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Little Dorrit Paperback – Jan 27 2004

19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (Jan. 27 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439969
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 4.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 739 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #92,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“One of the most significant works of the nineteenth century.”—Lionel Trilling

From the Publisher

illustrations by `Phiz' --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Penelope Schmitt on July 22 2002
Format: Paperback
This is my personal favorite among Dickens novels, fully equal to Bleak House, though not nearly as widely read or admired. Most reviewers miss the fact that debtors prisons had long been closed before Dickens wrote the novel, so 'reform' was in no way its objective. What he really wanted to explore was self-imprisonment. His main character, Arthur Clennam, has been imprisoned by family strictures all his life. Denied love as a child, exiled from his sweetheart as a young man to an outpost of the family business in China, left by his father only with a watch inscribed 'DNF' meaning 'do not forget' (what he doesn't know) Arthur returns to England. We first see him 'imprisoned' in quarantine with others who suffer spiritual incarcerations of their own. The spiritual heart of this novel is the story of how Arthur loses hope that he can 'go home again' and pick up with his old life, how he reconstructs a personal life and satisfying work, and how he endures the collapse of the past and all its guilty debts, ultimately being set free to live life on a new foundation. This novel will hearten those who have arrived in the middle of our lives feeling that like Arthur, we stand among ruins, 'descending a green and growing tree' whose limbs die and wither under us as we come down. But when he is finally stripped of everything, Arthur gains all. While this great bildungsroman of maturity is being carried forward, Dickens offers a wealth of characters, plots, and subplots that will keep Dickens lovers turning pages in well-founded faith that Boz will once again knit all together in a satisfying tapestry of incident and meaning. It could be summed up as "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Extollager on Oct. 21 2003
Format: Paperback
Little Dorrit is probably not the first Dickens novel one should read; work up to it. But it's a great novel, reaching across the levels of society, and with Dickens's facility of invention reined in by moral seriousness. The melodramatic element is subdued here, and Dickens displays a perception of psychology that may be unexpected for those used to his more entertaining books. Some critics rate this his finest novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Murat Abus on Dec 13 2001
Format: Hardcover
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.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 24 2013
Format: Audio CD
"Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man." -- Ecclesiastes 9:15 (NKJV)

Because his novels are so long, I've avoided reading many of Charles Dickens' novels until quite recently. I'm working with a number of budding novelists, and it occurred to me that it would be good to study all of the novels.

Little Dorrit turned out to be a delightful surprise. I found the book to be far more appealing than many of the author's more famous novels. The novel features not one, but two, memorable characters: Amy Dorrit who was born in London's Marshalsea debtors' prison, and Arthur Clennam who seeks to ease the difficulties experienced by the Dorrit family through the father's long imprisonment.

Seldom do today's books contain characters that provide good examples of right living. This book abounds in them. I won't mention who they are, lest I give away the plot.

While you might not think that debtors' prison would make a worthy subject, remember that Dickens loved to draw contrasts between the top and the bottom of English society. In this case, those who are in charge of the government and "society" are what the Bible would call the poor in spirit, rather than the poor in economic terms. Pride, influence, and power are the coins of the realm that they can never get enough of.

The book also contains some of the best satire I've ever read about government red tape and general humbug. Dickens lays in on thick, but he'll have you nodding your head, I'm sure.

Another major theme involves how values determine how life is lived, and the quality of character.
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Format: Hardcover
Having been both a student and admirer of Charles Dickens for a number of decades, I can honestly state that this is not a tier #1 Dickens' novel. That being said, however, any 2nd tier Dickens's novel far outstrips the quality of other novels of this period. While the author's characterizations and universalities of subject matter remain high, this tale does seem to become bogged down during the lengthy descriptions of the middle chapters. This should not discourage an educated reader, however, from venturing into this 900 page civil discourse. The shallowness, selfishness and overall contriteness of the moneyed elite is well defined. The self-imposed uselessness of governmental agencies is quite evident. Whereas, the meaningful values of love, respect and inner joy is broadcast loudly through society's poorer working classes. Dickens portrayal of debtor's prison as a constant backdrop to life in London adds to and highlights the extreme social differences that exist while the author's whimsical, yet cutting, characters reveal personhood for what it is......
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