Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on 7 February 1812 in Portsea Island, the second of eight children of Elizabeth Dickens and John Dickens. His father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office and was temporarily stationed in the district. Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in a debtors' prison. Little Dorrit is a novel of serendipity, of fortunes won and lost, and of the spectre of imprisonment that hangs over all aspects of Victorian society. The novel attacks the injustices of the contemporary English legal system, particularly the institution of debtors’ prison. The main theme of Little Dorrit is imprisonment. The theme echoes throughout this dark novel. There are loveless marriages, incompetent government offices and the stifling influence of society. The novel Little Dorrit begins in Marseilles "thirty years ago", with the notorious murderer Rigaud telling his cellmate John Baptiste Cavalletto how he killed his wife. Arthur Clennam is detained in Marseilles with a group of travellers in quarantine. He meets new friends in the quarantine. He is returning to London to see his mother after 20 years in China with his father, handling that part of the family business. His father died there. In London, William Dorrit, imprisoned as a debtor, has been a resident of Marshalsea debtors' prison for over twenty years. His three children are Edward, Fanny and Amy. Amy is known as Little Dorrit and she was born there. You can listen online to free English audiobook “Little Dorrit” by Charles Dickens on our website.