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This complex, sombre work, haunted by the symbol of the prison, is more than any other Dickens novel a study of society. George Bernard Shaw called it 'a masterpiece among many masterpieces' and claimed it converted him to socialism. Although many of the social conditions to which it refers have passed into history, Lionel Trilling asserts in his Introduction that 'Little Dorrit, one of the most significant works of the nineteenth century, will not fail to be thought of as speaking with a peculiar passion and intimacy to our own time.'
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