Little Dorrit (Penguin Classics)
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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 takes a kindly interest in Amy Dorrit, his mother's seamstress, and in the affairs of Amy's father, William Dorrit, a man of shabby grandeur, long imprisoned for debt in Marshalsea prison. As Arthur soon discovers, the dark shadow of the prison stretches far beyond its walls to affect the lives of many, from the kindly Mr Panks, the reluctant rent-collector of Bleeding Heart Yard, and the tipsily garrulous Flora Finching, to Merdle, an unscrupulous financier, and the bureaucratic Barnacles in the Circumlocution Office. A masterly evocation of the state and psychology of imprisonment, Little Dorrit is one of the supreme works of Dickens's maturity. Stephen Wall's introduction examines Dickens's transformation of childhood memories of his father's incarceration in the Marshalsea debtors' prison. This revised edition includes expanded notes, appendices and suggestion for further reading by Helen Small, a chronology of Dickens's life and works, and original illustrations.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
interested, listened with great attention; appearing to derive the most agreeable sensations from the painfullest parts of the narrative, and particularly to be quite charmed by the account of William Dorrit’s long imprisonment. ‘In conclusion, Mr Pancks,’ said Arthur, ‘I have but to say this. I have reasons beyond a personal regard, for speaking as little as I can of the Dorrit family, particularly at my mother’s house’ (Mr Pancks nodded), ‘and for knowing as much as I can. So devoted a man of
within myself since I had occupied the despicable position of being engaged to her nephew. I told her that Mr Gowan was the only relief I had had in my degradation; that I had borne it too long, and that I shook it off too late; but, that I would see none of them more. And I never did. Your dear friend followed me to my retreat, and was very droll on the severance of the connection; though he was sorry, too, for the excellent people (in their way the best he had ever met), and deplored the
anxious about us, you see, feeling helplessly shut up there. Such a good, good father!’ He let the little burst of feeling go by before he spoke. It was soon gone. She was not accustomed to think of herself, or to trouble any one with her emotions. He had but glanced away at the piles of city roofs and chimneys among which the smoke was rolling heavily, and at the wilderness of masts on the river, and the wilderness of steeples on the shore, indistinctly mixed together in the stormy haze, when
how soon I will force myself to be recognised as a gentleman, and you shall profit by it. Is it agreed? Are we one?’ ‘Oh, surely, surely!’ said the little man. ‘Then you shall hear before I sleep – and in six words, for I want sleep – how I appear before you, I, Lagnier. Remember that. Not the other.’ ‘Altro, altro! Not Ri—’ Before John Baptist could finish the name, his comrade had got his hand under his chin and fiercely shut up his mouth. ‘Death! what are you doing? Do you want me to be
there truly was no reason why he should have the least interest in it, Arthur Clennam went on to the present purport of his visit; namely, to make Plornish the instrument of effecting Tip’s release, with as little detriment as possible to the self-reliance and self-helpfulness of the young man, supposing him to possess any remnant of those qualities: without doubt a very wide stretch of supposition. Plornish, having been made acquainted with the cause of action from the Defendant’s own mouth,