A tantalizing tour through a true bibliomystery that will “get people talking about one of literature’s greatest enigmas” (KentOnline).
When Dickens died on June 9, 1870, he was halfway through writing his last book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Since that time, hundreds of academics, fans, authors, and playwrights have presented their own conclusion to this literary puzzler.
Step into 150 years of Dickensian speculation to see how our attitudes both to Dickens and his mystifying last work have developed. At first, enterprising authors tried to cash in on an opportunity to finish Dickens’ book. Dogged attempts of early twentieth-century detectives proved Drood to be the greatest mystery of all time. Earnest academics of the mid-century reinvented Dickens as a modernist writer. Today, the glorious irreverence of modern bibliophiles reveals just how far people will go in their quest to find an ending worthy of Dickens.
Whether you are a die-hard Drood fan or new to the controversy, Dickens scholar Pete Orford guides readers through the tangled web of theories and counter-theories surrounding this great literary riddle. From novels to websites; musicals to public trials; and academic tomes to erotic fiction, one thing is certain: there is no end to the inventiveness with which we redefine Dickens’ final story, and its enduring mystery.
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Be warned, if you haven’t read the unfinished Dickens work already
I guess I took it for granted the author was including either the Dickens work or at least a synopsis, before the discussion, but he is taking it for granted the reader is already well familiar with the unfinished work. Since I have not read it, I had to track down a copy in order to learn the characters and the roles they play in the narrative before I could understand the author’s erudite discussion of the various solutions offered.
In fairness to the author, he does a good job of organizing the solutions into types and keeping his analyses reasonably objective.
But if you haven’t read the “Drood’ work first, do so, or this book may be a trial to understand.