Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Little Dorrit” as Want to Read:
Little Dorrit
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Little Dorrit

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  31,882 Ratings  ·  1,022 Reviews
A novel of serendipity, of fortunes won and lost, and of the spectre of imprisonment that hangs over all aspects of Victorian society, Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit is edited with an introduction by Stephen Wall in Penguin Classics.

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
Paperback, 985 pages
Published September 25th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1857)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Little Dorrit, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Little Dorrit

Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Best Books of the 19th Century
87th out of 872 books — 4,810 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasLes Misérables by Victor Hugo
Big Fat Books Worth the Effort
115th out of 1,411 books — 6,322 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 20, 2007 Stas' rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 17, 2012 B0nnie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
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
Jun 02, 2011 Alasse rated it it was amazing
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
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
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 ...more
May 29, 2015 Apatt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
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
Jun 12, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic, english-lit
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
Mar 01, 2013 Mark rated it it was ok
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
Feb 14, 2012 Sunday rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 21, 2014 Yaboimazz rated it it was amazing
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
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Arthur Clennam befriends seamstress Amy Dorrit and meets her extraordinary family at a debtor's prison. Dickens adaptation stars Ian McKellen.

2/5: Arthur Clannam worries about his parents, but thinks he's found a new love. Amy receives a proposal.

3/5: Surprising discoveries about the Dorrits are revealed, but Arthur is yet to solve his family's secret.

4/5: The newly wealthy Dorrits set off on a tour of Europe, but Amy is feeling homesick.

5/5: Arthur is struck by disaster,
Feb 03, 2014 Jean rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-authors
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
May 25, 2009 Kimber rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 31, 2015 S. rated it it was amazing
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
Ayu Palar
Jun 20, 2009 Ayu Palar rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, dickens
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
Dec 10, 2014 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
May 05, 2011 Janice rated it it was ok
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
Jan 18, 2015 Feliks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie Davis
Oct 01, 2013 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 14, 2007 James rated it liked it
Shelves: newberry-library
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens
عنوان: دوریت کوچک؛ چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: محمد قاضی، رضا عقیلی؛ تهران، جاویدان، 1343؛ در 364 ص؛

عنوان: دوریت کوچک؛ چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: فریده تیموری؛ تهران، ماد، 1370؛ در دوجلد؛ ص؛

عنوان: دوریت کوچک؛ چارلز دیکنز؛ مترجم: فریده تیموری؛ تهران، سمیر، 1388؛ در727 ص؛
Aug 16, 2015 kaśyap rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Eddie Watkins
Sep 29, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uk-fiction
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
Oct 07, 2015 James rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 25, 2014 Belf rated it really liked it
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.
Heidi Holtan
Feb 14, 2016 Heidi Holtan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
For en murstein med de tilsammen nesten 1000 sider. En god og mektig om en litt prøvende leseropplevelse. Dickens tester tålmodigheten min som vanlig med sine mange sider med fjas og mas og prat. Men stort sett er dette en bra bok med vidunderlig bra språk, humor, mørke, drama, intriger og poesi. En del pappfigurer er det men det har det vært i alle Dickens-bøkene jeg har lest.
Laurel Hicks
This is a complicated book. A few things didn't ring quite true to me, but it was an enjoyable read.
Apr 24, 2015 Manray9 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit
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
Jan 13, 2011 K. rated it it was amazing
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
May 31, 2010 Melanie rated it it was ok
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Pickwick Club: Book I Chapters 15 - 18 33 10 5 hours, 4 min ago  
The Pickwick Club: Book I Chapters 09 -11 58 16 5 hours, 7 min ago  
The Pickwick Club: Book I Chapters 12 - 14 68 9 10 hours, 3 min ago  
The Pickwick Club: Book I Chapters 23 - 25 13 6 21 hours, 55 min ago  
The Pickwick Club: Book I Chapters 19 - 22 38 7 May 21, 2016 04:39AM  
The Pickwick Club: Book I Chapters 01 - 04 62 23 May 07, 2016 11:52PM  
LDS Ladies Book Club: Little Dorrit: week 4 ch 25-32 8 12 Apr 28, 2016 09:06PM  
  • Phineas Redux
  • Mary Barton
  • Daniel Deronda
  • Armadale
  • Selected Letters, 1913-1965
  • Aurora Floyd
  • New Grub Street
  • The Trumpet-Major
Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...more
More about Charles Dickens...

Share This Book

“[Credit is a system whereby] a person who can't pay, gets another person who can't pay, to guarantee that he can pay.” 98 likes
“While the flowers, pale and unreal in the moonlight, floated away upon the river; and thus do greater things that once were in our breasts, and near our hearts, flow from us to the eternal sea.” 28 likes
More quotes…