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Little Dorrit

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  29,061 ratings  ·  949 reviews
A novel of serendipity, of fortunes won and lost, and of the spectre of imprisonment that hangs over all aspects of Victorian society

When Arthur Clennam returns to England after many years abroad, he takes a kindly interest in Amy Dorrit, his mother's seamstress, and in the affairs of Amy's father, William Dorrit, a man of shabby grandeur, long imprisoned for debt in Mars
Paperback, 985 pages
Published January 27th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published 1857)
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Community Reviews

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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
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
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 ...more
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 ...more
Christopher H.
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 ...more
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
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. Any way, 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 / rhyth ...more
Well, rub me with butter and call me a pancake. I lost my shit with 5-stars worth of merriment; Little Dorrit was incredible.

You don't even know what this book has in it. Just to name a few: gondola chases, miracles, prisons, people named Tite Barnacle, dog murders, crazy exes, and I'm about 99% sure this book had lesbians. And DICKENS. I mean, we all loved A Christmas Carol, but LITTLE DORRIT. To my satisfaction, there was even a ghost. Complete.

I've heard there has been a resurgence in Dickens
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
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
Dec 10, 2014 Leslie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: read 13-18 May 2014
More complex than my other favorite Dickens novels (and less adventure) but what a wonderful story! And of course, the many eccentric characters which Dickens excelled at - Miss Wade (who epitomizes the phrase "a chip on the shoulder"), Mr. Dorrit (the "father of the Marshalsea"), the Bosom (!! otherwise known as Mrs. Merdles), Affrety... I could go on and on. I can see that some readers would not care for this, especially the ending but I like the way Dickens always gives us that happy ending.
from da scorchin sun a marsellies 2 da dark cold cellof a debtors prison, lill dorrit b 1 of dickens 4gotten masta pieces.

dey be lockin boyz up 4 sum wack shit back in da day. ma man dorrit wuz in jail 4 debt 4 so long he had 3 dam kids up in there. N now he think he hot shit jus cus all da prisoners look up 2 him. n he always thinks his kids don work (but dey do). he is off his wacker n shiyt, nom sayin? so dis guy arthur think he owes dees dorrit peeps bc his pops was into sum shady shyt or wh
Little Dorrit is a novel of family loyalty. We follow the paths of three families, and rub shoulders with a few others as well. Our three primary households are the Dorrits, the Clennams, and the Meagles.

Little Amy Dorrit is the child of the Marshalsea debtors prison. She was born there and lived there with her father and two siblings, Fanny and Edward, for her entire early life. Once grown, Fanny and Edward leave the prison, but Little Dorrit stays on to support her father. Amy is the perfect d
I think I need a break from Dickens. Reading _Little Dorrit_ after _Dombey and Son_, and within months of finishing _Bleak House_ has made me frustrated with his ideal female character. He uses the phrase "active submission" to describe Amy Dorrit, but it could be equally applied to Esther or Florence, characters whose main virtue is waiting without complaint for their objects of devotion to treat them properly, and for their lives to be less miserable. _Little Dorrit_ and _Dombey and Son_ both ...more
How I loved this book. Dickens is amazing, although, I admit, he is incredibly verbose in this book! But the thing is, I ENJOYED every minute of the verbosity! His sentences are just crammed with meaning. Every paragraph is a sermon on human behavior. He paints each character as a particular human trait. For instance, the character in this book who is torn between being good or evil is a twisted man, literally. His body leans to the side, his head bends over, even his mouth is rather hideously t ...more
Ayu Palar
People may say that I am such a huge fan of Charles Dickens. Yes, I am, but at the same time I also have to be objective in reading and criticizing his works. This year I have gained back my love for Dickens’ novels. It started with The Mystery of Edwin Drood. With its bleak atmosphere, it has brought me back to the world of Dickens. Finishing it, I wanted some more of Dickens. Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend then charmed me with their own significant way. However, Little Dorrit does not do th ...more
Julie Davis
Casting around for something to listen to but in a weird frame of mind ... I began trying out books read by some of my favorite LibriVox readers, as well as those recommended in the comments. Then I got to Mil Nicholson who reads Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. I have been longing to read it for some time.

And I fell in love. Her reading is simply superb. It also is wonderfully supplemented by my reading the print copy. This allows for a slow, rich reading, which is not my usual style at all b
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
It is a rather mixed bag of mystery and intrigue between characters both well-off and not. The theme of prisons and imprisonment permeates this book with the title character residing with her family in the infamous "Marshalsea" prison for the first part of the book. The main plot is focused on the efforts of Arthur Clennam to assist Little (Amy) Dorrit's family in paying their debts so as to escape the prison and Arthur's own quest to solve the mystery of his family & identity. The Dorrits s ...more
Another classic from Dickens (by definition - obviously) although not my favourite. Great characterisation and social observation as per usual - with striking resonance to many areas of contemporary life in many respects (particularly the circumlocution office - loved it!) . It goes without saying that the complex plot lines and unlikely intertwining of plot / sub-plot and seemingly unrelated characters is often hugely implausible - but with Dickens this is somewhat missing the point. All his no ...more
I once saw this at a six hour theatre performance. I was able to slip away during the interval, light an elven lantern, eat some wholesome nuts, enjoy a hairy time in an alleyway, before slipping back in for the remaining hours.
By God's, it's long.
Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit is an intricate tale with a wide cast of characters, each leading a seemingly separate life, who become interwoven in a story contrasting the poverty of social prominence with the wealth of a commonplace life. Prison, both physical and social, is a recurrent theme. Some critics and scholars consider it among Dickens' finest novels. I disagree – it was slightly disappointing. Little Dorrit is representative of the author's later, darker period of literary output, an ...more
Not as well-known as his other works but this is such a brilliant satirical and symbolic novel. I have laughed so much, in the chapters of the father of the marshal sea or that involving the “high society” or the bureaucracy.
It is filled with some idiosyncratic and entertaining characters like the father of the marshal sea, the benevolent Mr.Casby, Mr.Sparkler who loves women with no nonsense about them, Mrs.Merdle and her extensive bosom and also a wicked pantomime villain.
Along with the comi
I was reading a book of conversations with the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead and in it he actually said that Dickens was a hack writer, and I think back in the 20's or 30's when these conversations took place that might've been the consensus opinion.

But what malarkey!
What balderdash!
What unmitigated posh and drivel!

Yes, his characters are more often than not cartoonish.
Yes, he can ooze sentimentality from even his schnozz pores. Yes, saccharine notions of love and loyalty were the air
So, Jeanne and I were going to London and doing some of the study-abroad course she had designed, including a visit to Dickens' house and a meal at an old inn where they eat in "Little Dorrit." What better than to read along? For the first 400-500 pages, I couldn't believe how good it was--compelling major characters, the usual band of interesting minor types, the absurdity of debtor's prison (once you're in, how are you supposed to earn the money to pay your debt?) and the legal system. Amy Dor ...more
Clare Cannon
What a wonderful book to read at a leisurly pace, savouring the subtly humourous commentary on human beings and their daily struggles in 19th century England. The complexity of his characters is so rich, each one responding to their circumstances at various points along the way between self interest and true selflessness. Even the simpler ones show a strength of character that - at least for me - brings tears to the eyes.
Joy C.
I really enjoyed reading 'Little Dorrit'! - in fact I have come away with a whole new appreciation for the writing and talent of Charles Dickens, with his talents for storytelling, plots, characters, satire and drama. While this story suffers in the way of plot in comparison to some of his other works, Dickens weaves his plots nonetheless like a master weaver, pulling threads here and there, colours from east and west, from London, Venice and Paris, the depressing cloisters of the Marshelsea, Bl ...more
♪ Kim
I got bogged down about half-way through the book and considered putting it on my “try-again-later” shelf. But I realized there was little chance I’d pick it back up again and so decided today to push through to the end.

I hadn’t read a Dickens novel in many years, so I’d forgotten how long and convoluted and melodramatic they could be. But none of those things is the reason I wasn’t enjoying it. After all, one of my favorite books of all time is The Count of Monte Cristo, which is just as convol
I love Dickens. Any and all.

Read with Victorians! Jan 2011. Just reminds me how much I love Dickens.

As I began this, the tone of it made me wonder and I had to look up a list of Dickens' works to see where this one fell. It sounded darker, more cynical, more like "Hard Times" to me than the more lighthearted and sarcastic things like "Oliver." It was indeed published just after "Hard Times." Funny, then I read on a Dickens site the very same observation.

I actually like the tone of the later
Joanna Sundby
I read this book when I was 12. I never cried so hard, and ached so much or loved any heroine Like Amy Dorrit. It wasn't until I became an adult that I understood that Dickens had nailed the character of the dutiful daughter who is caregiver to her parent, and he had described my life for me. The debtors prison, the Marshalsea, is such a perfect metaphor for the debt such a parent owes. The hubris of the newly released and wealthy Mr Dorrit, mid book, is so typical of the gratitude the child get ...more
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A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awarenes ...more
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A Tale of Two Cities Great Expectations A Christmas Carol Oliver Twist David Copperfield

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