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Little Dorrit

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

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... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Great old time classic book

I like most of Charles Dickens works. Many of them were required reading for me in high school back in the 60's. I'm building a small collection of them now because sometimes after many years have passed you tend to forget some things you read years ago even though you may have really enjoyed the book. I like books from different eras in time because they give you insight as to how people thought and felt during that period.

I would give it six stars if I could

This is a long book - it feels like a 1000 pages - but it is a masterpiece. Dickens takes us from Marseilles, home to an evil man whose smile makes his moustache disappear under his top lip and draws us into a dark, damp, murky Victorian London where one's whole future existence seems to be mapped out at birth, and where to escape from one's perceived 'destiny' is both sacriligeous and impossible. The Marshalsea Prison is a place all of us can visualise - a debtors prison from which many fail to escape, the dubious honour of the Father of the Marshalsea bestowed on the longest-serving inmate. Little Dorrit - Amy - is the daughter of the Father of the Marshalsea and this is her tale, one which stretches across the grime of smoggy nineteenth century London to the pollution of Continental Europe. The cast of characters is fascinating and Dickens rarely misses a trick - each is easily comparable to people any of us knows today. I studied this book at school and I have read it four or five times since.

Worth a Journey

Among the reasons to come to earth must surely be the chance to read this novel. Shaw called this novel a masterpiece among masterpieces. My opinion is that this novel is the greatest of the sixteen. It is less bland than Bleak House, more poignant than Copperfield. I started it desultorily, distracted greatly by events in my life. But gradually as I read it dawned on me that sentence by sentence Dickens was here at his most trenchant. I began to be charmed by the characters, some of the greatest in his oeuvre. For all the darkness in the conception--a girl born and raised in debtor's prison--Little Dorrit is a wonderful character. Arthur Clennam is a real man. I adore Flora's deranged speech and her tenderness. Fanny is a delight! And there are Doyce and Pancks--and the Meagles and Pet and Tattycoram--and there are so many secrets! And isn't Blandois the precursor of Fosco? Oh, I could go on. To the Circumlocution Office and Barnacles and Merdle - and Afferty and Flintwich and Mrs. Clennam--such a wonderful feast of characters--with the Marshallsea hovering over all. How well Dickens uses dialogue to identify character; how amusing are their tics. The characters fall into strata. The main of them, characterized by Clennam, Doyce, and Pancks, are at the level of small businessmen, tradesmen. Below them are the destitutes. A little above them are Mrs. Clennam, Casby, the Meagles. And high above them the Merdles, Gowans, and the like. The novel finds its way at the lower levels--it's a novel of the lower middle class and the lower class and the poor--and down there is so much life and love and devotion. It was strong medicine for me, cognitively dissonant, for Little Dorrit to love with such devotion. And Clennam loves her so deeply though he had no love in his life to that point. Where did he find such love in himself? Dickens does not just give the action. Unlike so many other writers (almost all), he lets the characters be themselves, revealing the plot from time to time as they get to it, but seldom hurrying. They are being themselves and leading their lives--of course caught up in the great machine of the novel; it's as though Dicken's characters' clothes get caught in the huge, creaking machinery of his plots which then tugs them along, or perhaps grinds them up... The novel is too full of words. It's verbose. Many times I could not follow the sense. It's labored. There are plot shifts just for the sake of changing the experiment. But as I finished the novel a benediction fell upon me--a moment that cannot be put into words.

A Tale of Imprisonment

Little Dorrit, as in many other Dickens books is full with character portrayal. There are a number of characters that are worth remembering such as Flora Finching, Mr.F's aunt etc. The division of the book into two parts makes sense because without the second one (Riches), the first part of the book(Poverty) would not be as strong as it is now. A great, sophisticated and fully rewarding book.

A great work long unnoticed

"Bleak House" may have been masterfully managed, but I preferred this tense tale of poverty, riches and the parasitic class that breeds both. It is as cautionary a tale as the former: the role of the machinery of government and capitalist class on the lives of all under them has never been so powerfully depicted. Mr Merdle was based on a real person, a Sadlier who killed himself in Hyde Park when he caused the Tipperary Bank to fail. Amy Dorrit is to be preferred to Esther Summerson as a heroine in not being so off-puttingly and impossibly sweet. Dickens' mastery of plot is such to create an exciting mystery and a rich interweaving of character and plot that kept me up all night unravelling the puzzle.
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