static, never wavering, by the end, she has transformed into a symbol. I was reminded of the title character in My Ántonia in that she too becomes a symbol by her book’s end—a symbol of an ideal American woman. In much the same way, Amy Dorrit is the symbol of ideal English womanhood, at least in the eyes of the time period: taking care of her difficult father, always with patience and love; sticking by her man, doing all for him, even when he’s not aware of it. Though Little Dorrit is Duty personified—never drudging Duty, always loving Duty—she’s not submissive; and it’s rather amazing that Dickens does get this across, even to modern-day sensibilities. She’s even surprisingly forward at one juncture. Because I am not of the 19th century, when I read this in the 20th century, I loved the character of the bitter Miss Wade. Her articulation of her anger at her lot in life drew me in. Now, in the 21st century, reading Miss Wade’s letter, I didn’t feel the same frisson; but she’s still my favorite of this bunch: a powerful psychological portrait by Dickens. Miss Wade is clearly not Dickens’ favorite, yet he doesn’t punish her as much as the time he was writing in might’ve expected. The last page of the novel is exquisite, a perfect rendering of an oasis of peace amidst a world that will never shut up. (A reread with the Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Good god, was this a snoozer. I love Charles Dickens like nobody's business, but this book was about 600 pages longer than it needed to be. If he was getting paid by the page, I'm not hatin', but it seemed to drag on and on and on without really going anywhere. Little Dorrit herself is a really boring character because she is a meek little Mary Sue whose entire personality consists of being weak, submissive, and a pushover to everybody else. The plot is kind of vague and poorly defined and goes Good god, was this a snoozer. I love Charles Dickens like nobody's business, but this book was about 600 pages longer than it needed to be. If he was getting paid by the page, I'm not hatin', but it seemed to drag on and on and on without really going anywhere. Little Dorrit herself is a really boring character because she is a meek little Mary Sue whose entire personality consists of being weak, submissive, and a pushover to everybody else. The plot is kind of vague and poorly defined and goes off into weird tangents at times. I finished the book with a few things left unanswered, and the ending felt kind of anticlimactic and rushed (sort of ironic given how the pace dragged the rest of the way). Where this book shines is in Dickens' wonderfully written secondary characters and his brilliant descriptions of an intentionally inept and horribly ineffective bureaucracy. His writing is witty and engaging, and he's quite good at writing memorable characters. I just feel like that wasn't enough to make this book memorable as a whole, though, especially when Dickens has so many fantastic novels. I'd recommend this book to fans of Dickens, but for everybody else, pass on this one!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Connie G

    "Little Dorrit" is a novel which was originally published in serial form in nineteen installments between 1855 and 1857. Charles Dickens was traumatized when he was sent out to work as a child during the time his father was in debtors' prison. Dickens incorporated the Marshalsea prison into this novel which has a strong theme of imprisonment. Mr Dorrit was a gentleman who had fallen on hard times. This resulted in a long stay in the prison where he was referred to as "The Father of the Marshalse "Little Dorrit" is a novel which was originally published in serial form in nineteen installments between 1855 and 1857. Charles Dickens was traumatized when he was sent out to work as a child during the time his father was in debtors' prison. Dickens incorporated the Marshalsea prison into this novel which has a strong theme of imprisonment. Mr Dorrit was a gentleman who had fallen on hard times. This resulted in a long stay in the prison where he was referred to as "The Father of the Marshalsea." Little Dorrit (Amy) had the distinction of being born in the Marshalsea, and was known for her warm, nurturing manner. There are many reversals of fortune during the events in the novel. Other characters are emotionally imprisoned because they are bitter, or trying to meet the expectations of society. Some characters live for wealth and social position, but it does not make them happier. Deception is practiced to gain wealth or social status. Another main character is Arthur Clennam who described himself as "the only child of parents who weighed, measured, and priced everything." His mother was a cold-hearted woman who lived in a Calvinistic manner. Arthur was still emotionally living under the shadow of his upbringing. There is lots of humor in this novel, including the character names of the upper class Barnacles and Stiltstockings. They run the Circumlocution Office where there are mountains of red tape, citizens fill out multiple forms which only get filed away, and nothing gets done. Dickens does some wonderful satirical writing in the chapters about government bureaucracy. "Little Dorrit" has many characters and multiple subplots. Although Dickens was writing the book in serial form, he managed to tie up most of the loose ends by the conclusion. He exposed some serious social problems while writing an entertaining story. 4.5 stars.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rick Slane

    I was given a copy of this book by a co-worker. It was 860 pages long with denser prose than that of which I am fond. A debtors' prison is the main setting and where Little Dorrit is born. I am not a careful enough reader to catch much of the humor Dickens injects regarding low and high society as well as patent offices and other government bureaucracies. (view spoiler)[There is a Bernie Madoff like character and a happy ending. (hide spoiler)] I was given a copy of this book by a co-worker. It was 860 pages long with denser prose than that of which I am fond. A debtors' prison is the main setting and where Little Dorrit is born. I am not a careful enough reader to catch much of the humor Dickens injects regarding low and high society as well as patent offices and other government bureaucracies. (view spoiler)[There is a Bernie Madoff like character and a happy ending. (hide spoiler)]

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Revill

    I read this book some time ago and it's still one of my favourite classic stories. I read this book some time ago and it's still one of my favourite classic stories.

  25. 4 out of 5

    My_Strange_Reading

    This book is so precious. Little Dorrit’s innocence, kindness and ability to see the good in everyone makes her such an amazing heroine and I needed this re-read this week. I needed some hope. 😭❤️

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Reading Little Dorrit is like having your own portable fireplace to cozy up to. It’s also huge, like a log or a brick. At 1,000 pages, if you set it on fire, it would burn for a long time. But I don’t mean it that way. I mean reading Little Dorrit makes you want to take off your shoes, don your housecoat and lean way the hell over the open pages, soaking up all that homey tenderness. Reading Little Dorrit is like suffering the ritual of birthday cake. It’s also enormous like cake is enormous, hea Reading Little Dorrit is like having your own portable fireplace to cozy up to. It’s also huge, like a log or a brick. At 1,000 pages, if you set it on fire, it would burn for a long time. But I don’t mean it that way. I mean reading Little Dorrit makes you want to take off your shoes, don your housecoat and lean way the hell over the open pages, soaking up all that homey tenderness. Reading Little Dorrit is like suffering the ritual of birthday cake. It’s also enormous like cake is enormous, heavy and sticky like children’s fingers. But with the ritual I mean watching the cake float towards you in the dark, luminous with spindly candles. You want to lean way the hell over it and, soaking up the glow, make your best wish, blow, and bellyflop into all that icing. Reading Little Dorrit is like being dragged by your parents to a revival festival teeming with tents and strange people. By dragged I mean you used to like going but now think you’re too old for it. You wander around -it’s on the edge of a forest- and you like the smell of the pines and campfires but you stick to the parking lot where some other characters share their six-packs, and there’s a puddle of rain and spew and you lean way the hell over it and see your own reflection.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    For years I thought this book was some sort of a universal joke, because at the end of Evelyn Waugh's novel, A Handful of Dust, one of the characters ends up trapped in a jungle by a madman who forces the character to read Little Dorrit aloud — I figured this was clearly meant to be a fate worse than death. Turns out, however, that Little Dorrit was merely an appropriate choice because of its themes of imprisonment, delusion, and reversals of fortune. Ah ha! Little Dorrit (the character) is the d For years I thought this book was some sort of a universal joke, because at the end of Evelyn Waugh's novel, A Handful of Dust, one of the characters ends up trapped in a jungle by a madman who forces the character to read Little Dorrit aloud — I figured this was clearly meant to be a fate worse than death. Turns out, however, that Little Dorrit was merely an appropriate choice because of its themes of imprisonment, delusion, and reversals of fortune. Ah ha! Little Dorrit (the character) is the diminutive, angelic daughter of Mr. Dorrit, the “father of the Marshalsea”, which is the debtor’s prison where he resides in a self-manufactured state of importance. Every day while he holds court with the other debtors, his three children leave the Marshalsea to work — a fact nobody ever mentions in order for Mr. Dorrit to maintain the fiction that the Dorrits are people of quality and leisure; their unfortunate 20 year-long incarceration is because of some nebulous financial mismanagement on someone else’s part. Other families with even greater levels of dysfunction and delusion populate this wonderfully rich novel, making the rather daunting 900 pages zip right along. If you’ve read any Dickens, you know to expect plot twists, reversals, dark secrets and convoluted connections — Little Dorrit does not disappoint. As with several of Dickens’ later works that take on various institutions, this novel skewers the penal system and government bureaucracy (with the wonderfully named “Circumlocution Office”). Little Dorrit doesn’t have nearly the same level of intrigue as A Tale of Two Cities, but Dickens certainly does know how to turn a phrase, and his funniest characterizations never grow old.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    "No, John, I cannot have you, and I cannot have any husband, it is not my intentions ever to become a wife, it is my intentions always to become a sacrifice, farewell, find another worthy of you, and forget me!" I don't like to do extensive research before I read books, especially classics. I don't like to start with preconceptions. However, on the back of this copy I have of Little Dorrit, I read something of Dickens that made an impact on the novel. It reads: "Stephen Wall's introduction examin "No, John, I cannot have you, and I cannot have any husband, it is not my intentions ever to become a wife, it is my intentions always to become a sacrifice, farewell, find another worthy of you, and forget me!" I don't like to do extensive research before I read books, especially classics. I don't like to start with preconceptions. However, on the back of this copy I have of Little Dorrit, I read something of Dickens that made an impact on the novel. It reads: "Stephen Wall's introduction examines Dickens's transformation of childhood memories of his father's incarceration in the Marshalsea." I only read that line, not the intro. Little Dorrit stays with her father, William Dorrit, who has been incarcerated for debt. Little Dorrit grows up in the prison, and from the environment, becomes a humble girl with a servant's mindset. She lives for the needs of other people. One example: a woman named Maggy, who has had severe brain damage since childhood. Although Little Dorrit has no mother, and has a genuine need, she becomes this woman's mother, takes care of her like a child. Maggy calls Little Dorrit "mother." William Dorrit comes upon a financial breakthrough. He gets rich, and gets out of the Marshalsea, goes on into society to live an upper class life. Little Dorrit can't get used to it. She remains the humble girl she had always been in the prison. William tries to fit in, but can't avoid the awkwardness of his years in the prison. One day, tragedy comes. Dickens makes the plot twist sudden, and it moved my heart to deep grief. I'm about to spoil it, so if you want to move on or read beyond the next paragraph, you're welcome to do that. "And from that hour his poor maimed spirit, only remembering the place where it had broken its wings, cancelled the dream through which it had since groped, and knew of nothing beyond the Marshalsea." As I read the book, a creative thought came to my mind. I personified grief, and grew angry at the villain. Grief. The anger grew until it overwhelmed me and I saw more than just a creative image. As I followed the anger, I felt deep pain. Yesterday my aunt spoke with me about my father, mother and grandfather passing away and how she missed them. Within seconds I took that same journey Dickens had walked me through: anger, then pain. I only want to point out the literary power of Dickens. A writer who can bring you out of grief-denial has something special. I want to mention one more thing about characterization. Dickens can teach how to make characters real. One aspect of his technique I noticed: he gives his characters small quarks that, if you follow, show you something deep about them. For example, the villain Rigaud, throughout the story emerges with his face contorting so that his nose goes over his mustache and his mustache moves up. We see this several times throughout the novel. The genius of this can be experienced. Do it now. Bring your nose over your mouth and move the space above your lips up, and pretend you have a mustache. How do you feel making that face? Now you understand the villain. How brilliant of Dickens! Dickens makes my life better. He has a power that strengthens the mind and spirit. If you want to try him, it may take work, but if you can manage to get to a place to understand and enjoy it, you will see the investment worth your time and effort. "Be guided only by the healer of the sick, the raiser of the dead, the friend of all who were afflicted and forlorn, the patient Master who shed tears of compassion for our infirmities."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Feliks

    For a long time I languished in the supreme belief that 'Bleak House' was the highest caliber product of Dickens when it came to his 'really big' works. 'Bleak House' is renowned in English literary criticism as--gasp-the #1 novel of the English language. And I too, thought so. But the difference which makes 'Dorrit' better are these: (1) humor. The book is riotously funny. (2) Better females. The women in 'Bleak House' are melodramatic, traumatic, and oh-so-serious. None of them are really lovab For a long time I languished in the supreme belief that 'Bleak House' was the highest caliber product of Dickens when it came to his 'really big' works. 'Bleak House' is renowned in English literary criticism as--gasp-the #1 novel of the English language. And I too, thought so. But the difference which makes 'Dorrit' better are these: (1) humor. The book is riotously funny. (2) Better females. The women in 'Bleak House' are melodramatic, traumatic, and oh-so-serious. None of them are really lovable. But Amy Dorrit is adorable! (3) Arthur Clenman. For once, Dickens gives us a fully-fledged, sensitive male character to whom any regular guy can identify with. He is not lurid, overly-virtuous, overly-heroic, or exaggerated. Anyway. This novel is one of Dickens' career best. It displays the caliber of writing you can always see from Dickens when he's really 'in-the-zone'. I would match it against any of his other works except 'A Tale of Two Cities' which is in a class of its own. But 'Dorrit' vs 'Copperfield', or 'Expectations', or 'Nickelby', or 'Mutual Friend' or 'Pickwick'...or even 'Bleak'(!) certainly 'Dorrit' blows them away. Its astounding but so. This is one case where you can't listen to the critics: no matter how much one respects 'Bleak'; 'Dorrit' is a narrative which will bring exuberation and good cheer to your life. Every Dickens novel has fun villains to despise--this one has them too-- but for once here is a novel with humor and sweetness, and characters you can really take to your heart.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Haleigh DeRocher

    "One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it's been left behind." Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Before my review of the novel, I'd like to go into a little history. Charles Dickens' father, John, was always a poor manager of his finances - so poor, in fact, that he landed himself in the debtor's prison Marshalsea (sound familiar??). Charles went to work in a boot-blacking factory to help earn money to get his father out of prison, and lived all alone in a run down apartment - at t "One always begins to forgive a place as soon as it's been left behind." Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Before my review of the novel, I'd like to go into a little history. Charles Dickens' father, John, was always a poor manager of his finances - so poor, in fact, that he landed himself in the debtor's prison Marshalsea (sound familiar??). Charles went to work in a boot-blacking factory to help earn money to get his father out of prison, and lived all alone in a run down apartment - at the meager age of 12. The rest of his family lived in the prison with his father. When he was a child, he always dreamed of living in Gad's Hill Place, a house he often walked by as he went around Kent. Fast forward 30 years - Charles Dickens started writing Little Dorrit (published in serial form between 1955-1957). He visited Marshalsea for the first time since his father was released (which only happened because he received a surprise inheritance - sound familiar???). He purchased Gad's Hill House, his childhood dream! And he continued writing his famously popular stories. Little Dorrit is so much more interesting to me, knowing this history of Charles Dickens. He took so much inspiration from his own life that you can't help but appreciate the novel. Now onto my review. Little Dorrit, a long, elaborate, and sometimes rambling novel, was Dickens' critique on government bureaucracy and British Society as a whole. The Circumlocution office bits were particularly affecting, as were all of the scenes exploring the prison houses. Themes of physical and pyschological imprisonment permeate the narrative. Little Dorrit, also known as Amy, is one of the sweetest literary heroines I have come across in my reading. She is compassionate, self sacrificing, and lives for those she loves. She was born in the Marshalsea Debtor's prison and knows no other life - until her father is released. This turn in fortunes (Book 2) was so interesting to me. To see how the change in fortunes affected the characters really revealed their true spirit. Arthur Clennam, our main protagonist, is also admirable. I loved his integrity and determination. The secondary characters really made the story though. Mysterious Mrs Clennam and all of her dark secrets. Mr Flintwich and Affery. Flora, Tattycorum, Ms Wade, the Meagles, the Beadles - it's such a colorful array of characters! I really enjoyed the mystery, the characters, the social commentary, the beautiful writing, and the touch of romance in this book. Like Bleak House, I hope to read it again someday - and I feel like I will like it even more the second time.

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