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Little Dorrit

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  44,283 ratings  ·  1,692 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, 1021 pages
Published September 25th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published 1855)
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Carolyn Shields I really enjoyed it because it showed even more so her sweet mother-like tendencies, and it also brought her and Arthur together several times. Little…moreI really enjoyed it because it showed even more so her sweet mother-like tendencies, and it also brought her and Arthur together several times. Little Dorrit even remarks on how she thinks he'd be such a good father one time, when he's watching Maggy. Also, I have a little sister named Maggie with a mental disability but who is so sweet and good and happy and fun, like our Maggy in the book, so she reminded me of her and so set me an example in Little Dorrit in my relationship with her. (less)

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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 ...more
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
Henry Avila
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 each their own. Arthur Clennam the son after twenty ye
Jul 20, 2007 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
Violet wells
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
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
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: charles-dickens
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
Feb 08, 2012 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
Oct 17, 2010 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
Helene Jeppesen
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Katie Lumsden
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, favorites
What a book. One of Dickens's best - a truly fantastic, moving clever novel, and an absolute favourite of mine. ...more
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Feb 12, 2014 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. 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 ...more
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
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 ...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 from ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
A chapter-a-day group read with the Dickensians! group, starting September 15. Adding some variety to my reading diet. :)
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
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Connie G
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"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 ...more
Mar 01, 2013 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
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
My favourite Dickens of them all, and this was just the first time I'd read this! Dickens take on the tight rope the masses tried to circumvent to survive, with the dark cloud 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 t
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) ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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. 😭❤️
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
Shirley Revill
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classic
I read this book some time ago and it's still one of my favourite classic stories. ...more
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"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
Jun 12, 2008 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
Haleigh DeRocher
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"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
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
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Charles John Huffam Dickens was a writer and social critic who 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 short stories enjoy lasting popularity.


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