Saturday, May 21, 2011
The Classics Circuit: Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
Hi, folks! Welcome to my tardy Classic Circuit post on Charles Dicken's rags-to-riches-to-rags novel Little Dorrit. I think this may be my last post for the Classics Circuit. I love reading along and I love expanding my literary horizons, but for the life of me I can't seem to finish a book and post on time. Letting folks down isn't cool, so in the future I'll read-a-long and post at my own pace (i.e. I won't "technically" be a participant).
I adore Charles Dickens with Bleak House being my most favorite novel. Little Dorrit now stands as my second favorite novel. The usual Dickensian elements are at work: a large volume containing a multitude of characters (some earnest and good, some nefarious, and some comical) and a main plot with several side plots that all seem to connect at the end.
This is the story of Amy Dorrit, a small, quiet, young woman born and raised in the Marshalsea debtor's prison by her father -- William Dorrit. She works as a seamstress for a very Miss Havisham-type woman, Mrs. Clennam. When Arthur Clennam returns from sea bearing the news that his father has died and left him with the cryptic task to remind his mother Do Not Forget. This sets off a chain of events that will propel Amy and Arthur to riches and poverty, illness and loneliness, and -- ultimately -- happiness.
Charles Dicken's masterful writing is at his best in this novel. The conversations are full of life and true to his characters, there are beautiful descriptive passages setting mood and place, and his wit is razor-sharp. I found myself vacillating between hope, sadness, laughter, suspense, and certainly enjoying every page.
I hate to say it, but -- although I adore Jane Austen -- I find that Charles Dickens has thoroughly whopped her butt in the literary arena.