Little Dorrit is a serial novel by Charles Dickens, originally published between 1855 and 1857. It is a work of satire on the shortcomings of the government and society of the period. Much of Dickens's ire is focused upon the institutions of debtors' prisons, in which people who owed money were imprisoned, unable to work, until they repaid their debts. The representative prison in this case is the Marshalsea, where the author's own father had been imprisoned. Most of Dickens's other critiques in this particular novel concern the social safety net; industry and the treatment and safety of workers; the bureaucracy of the British Treasury and the separation of people based on the lack of interaction between the classes.
The novel begins in Marseilles "thirty years ago" (i.e., c. 1826), with the notorious murderer Rigaud telling his cell mate how he killed his wife. Arthur Clennam is returning to London to see his mother after the death of his father, with whom he had lived for twenty years in China. On his deathbed, his father had given him a mysterious watch murmuring "Your mother," which Arthur naturally assumed was intended for Mrs. Clennam, whom he and everyone else believed to be his mother…
Unabridged version - 342,582 words - 940 pages in the printed edition.
Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812-1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's most memorable fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented fame, and by the twentieth century his literary genius was broadly acknowledged by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular. Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age. His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, is one of the most influential works ever written, and it remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Set in London and Paris, his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, is the best selling novel of all time. His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers, from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton, for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism.
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