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Little Dorrit (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 25 Sep 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (25 Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141439963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141439969
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

One of the most significant works of the nineteenth century. Lionel Trilling"

Book Description

A cutting satire of the shortcomings of Victorian society and widely regarded as one of Charles Dickens’s finest novels. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 May 2008
Format: Paperback
From its first publication in book form after the serialisation, Little Dorrit has always proved to be a good seller. So why has this book always been so popular? For whole segments Amy 'Little' Dorrit does not even appear. The novel covers so much more than the title implies.

Little Dorrit is born in the Marshalsea, where her father is imprisoned for debt. Eventually he is released at the end of book one, when he comes into an inheritance. For Mr Dorrit this leads to paranoia that people are talking behind his back or laughing at him due to his former poverty. Poor little Dorrit finds it difficult to change her ways and is still a ministering angel to all and sundry.

What really stands out in this book are the locations, as the story travels from London through France, Switzerland and Italy. This is the most widespread geographically of any of Dickens' novels. Also this book probably has the most sub-plots of any Dickens novel, with mention of murder and smuggling, to actual acts of corruption and suicide, to love, marriages and death. Mrs Clennam tries to keep a family secret buried but is being blackmailed, and is her house haunted or is there a more rational explanation?

As to be expected with Dickens there are some great characters and some good comedy. Anyone who has ever had any dealings with govermental departments can really appreciate the Circumloction Office, and its practices. A few of the illustrations in this book are some of the very best to appear in any of his novels.

This is a must read book, that with so many things going on throughout will keep you absorbed for hours, and that you will want to read again.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. J. Huins on 18 Jun. 2009
Format: Audio CD
A vivid and detailed tale of Victorian England, which has many similarities to present day Britain. A really masterful story by Charles Dickens, graphically narrated by Anton Lesson, another master of his profession. It has more than 10 hours of story, ideal for a long car journey or enlightening another pile of ironing or a long winter's evening. We wholeheartedly recommend it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bell on 22 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
I was a bit put-off by a previous review that claims that this book has been changed to american spellings but went ahead and got it anyway as I thought that the illustrations were worth it (they are). I have found that the book has not been americanised (just opened it at random to page 362 and almost the first word I see is 'endeavour' - english version. It does conntain some olde english spellings, eg trousers is spelt as trowsers (not pants).
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By thomasleaf on 20 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
Little Dorrit is a prime example of Dickens' weighty descriptive style and his genius for observation and characterisation. It also, perhaps unusually for Dickens, has a semi-coherent story line.
The book chronicles the respective fortunes of the title heroine, a young women caring for her incarcerated father in the Marshalsea Prison, and Mr Arthur Clennam, a kindly businessman returned lately from the east, who becomes obsessed with the idea that his father was responsible for the Dorrit families woes. An entrie host of characters, good and bad, amusing and obnoxious, accompany the main protagonists on their mysteriously intertwined journeys. The only fault I can find is with the tale's finale, when it seems Dickens grows tired of the story, not actually having a great twist for the climax, and bumps off many of his characters before ending with a rather predictable chocolate tin finish. However, your sense of achievment at having penetrated deeper into the world of Dickens, meeting memorable heroes and villains will probably overcome any misgivings on this score. The scene where Mr Pancks cuts the patriarch's hair is pure genius and the petulant Mr Dorrit, Flora Casby and her objectionable Aunt are another constant stream of entertainment.
Apart from the moral that money will not buy you happiness, Dickens also used this book to launch a scathing criticism against the government and society of the time, represented by the infamous Circumlocution Office and a certain affluent couple named Merdle.
An excellent read for all those who have a reasonable grasp of the English language or have enjoyed other Dickens books.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Harvey on 9 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
Warning: this review contains spoilers.

The major strengths of the novel are its characters and atmosphere. Every character is sharply drawn, we can visualise them in our mind's eye; Dickens has the ability to invest each of them with their own distinctive speech patterns. He can also create atmosphere whether it be describing the Marshalsea or the interior of Mrs Clennam's house. He is wonderful at creating a scene, of placing his characters in that scene and exploring the interaction of each.

The weakness of the novel is its plot. It never really gains momentum and there is always a sense of stasis, of things about to develop, but never doing so. We are presented with a series of tableaux and then, suddenly, something happens with no relation to anything that has gone before. Much is left unexplained; we are never told what Doyce's invention actually is, we are given no clue as to the nature of Merdle's financial dealings, his downfall just happens. The Dorrits suddenly become rich halfway through the novel. It dosen't convince.

A warning about this Penguin edition. For some inexplicable reason, American spellings are used throughout (eg 'honor' instead of 'honour'). I am not sure why this has been done and as certain Victorian spellings are also used, it makes even less sense. Some readers may find this annoying and would prefer to read a different edition.

A bonus of the Penguin edition, though, is the inclusion of the original illustrations.
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