Charles Mitchell: The Mystery of Edwin Drood - The Interior and Exterior of Self

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HE pre­vail­ing crit­i­cal com­ment on Dick­ens' The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood has been di­rect­ed more to­ward the sec­ond than to­ward the first half, that is, more to­ward what Dick­ens did not write than what he did. As a re­sult most of the crit­i­cism has taken the form of spec­u­la­tion, with the major re­cent ef­fort repre­senting a mas­ter­ly Sher­lock Holmes so­lu­tion to its mys­tery (Felix Aylmer, The Drood Case (New York, 1965). Crit­i­cal re­luc­tance to en­gage with any­thing as prob­lem­at­ic as half a lit­er­ary cre­ation is only nat­u­ral, but the re­sult has been a de­val­u­a­tion of the novel, the gen­er­al opin­ion being that it is the tired work of a tired imag­i­na­tion. There are, how­ev­er, suf­fi­cient guide lines to per­mit our un­der­stand­ing of its aims: com­pli­cat­ed pat­terns of char­ac­ter re­la­tion­ship and den­si­ty of sym­bol­ic tex­ture man­i­fest the fine imag­i­na­tive in­tri­ca­cy of Dick­ens' treat­ment of a sub­ject which had long oc­cu­pied him.

A re­cur­rent con­cern in Dick­ens' nov­els is with the du­al­ism which con­sti­tutes the human en­ti­ty: the re­la­tion be­tween the inner and outer man. The inner man is that part of a per­son which de­ter­mines his being as an en­ti­ty sep­a­rate from the world around him. It in­cludes those fac­ul­ties which de­ter­mine what is real with­in the in­di­vid­u­al con­scious­ness, where­as the outer man is that part of a man which pro­vides him with a re­al­i­ty out­side his in­di­vid­u­al con­scious­ness, in the world. In their ideal states the inner and outer parts of man are so bal­anced and blend­ed that they can­not be dis­tin­guished an­a­lyt­i­cal­ly, but in fall­en or cor­rupt­ed man, these two con­di­tions of self be­come sep­a­rat­ed. They exist dis­junc­tive­ly in the sin­gle char­ac­ter of Wem­mick in Great Ex­pec­ta­tions, where his pub­lic self re­lates to the outer world of Lit­tle Britain and his pri­vate self to Wal­worth (which is in­deed walled-in worth). In Wem­mick the two halves of the self are so far dis­joined that they can­not con­firm each other. The char­ac­ters who re­ceive the brunt of Dick­ens' satir­ic at­tack are those who have ne­glect­ed the in­te­ri­or self in order to fos­ter an ex­te­ri­or self, since the re­al­i­ty of such men tends to be un­re­al. For ex­am­ple, in Mar­tin Chuz­zle­wit, what Peck­sniff is in­ward­ly di­rect­ly con­tra­dicts, and hence negates the re­al­i­ty of, what he ap­pears to be. He is whol­ly the ex­te­ri­or man, view­ing him­self as oth­ers see him pub­licly, not as he might view him­self — as does the read­er — from with­in. So many of Dick­ens' char­ac­ters seem un­re­al be­cause they have lost con­tact with the re­al­i­ty of their inner selves. Yet if there is a dan­ger in a per­son's los­ing con­tact with his inner self, there is an equal dan­ger in his los­ing con­tact with his outer self by his with­draw­al into his in­te­ri­or re­al­i­ty. Both kinds of in­com­plete self are de­lin­eat­ed in Hard Times, where Bound­er­by is the epit­o­me of the ex­te­ri­or man and Grad­grind, of the in­te­ri­or man. Since for Bound­er­by only the outer world is real, he takes his re­al­i­ty from his re­la­tion to it: he ex­ists only in terms of his sta­tus in it; es­pe­cial­ly does he exist in the opin­ions of oth­ers. Grad­grind, on the other hand, takes his re­al­i­ty from his own mind, and he does not so much re­gard the ex­ter­nal world as pos­sess­ing an ob­jec­tive re­al­i­ty and worth as he con­sid­ers it a con­struc­tion of his own mind. For Grad­grind, re­al­i­ty — in­clud­ing self, fam­i­ly, and world — is math­e­mat­i­cal. For Dick­ens the para­dox of the du­al­is­tic self is that while the ex­te­ri­or man makes him­self un­re­al by for­sak­ing his inner self, the in­te­ri­or man makes him­self un­re­al by los­ing con­tact with the out­side world. Both as­pects of the para­dox are re­al­ized in Wem­mick, who does not be­come human until he re­lates his inner self to the world out­side by as­sist­ing Pip. Of Dick­ens' penul­ti­mate ef­fort, J. Hillis Miller has writ­ten: " Bradley at least no longer lives as a false sur­face, as do the Ve­neer­ings, but his tragedy is ev­i­dence that it is impos­sible for men to live en­tire­ly in terms of their depths. These are en­tire­ly aso­cial, en­tire­ly de­struc­tive and self-de­struc­tive. To ac­cept them with­out trans­mut­ing them in some way is in­evitably to be swal­lowed up by the in­te­ri­or storm. Thus, in Dick­ens' last un­fin­ished novel, The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood, John Jasper, Lay Pre­cen­tor in a placid provin­cial cathe­dral town, is driv­en to mur­der by an amorous pas­sion ris­ing from the stormy depths of his being to over­whelm and en­gulf the quiet sur­face of his life. What had been a sub­sidiary theme in Our Mu­tu­al Friend here holds the cen­ter of the stage."

In a novel whose focus is not de­ter­mined by per­son­al perspec­tive, the uni­fy­ing agent of its di­ver­si­ty is the theme, or con­cep­tu­al per­spec­tive. Such seems to be the case in The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood, where no sin­gle char­ac­ter oc­cu­pies the stage for a ma­jor­i­ty of the time; yet in so far as the nar­ra­tive be­gins with Jack Jasper and events col­lect (or are or­ga­nized) around his in­ten­tions, he may be said to pro­vide a par­tial or dis­tort­ed focus for the novel's mul­ti­plic­i­ty. The novel be­gins with a dou­bling of focus which makes us aware of two re­al­i­ties: an inner and an outer, the fan­tastic, opi­at­ed mind of Jasper en­vi­sion­ing Turk­ish palaces and danc­ing girls and the more local re­al­i­ty of the En­glish Cathe­dral Tower in the world just out­side the win­dow. In the sec­ond para­graph of the novel, we learn that the ex­ter­nal re­al­i­ty (the cathe­dral ris­ing in the "back­ground") does not exist: it is less real than the in­ter­nal fan­ta­sy, for the for­mer is ques­tioned, where­as the lat­ter is not. And when Jasper wakes up, it is to the fore­ground re­al­i­ty of the opium par­lor — "the mean­est and clos­est of small rooms" — which, sym­bol­iz­ing his pri­vate re­al­i­ty, con­firms the fan­tas­tic vi­sion to which it has given rise. But it is an iso­lat­ed pri­vate re­al­i­ty which is un­re­lat­ed to the ob­jec­tive world just out­side the win­dow of the self. Jasper's task in the un­fin­ished course of the novel is to find a way of re­lat­ing his inner vi­sion to the world out­side. He trav­els in quest of an ob­ject in the out­side world which will cor­re­spond, and hence give re­al­i­ty to, his vi­sion; but he is "a jaded trav­eller" (Chap­ter I) one who is not sat­is­fied with the world as it is, and would not re­late to it so much as trans­form it, re­duc­ing it to the mere sub­stance upon which he can pro­ject his inner world. Such a re­la­tion of the inner man to the outer world is es­tab­lished by what Dick­ens calls the "un­clean spir­it of im­i­ta­tion" (I), for there ex­ists only the im­i­ta­tive il­lu­sion of rela­tionship so long as the inner man will not sub­mit to an ex­ter­nal re­al­i­ty more pedes­tri­an or gross than the vi­sions which his mind cre­ates to sat­is­fy it­self. Hence Jasper is one who "lived apart from human life. Con­stant­ly ex­er­cis­ing an Art which brought him into me­chan­i­cal har­mo­ny with oth­ers, and which could not have been pur­sued un­less he and they had been in the nicest me­chan­i­cal re­la­tions and uni­son, it is cu­ri­ous to con­sid­er that the spir­it of the man was in moral ac­cor­dance or in­ter­change with noth­ing around him" (XXIII).

This di­vi­sion be­tween Jasper's inner and outer selves — which re­ceives ex­plic­it no­ta­tion when Dick­ens says of Jasper that he be­came "a breath­ing man again with­out the small­est stage of tran­si­tion be­tween the two ex­treme states" (III) — is re­flect­ed in other char­ac­ters. Of a minor char­ac­ter Dick­ens ob­serves, "As, in some cases of drunk­en­ness, and in oth­ers of an­i­mal mag­netism, there are two states of con­scious­ness which never clash... so Miss Twin­kle­ton has two dis­tinct and sep­a­rate phas­es of being" (III). But not all of the char­ac­ters in the novel have dual be­ings; Edwin, Dur­dles, and Sapsea, re­veal the lim­i­ta­tions of those who, hav­ing ab­jured their inner selves, re­late only to the world out­side. Such char­ac­ters have de­hu­man­ized them­selves by ex­ter­nal­iz­ing them­selves. Hence, to un­der­stand Dick­ens' sym­pathy for Jasper, who is al­most to­tal­ly the inner man, we must first glance at these char­ac­ters who have re­duced them­selves to outer men. Through these sole­ly ex­te­ri­or­ized selves, Dick­ens in­di­cates the need for the inner self; and through the ex­ces­sive­ly in­te­ri­or­ized self —Jasper — Dick­ens re­veals the ne­ces­si­ty for re­lating the in­te­ri­or self to the ex­te­ri­or world. Jasper does work to ex­te­ri­or­ize his inner self — through Rose­bud — but his ef­fort is mis­di­rect­ed be­cause he seeks to in­te­ri­or­ize ex­ter­nal re­al­i­ty: to draw the world into the realm of his mind mere­ly to uti­lize the world as mat­ter to sub­stan­ti­ate his dream; he does not — as do Crisparkle, Grew­gious, Tar­tar, and Neville —at­tempt to di­rect his inner self into an outer world which is often hos­tile to the self. The world, seek­ing con­for­mi­ty to its ways, tries to force the indi­vidual to sur­ren­der his inner self and ad­vance his ex­te­ri­or self in ac­cor­dance with ex­te­ri­or val­ues. The value dif­fer­ence be­tween the ex­te­ri­or and in­te­ri­or goals of life is marked by Jasper in his dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween his and his opium sup­pli­er's dreams: "What vi­sions can she have? ... Vi­sions of many butch­ers' shops, and pub­lic-hous­es, and much cred­it? Of an in­crease of hideous cus­tomers, and this hor­roble bed­stead set up­right again, and this hor­ri­ble court swept clean? What can she rise to, under any quan­ti­ty of opium, high­er than that! — Eh?" (I).

The char­ac­ter in the novel most patent­ly de­fi­cient in inner self is Sapsea, "the purest Jack­ass in Clois­ter­ham" (IV); and it is iron­i­cal­ly ap­pro­pri­ate that he achieves the great­est sta­tion in that part of the world. The outer man gains his re­al­i­ty only from so­ci­ety: by re­nounc­ing the self as ori­gin of value and ac­qui­esc­ing to so­ci­ety's dic­ta­tion of val­ues, he is re­ward­ed with rep­u­ta­tion. In such a case, the self's re­al­i­ty ex­ists in the minds of oth­ers, and even though that self's re­al­i­ty may seem to be sub­stan­ti­at­ed by its sta­tus in the world, this re­al­i­ty is only ap­par­ent if there is no in­te­ri­or sub­stance for the world to re­flect in its opin­ion. Sapsea's re­al­i­ty is that of an image in a mir­ror be­fore which no one is stand­ing. To exist as a mere outer man is for Dick­ens not to exist at all, since for Dick­ens re­al­i­ty in­volves "the hon­est and true" (XX). Sapsea's ex­ter­nal­ized self is so un­re­al that it can hard­ly be rec­og­nized as his: "Mr. Sapsea 'dress­es at' the Dean; has been bowed to for the Dean, in mis­take" (IV). The Dean, whom Sapsea im­i­tates, would seem to in­car­nate the pure­ly so­cial val­ues, as Sapsea in­di­cates when he com­mends the Topes to Datch­ery: "'Very good peo­ple, sir, Mr. and Mrs. Tope,' said Mr. Sapsea, with con­de­scen­sion. ' Very good opin­ions. Very well be­haved. Very re­spect­ful. Much ap­proved by the Dean and Chap­ter'" (XVIII). Sapsea's re­al­i­ty is mere­ly so­cial: "Mr. Sapsea has many ad­mir­ers; in­deed, the propo­si­tion is car­ried by a large local ma­jor­i­ty, even in­clud­ing non-be­liev­ers in his wis­dom, that he is a cred­it to Clois­ter­ham" (IV). But though Sapsea re­ceives his re­al­i­ty from so­ci­ety, he gives it noth­ing to de­serve that ex­ter­nal re­al­i­ty; re­main­ing com­plete­ly "self-suf­fi­cient," he uses rather than serves his so­ci­ety: "he would up­hold him­self against mankind" (IV). Sapsea uses so­ci­ety mere­ly as the sub­stance for re­al­iz­ing his in­sub­stan­tial outer self; his op­po­site, John Jasper uses Rose­bud, as we shall see, sim­ply as the sub­stance for sup­ply­ing re­al­i­ty to his dream. Just as Sapsea would be­come the enemy of all mankind if need be, so like­wise Jasper would be satis­fied with Rose­bud's hate might he have her (XIX).

Like Sapsea, in whose com­pa­ny he is first in­tro­duced, Dur­dles is "high­ly con­scious of [his] dig­ni­ty" (IV). In fact, Dur­dles would seem to be a kind of ex­ten­sion of Sapsea, or at least a kind of walk­ing metaphor of what the outer man, Sapsea, is like in­side: that is to say, Sapsea has no in­side, for Dur­dles is a walk­ing dead man. That Dur­dles is a per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of the dead inner man is first in­di­cat­ed by his pref­er­ence for the com­pa­ny of the dead to that of the liv­ing. His nick­name "Stony" (he has "the ster­ile cold­ness of the stony-heart­ed," XXII) and his outer ap­pear­ance fur­ther in­di­cate that he is one of the dead: "Dur­dles is a stone­ma­son; chiefly in the grave­stone, tomb, and mon­u­ment way, and whol­ly of their colour from head to foot" (IV). Dur­dles' de­fi­cien­cy of inner self is man­i­fest­ed by his pe­cu­liar way of re­fer­ring to him­self in the third per­son: "He often speaks of him­self in the third per­son; per­haps, being a lit­tle misty as to his own iden­ti­ty" (IV). He has only an ex­te­ri­or being — his third-per­son ex­is­tence in the minds of oth­ers — and thus knows him­self only as a dis­tant per­son. Im­me­di­ate­ly prior to Dur­dles' ap­pear­ance, Sapsea had lapsed into the third per­son in speak­ing of him­self: "What if her hus­band had been near­er on a level with her?" It is ap­pro­pri­ate that Dick­ens should make this trait ex­plic­it when Sapsea has risen to the may­oral­ty: "There was some­thing in that third-per­son style of being spo­ken to, that Mr. Sapsea found par­tic­u­lar­ly rec­og­nizant of his mer­its and posi­tion" (XVIII). The sym­bol­ic con­nec­tion be­tween Sapsea and Dur­dles now be­comes ob­vi­ous; in fact, Dur­dles makes ob­vi­ous the im­pli­ca­tion of Sapsea's ex­is­tence: that the outer man is in­ward­ly dead.

The im­por­tance in the novel of Sapsea, and through him Dur­dles, is clar­i­fied when the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween Sapsea and Edwin Drood are ob­served. It would seem that Sapsea rep­re­sents the kind of char­ac­ter into which Edwin would grow were he never af­ford­ed the op­por­tu­ni­ty to alter his per­son­al­i­ty — from that of a pri­mar­i­ly outer man to that of the inner man. Edwin's de­fi­cien­cy in imag­i­na­tion (II) and his pro­fes­sion of en­gi­neer re­veal him to be an outer man; his val­ues and his treat­ment of Rose­bud show that he is well on the way to be­com­ing him­self a Mr. Sapsea and to trans­form­ing Rose­bud into a Mrs. Sapsea. Edwin, it is said, re­gards his ex­pect­ed mar­riage as a "pro­pri­etor­ship" (VII), and he in­tends to change Rose­bud into a docile crea­ture ac­cord­ing to the grave­ly good val­ues up­held by men like Sapsea: "I'm going to paint her grave­ly, one of these days, if she's good" (VIII). The pun on "grave­ly" in­di­cates that Rose­bud's inner self would be laid to rest just as sure­ly as Mrs. Sapsea al­ready is. Further­more, Edwin al­ready re­gards Rose­bud as Sapsea did his spouse. Edwin re­al­izes fi­nal­ly that he "had al­ways pa­tron­ized her, in his su­pe­ri­or­i­ty to her share of woman's wit" (XIII), and Sapsea re­marks that his own be­trothed was "im­bued with homage to Mind. . . . mean­ing my­self" (IV). It would seem, then, that Sapsea is im­por­tant in the novel as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the outer man and that his pres­ence is made rel­e­vant to the main ac­tion, as it cen­ters around Rose­bud, when Sapsea's char­ac­ter is re­lat­ed to Edwin's. In Sapsea we dis­cern, as in a sym­bol­ic embodi­ment, the rea­son why Edwin does not merit the sym­bol­ic rose­bud of life and why Rosa Bud dreads to be­come Mrs. Drood.

Both Edwin and Jasper love Rose­bud, but the dis­sim­i­lar­i­ty be­tween their two kinds of love man­i­fests the vast dif­fer­ence be­tween the outer and the inner man. As he pleads his case be­fore Rose­bud, Jasper ob­serves the great gap be­tween Edwin and. him­self: "Much as my dear boy was, un­hap­pi­ly, too self-con­scious and self-sat­is­fied ... to love as he should have loved, or as any one in his place would have loved — must have loved!" (XIX). We are made to sym­pa­thize with Jasper in so far as we are meant to re­gard the inner man as su­pe­ri­or to the outer man. It may be pos­si­ble that we are meant to con­sid­er the mur­der (which may never in fact have hap­pened) sym­bol­i­cal­ly: that is, if the self must kill the outer man in order to lib­er­ate the inner man, we can sym­pa­thize with the ne­ces­si­ty of sym­bol­ic death need­ed for a psy­chic re­birth. At the lit­er­al level, Edwin does un­der­go a great change on the very day of his sup­posed death, be­com­ing more near­ly an in­ward man: his new re­la­tion­ship with Rose­bud now "be­came el­e­vat­ed into some­thing more self-deny­ing, hon­ourable, af­fec­tion­ate, and true" (XIII). It would seem that Edwin and Jasper are re­lat­ed sym­bol­i­cal­ly as the two halves of a sin­gle being, just as Helen and Neville form a sym­bol­ic two-in-one re­la­tion­ship. Not only are Helen and Neville twins, but they speak as one per­son (VII). Sim­i­lar­ly, Jasper and Edwin are blood rel­a­tives, though Jasper is sev­er­al years the older; sig­nif­i­cant­ly, Edwin's change of self caus­es him to be­come sud­den­ly "old al­ready" (XIII). But though we can sym­pa­thize with a sym­bol­ic mur­der, it is more dif­fi­cult to ac­cept the lit­er­al kind. Jasper's love is as ex­ces­sive as Edwin's is de­fi­cient: and sim­i­lar­ly, just as the inner man is ab­sent from Edwin, so the out­go­ing man is ab­sent from Jasper. And fur­ther if Sapsea, Dur­dles, and Edwin are in­ward­ly dead be­cause they lack an inner self, so Jasper is moral­ly dead be­cause he lacks an outer self.

A major fac­ul­ty of the inner man, the imag­i­na­tion, is ab­sent from Edwin, whose most po­et­ic thought is to give Rose­bud a birth­day gift of as many pairs of gloves as she is years old: "They must be pre­sent­ed to-night, or the po­et­ry is all gone" (II). In con­trast Jasper, as we are aware from the open­ing para­graph, has a tremen­dous imag­i­na­tion; it is in fact the large­ness of his imagi­nation which pre­vents him from ac­qui­esc­ing to the small­ness of his out­ward ex­is­tence: "I hate it. The cramped monotony of my ex­is­tence grinds me away by the grain" (II). His descrip­tion of the town seems ac­cu­rate: "Clois­ter­ham is a lit­tle place. Cooped up in it my­self, I know noth­ing be­yond it, and feel it to be a very lit­tle place" (VI), for it is sup­port­ed by Dick­ens' refer­ences to it as "A monotonous, silent city" (III) and a place of "in­signif­i­cance" (VI). As a re­sult, we sym­pa­thize with Jasper for try­ing to es­cape a mean outer world by with­draw­ing into the in­te­ri­or world of his own imag­i­na­tion. But this in­ward with­drawal in­volves a dis­tor­tion since it con­tracts all re­al­i­ty to the ob­ses­sive dream image, which it cre­ates in order to free the self from the con­stric­tions of ex­te­ri­or re­al­i­ty. We are re­mind­ed re­peatedly that Jasper is one who con­cen­trates re­al­i­ty: Jasper's face "is never, on this oc­ca­sion or on any other, di­vid­ed­ly ad­dressed; it is al­ways con­cen­trat­ed " (III), and he is " so concen­trated on one idea, and on its at­ten­dant fixed pur­pose, that he would share it with no fel­low-crea­ture " (XXIII). Ear­li­er the act of con­cen­tra­tion was re­lat­ed to opium smok­ing and hence the act of imag­in­ing: Jasper's opium sup­pli­er is de­scribed "Blow­ing at a kind of pipe, to kin­dle it. And as she blows... concen­trates its red spark of light" (I). The red spark that is Jasper's con­cen­trat­ed idea or image is, out­ward­ly, Rosa Bud.

The image of Rose­bud in Jasper's mind and the real Rose­bud are not quite the same, but Jasper's de­sire to ver­i­fy his dream will not, it seems, stop even at mur­der to fuse the inner and the outer re­al­i­ties. From the very first Jasper is con­cerned to deter­mine what is real, and in this he is like Dick­ens search­ing to­ward and try­ing to de­fine what is ex­is­ten­tial­ly, imag­i­na­tive­ly, and mor­ally real. Just as on the first page Jasper has trou­ble ascer­taining what is real, so dur­ing his last ap­pear­ance he is still con­cerned with that prob­lem, re­mark­ing in the midst of his last opium dream, " I told you so. When it comes to be real at last, it is so short that it seems un­re­al for the first time.... Look at it! Look what a poor, mean mis­er­able thing it is! That must be real" (XXIII). The in­fi­nite vi­sion is in it­self not suf­fi­cient­ly real; it per­mits Jasper to tran­scend the lim­i­ta­tions of a fi­nite world, only to be left with the lim­i­ta­tions of the in­fi­nite. There­fore, the red spark of the mind seeks in­car­na­tion in the rose­bud of the flesh. Jasper es­capes in­ward and up­ward from an outer and base re­al­i­ty; through his imag­i­na­tion he rises to a glo­ri­ous ce­les­tial re­al­i­ty (I), pop­u­lat­ed not only with a Turk­ish sul­tan (I), but also with an "angel" (the term with which Jasper ad­dress­es Rose­bud in Chap­ter XIX). It is not enough, how­ev­er, to de­scend from the vi­sion­ary re­al­i­ty and enter the outer world again with only a vi­sion­ary image to com­fort one there: Jasper says that he "wor­shipped in tor­ment for years, I loved you madly; in the dis­taste­ful work of the day, in the wake­ful mis­ery of the night, gird­ed by sor­did re­al­i­ties, or wan­der­ing through Par­adis­es and Hells of vi­sions into which I rushed, car­ry­ing your image in my arms, I loved you madly " (XIX). Be­fore Jasper can pos­sess a vi­sion­ary re­al­i­ty, the image must take flesh. For that rea­son Jasper seeks Rose­bud's sub­stance rather than her love: "How beau­ti­ful you are!" he tells her. "You are more beau­ti­ful in anger than in re­pose. I don't ask you for your love; give me your­self and your ha­tred; give me your­self and that pret­ty rage; give me your­self and that en­chant­ing scorn; it will be enough for me" (XIX). He does not need her love be­cause he does not give her his. Al­though he avows the sin­cer­i­ty of his love to Rose­bud: "My love for you is above all other love, and my truth to you is above all other truth" (XIX), there is nei­ther love nor truth in the re­la­tion­ship he de­sires with Rose­bud. Since she seeks only to im­pose his image on her flesh, Jasper, Rosa's mu­sic-mas­ter, mas­ters her, in­stead of of­fer­ing him­self to her in a re­cip­ro­cal re­la­tion­ship. Since it is not Rose­bud's inner self, but her outer self — her beau­ty — which at­tracts Jasper, he re­sem­bles his op­po­site, Edwin the outer man. By dis­re­gard­ing her inner self, her in­di­vid­u­al­i­ty, both would es­tab­lish a re­la­tion­ship of "bondage" (XIII).

The act of im­pos­ing an image upon re­al­i­ty re­duces that re­al­i­ty by con­fin­ing it to the image. Jasper is to be ad­mired be­cause he does pos­sess an inner self, but he is to be judged severe­ly be­cause he does not send it out into the world to meet an­oth­er self. What he seems will­ing to do is at­tempt, by mur­der, to draw a part of outer re­al­i­ty (Rose­bud) into his mind. Where­as a man like Sapsea ex­ter­nal­izes him­self in order to de­ter­mine his re­al­i­ty in an ex­ter­nal world, Jasper in­te­ri­or­izes ex­ter­nal re­al­i­ty in order to give re­al­i­ty to his inner self. The re­sult in ei­ther ex­treme, is un­truth, un­re­al­i­ty. Fur­ther­more, Sapsea ha­bit­u­al­ly pro­claims his vast knowl­edge of the world when in fact he has never been be­yond the con­fines of Clois­ter­ham. It seems that Sapsea's habit of im­ply­ing a pro­fessed egress into the world, which is contra­dicted by his con­tin­u­ous res­i­dence with­in Clois­ter­ham, serves as a kind of sym­bol­ic mir­ror of Jasper's own pro­fes­sion that in love his self has gone out to an­oth­er self when in fact it has not. And just as the basis for Sapsea's knowl­edge of the world is the ar­ti­cles that come into his pos­ses­sion, so like­wise the only basis for Jasper's love is his in­te­ri­or­iza­tion of Rose­bud's per­son­al­i­ty into his own mind.

One must make the trip to the in­te­ri­or of the self m order to avoid being a mere­ly outer man, like Sapsea, Dur­dles, or Edwin; but once hav­ing dis­cov­ered the inner man there, one must guide the self back out to the ex­ter­nal world in order to re­late truly to oth­ers and to one­self. The fig­ures in the novel who re­late the in­te­ri­or self to the ex­te­ri­or self, that com­pos­ite self to the outer world, are Grew­gious, Neville, and Crisparkle. In Grew­gious we see an outer man try­ing to be coura­geous enough to rec­og­nize his inner self; in Neville we ob­serve the inner man strong­ly de­vel­oped and try­ing des­per­ate­ly to es­tab­lish con­tact with an un­sym­pa­thet­ic outer world; and in Crisparkle, who serves as a friend to Grew­gious and as guide to Neville, we dis­cern the whole man, his in­te­ri­or and ex­te­ri­or selves per­fect­ly syn­the­sized.

Grew­gious ob­vi­ous­ly has an in­te­ri­or self, but it is one which he has not dis­cov­ered at the out­set of the novel; Dick­ens says of him: "there are such un­ex­plored ro­man­tic nooks in the un­like­li­est men" (XI). When Dick­ens goes on to add, " even old tin­der­ous and touch­woody P. J. T. Pos­si­bly Jab­bered Thus [i. e., like Grew­gious], in or about sev­en­teen-forty-sev­en," it is clear that P. J. T. is a sym­bol­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Grew­gious, since Grew­gious is as dried out, or dead, as the man whose quar­ters he oc­cu­pies: "he had snuffed out his am­bi­tion (sup­pos­ing him to have ever light­ed it), and had set­tled down with his snuffers for the rest of his life under the dry vine and fig-tree of P. J. T., who plant­ed in sev­en­teen-forty-sev­en " (XI). In Grew­gious we ob­serve a dead man com­ing to life, in con­trast to Sapsea or Dur­dles, who are lead­ing dead lives.

When he first ap­pears, Grew­gious is ob­vi­ous­ly an in­com­plete man: in cre­at­ing him, Na­ture had said, " I re­al­ly can­not be wor­ried to fin­ish off this man; let him go as he is" (IX). In con­trast to Jasper, Grew­gious has al­most no in­ter­nal self: he him­self con­fesses, "I have no imag­i­na­tion" (XI); in­stead he is "so lit­er­al a man " (XI), that is, an outer man. Yet Grew­gious has a poten­tial inner self. Just as the given name of P. J. T. is Per­haps ("Per­haps John Thomas, or Per­haps Joe Tyler," XI), so the inner self of Grew­gious has only a sub­junc­tive re­al­i­ty: when Grew­gious toasts Mr. Baz­zard's suc­cess, he stam­mers, "And May! ... I am not at lib­er­ty to be def­i­nite — May! — my con­versational pow­ers are so very lim­it­ed that I know I shall not come well out of this — May! — it ought to be put imag­i­na­tive­ly, but I have no imag­i­na­tion —May! — the thorn of anx­i­ety is as near­ly the mark as I am like­ly to get — May it come out at last!" (XI). It seems like­ly that in toast­ing Baz­zard (whose tragedy, ti­tled The Thorn of Anx­i­ety, has not yet "come out," (XX), Grew­gious is ad­dress­ing a re­flec­tion of inner self. Grew­gious is un­able to re­late his inner self to the outer world be­cause of what he calls "the thorn of anx­i­ety," the fear of ex­press­ing the inner self through the outer self by tak­ing ac­tion in a world hos­tile to the self. In this re­spect, as in oth­ers, Grew­gious is the com­plete op­po­site of Jasper, since Jasper, ap­par­ent­ly, has the dar­ing to re­al­ize his inner self by killing his own nephew. The di­rect con­trast be­tween the timid Grew­gious and the bold Jasper is in­di­cat­ed by an in­verse par­al­lel in their per­son­al his­to­ries. Where­as Jasper steps in to take Rose­bud away from her be­trothed, Grew­gious, who loved Rose­bud's moth­er, had her taken from him by a bold­er lover; Grew­gious muses about Rose­bud's fa­ther, "I won­der whether he ever so much as sus­pect­ed that some one doted on her, at a hope­less, speech­less dis­tance, when he struck in and won her!" (XI). Though in the past Grew­gious lost Rose­bud's moth­er to a more coura­geous man, he takes bold­er steps in the pre­sent to see that he does not lose Rose­bud to Jasper.

Just as Jasper's vi­sion must re­main un­re­al until it is re­al­ized in the world out­side his mind, so like­wise Grew­gious's inner self re­mains ten­ta­tive until it is pressed out into the world out­side. Since the inner self can be­come it­self only by an out­go­ing fu­sion with the world, it is hard to de­ter­mine whether the ex­is­tence of inner self pre­cedes the out­go­ing of self or whether it comes into being in the very act of egress­ing. If one re­gards, as does Dick­ens, the mean­ing of a state­ment as the equiv­a­lent of the inner self, and its ex­pres­sion as the equiv­a­lent of the outer re­al­i­ty which man­i­fests it, then Grew­gious's al­ter­na­tive rea­sons for his in­abil­i­ty to ver­bal­ize amount to the same thing: "And if I do not clear­ly ex­press what I mean by that, it is ei­ther for the rea­son that . . . I can­not ex­press what I mean, or that hav­ing no mean­ing, I do not mean what I fail to ex­press" (XI). Al­though it is hard to say whether an ex­ist­ing inner self is pressed out (ex-pressed) into the ex­ter­nal world or whether it comes into being only after it finds ex­pres­sion there, Dick­ens seems to imply that both events occur si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly when the self re­lates it­self to an­oth­er self in love. Says Grew­gious, "my pic­ture does rep­re­sent the true lover as hav­ing no ex­is­tence sep­a­ra­ble from that of the beloved ob­ject of his af­fec­tions, and as liv­ing at once a dou­bled life and a halved life" (XI). In­so­far as the self is dou­bled in out­go­ing love, the self comes into being by lov­ing; in­so­far as the self is halved by lov­ing, it ex­ists prior to its out­go­ing. The need to ex­press, in both sens­es, one's inner self is great in Grew­gious; and though Grew­gious's smoothed out face is re­peat­ed­ly said to bear no ex­pres­sion, he does make a valiant ef­fort in the pre­sent, stam­mering though it may be, to force his inner self out: "And yet, through the very lim­it­ed means of ex­pres­sion that he pos­sessed, he seemed to ex­press kind­ness. If Na­ture had but fin­ished him off, kind­ness might have been rec­og­niz­able in his face at this mo­ment. But the notch­es in his fore­head wouldn't fuse to­geth­er, and if his face would work and couldn't play, what could he do, poor man!" (IX).

If in Grew­gious we be­hold the ex­te­ri­or man try­ing in the pre­sent to de­vel­op the in­te­ri­or self which he aban­doned in the past, in Neville we have some­thing like an ex­ag­ger­at­ed re­flec­tion of what Grew­gious's in­te­ri­or self might have been in the past, he will­ing. The sym­bol­ic con­nec­tion be­tween the two is sup­ported by the par­al­lel in the re­la­tion be­tween Grew­gious and Rose­bud's moth­er, whom Grew­gious loved and might have won, and the re­la­tion be­tween Neville and Rose­bud. The sym­bol­ic con­nec­tion be­tween Grew­gious and Neville is more strong­ly indi­cated by the fact that in the later chap­ters the lat­ter takes up res­i­dence in the same build­ing with Grew­gious, com­ing under his close watch.

In Neville we see pre­sent what was ab­sent in Grew­gious — courage. De­rived from the Latin cor, mean­ing heart, courage is an es­sen­tial con­stituent of the inner self. If we can say that Jasper rep­re­sents some­thing like the inner self as mind (or imagi­nation), we can also say that Neville re­sem­bles some­thing like the inner self as heart or feel­ing. Jasper and Neville are simi­larly de­scribed as dark men (dark­ness being as­so­ci­at­ed in the novel with the "twi­light depths" — XIV — of the in­te­ri­or self), but where­as Jasper stays in his dark­ness, Neville comes out of his. Al­though the imag­i­na­tion may help the self to re­side in it­self, the heart wants it to go out; as we have al­ready heard Grew­gious say, "the the lover [has] no ex­is­tence sep­a­ra­ble from that of the beloved ob­ject." Hence it is not Edwin or Jasper, but Neville, who, lov­ing Rose­bud with re­spect, seems to de­serve her.

Neville's his­to­ry with­in the novel seems to man­i­fest the grad­u­al emer­gence of the self from its dark in­te­ri­or re­gion into the ex­ter­nal world. De­scribed at the out­set as a tiger, Neville has just come from the dark jun­gles of Cey­lon "like a bar­bar­ic cap­tive . . . brought from some wild trop­i­cal do­min­ion" (VI) to the civ­i­lized shores of Eng­land. Neville makes re­peat­ed sym­bol­ic at­tempts to bring his self out into the world; it is ap­pro­pri­ate that he should be going for a long walk through the coun­try­side on the very morn­ing when Jasper, we are given the im­pres­sion, mur­ders Edwin and that Jasper's act should be com­mit­ted in the dark where­as Neville's take place in the light of day. A fur­ther way in which Neville's in­ten­tion to come to terms with the world is in­di­cat­ed by his study for the law, the branch of knowl­edge con­cerned, with the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the in­di­vid­u­al and his so­ci­ety. Neville's con­junc­tion with the world is as­sured, sym­bol­i­cal­ly, when a friend­ship be­tween him­self and Tar­tar is cul­ti­vat­ed: "you seem to like my gar­den aloft here," Tar­tar tells Neville, "If you would like a lit­tle more of it, I could throw out a few lines an stays be­tween my win­dows and yours, which the run­ners would take to di­rect­ly" (XVII).

Where­as Neville is in the pro­cess of re­lat­ing to the world, Crisparkle man­i­fests the achieved inner har­mo­ny which both leads to, and re­sults from, re­lat­ing: he is an "early riser, mu­si­cal, clas­sical, cheer­ful, kind, good­na­tured, so­cial, con­tent­ed, and boy­like" (II). Crisparkle is ap­par­ent­ly the whole man in whom there ex­ists a per­fect mu­si­cal har­mo­ny of the self re­ver­ber­at­ing in the so­cial world out­side. Re­peat­ed­ly Crisparkle is pre­sent­ed as a syn­the­sis of the inner and outer man. He com­bines the Pagan (the dark, with­drawn inner man) and the Chris­tian (the out­go­ing man): " late­ly 'Coach' upon the chief Pagan high roads, but since pro­mot­ed ... to his pre­sent Chris­tian beat" (II). The syn­the­sis is de­scribed in other tra­di­tion­al terms: "you are al­ways train­ing your­self . . . , body and mind" (XIV), he is told. And his syn­the­sis is de­fined in a less tra­di­tion­al fash­ion: "he had the eyes of a mi­cro­scope and a tele­scope com­bined" (VI). Like Jasper, Crisparkle has the inner self's mi­cro­scop­ic power of con­cen­tra­tion, but he also rec­og­nizes the truth in Jasper's re­mark that "A man lead­ing a monotonous life, . . . and get­ting his nerves, or his stom­ach, out of order, dwells upon an idea until it loses its pro­por­tions" (XW); and so he com­bines it with the tele­scop­ic vi­sion of the outer man. Where­as Jasper rep­re­sents the inner man in a state of dis­ease: "I have been tak­ing opium for a pain — an agony — that some­times over­comes me" (II), Crisparkle rep­re­sents him in a state of health: "A fresh and healthy por­trait the look­ing-glass pre­sent­ed of the Rev­erend Sep­ti­mus" (VI).

It is not easy for the self to reach the syn­thet­ic state of health, for the world is hos­tile and the self is cow­ard­ly. And we may won­der how that achieved state ("you al­ways are, and never change," Crisparkle is told — XIV) is to be ac­quired, just as Edwin won­ders what might have hap­pened "if, in­stead of accept­ing his lot in life as an in­her­i­tance of course, he had stud­ied the right way to its ap­pre­ci­a­tion and en­chant­ment" (XIV). The char­ac­ter of Tar­tar pro­vides a sym­bol­ic def­i­ni­tion of the way. In Tar­tar there is a fine com­bi­na­tion of sym­bol­ic sea (of inner self) and land (of outer self) — a syn­the­sis reached by voy­ag­ing out (Tar­tar "had twelve or fif­teen years of knock­ing about first" — XVII) and then jour­ney­ing back: Tar­tar re­signed per­manently from the sea to "feel [his] way to the com­mand of a land­ed es­tate" (XVII).

Sea and water are used through­out the novel to sym­bol­ize the inner self and its mode of feel­ing. For ex­am­ple, Rose­bud's inner self is de­scribed in aque­ous terms: "Pos­sess­ing an ex­haust­less well of af­fec­tion in her na­ture, its spark­ing wa­ters had fresh­ened and bright­ened the Nun's House for years, and yet its depths had never yet been moved" (IX). De­fi­cien­cy of inner self is marked by a cer­tain dry­ness of soul: Grew­gious is, thus, de­scribed as "an arid, sandy man, who, if he had been put into a grind­ing-mill, looked as if he would have ground im­me­di­ate­ly into high-dried snuff" (IX). But one must not only con­tain the wa­ters of feel­ing, he must also, as Rose­bud's im­ma­tu­ri­ty shows, dive into the deep wa­ters of self; hence we are told of Crisparkle that he is "per­pet­u­al­ly pitch­ing him­self head-fore­most into all the deep run­ning water in the sur­round­ing coun­try" (II). It is clear that the self must also rise again from its dark wa­ters to re­turn to the sun­lit world lest it drown in it­self; the dan­ger of com­plete re­tire­ment into self is put sym­bol­i­cal­ly on the night that Jasper, who de­scribes him­self as "a muddy, soli­tary, mop­ing weed" (XIV), seem­ing­ly mur­ders Edwin: "The river at Clois­terham is suf­fi­cient­ly near the sea to throw up of­ten­times a quan­tity of sea­weed. An un­usu­al quan­ti­ty had come in with the last tide, and this, and the con­fu­sion of the water . . . and an angry light out sea­ward . . . fore­shad­owed a stormy night" (X).

Protest­ing for Rose­bud a love that is mad, Jasper has un­leashed his feel­ings through his wild, un­lim­it­ed imag­i­na­tion. It is clear from his case that the inner self must be con­trolled: "Our affec­tions, how­ev­er laud­able, in this tran­si­to­ry world, should never mas­ter us; we should guide them, guide them" (II). A man can con­trol the self nat­u­ral­ly by per­mit­ting the fe­male part of him­self to ex­press it­self: speak­ing of He­le­na's char­ac­ter to her broth­er, Neville, Crisparkle re­marks, "Your sis­ter has learnt how to gov­ern what is proud in her na­ture. She can dom­i­nate it even when it is wound­ed through her sym­pa­thy with you. . . . An­other and weak­er kind of pride might sink bro­ken-heart­ed, but never such a pride as hers" (XVII). The inner self is com­posed of mind and feel­ing, as Dick­ens in­di­cates when he de­scribes Rose­bud's sparkling water of self: "heed­less head, and light heart" (IX). In Jasper's case his head mas­ters his heart, where­as in Crisparkle's case, the heart guides the head. As the de­scrip­tion of He­le­na's inner self re­veals, it is the out­go­ing of self through heart­felt sym­pa­thy for oth­ers which cor­rects the un­healthy, mas­cu­line with­draw­al into self.

After its voy­age into its own deep wa­ters, the self must make the sym­bol­ic re­turn to land: it must re­turn to earth, sub­stance, re­al­i­ty lest it lose it­self in the fan­tas­ti­cal cre­ations of its own imag­i­na­tion. The need of the inner self to come to terms with outer re­al­i­ty is sug­gest­ed in Neville's sym­bol­ic sur­name — Land­less. Like­wise, the for­mer sailor Tar­tar has been "ac­cus­tomed to a very short al­lowance of land all [his] life" (XVII) be­fore re­turn­ing to the land. His oc­cu­pa­tion as sailor has been sym­bol­ic, for liv­ing a life of the sea, he has al­ways had to sub­mit to order and lim­i­ta­tion. There is a sym­bol­ic im­port in Tar­tar's descrip­tion of the lim­it­ed quar­ters to which a sailor is ac­cus­tomed: "I chose this place, be­cause, hav­ing served last in a lit­tle corvette, I knew I should feel more at home where I had a con­stant op­por­tu­ni­ty of knock­ing my head against the ceil­ing" (XVII). Where­as the mind of Jasper has no bounds, Tar­tar's is lit­er­al­ly con­fined. Not only do Tar­tar's quar­ters man­i­fest the lim­its which he sets for the self, they also man­i­fest the state of order in which his self ex­ists: "Mr. Tar­tar's cham­bers were the neat­est, the clean­est, and the best-or­dered cham­bers ever seen under the sun, moon, and stars" (XXII). Fur­ther­more, Tar­tar's apart­ment, like his inner self, com­bines as­pects of the sea and the land: "His bath-room was like a dairy, his sleep­ing-cham­ber . . . was like a seeds­man's shop," and yet "there was a sea-go­ing air upon the whole ef­fect so de­light­ful­ly com­plete, that the flow­er-gar­den might have ap­per­tained to stern-win­dows afloat" (XXII). Tar­tar com­bines the inner and outer man through a mean­ing­ful dis­ci­pline, con­trol­ling self-in­ter­est with con­cern for oth­ers: he saved Crisparkle from lit­er­al drawn­ing, and he saves Neville from psy­cho­log­i­cal drown­ing by send­ing out flow­er­ing run­ners which con­nect his and Neville's win­dows of self.

The voy­age into the dark wa­ters of self is fright­en­ing, but the jour­ney back is equal­ly dan­ger­ous, es­pe­cial­ly when the self ap­proaches the hard shore: "John Jasper's lamp is kin­dled, and his light­house is shin­ing when Mr. Datch­ery re­turns alone to­wards it . . . mariners on a dan­ger­ous voy­age, ap­proach­ing an iron-bound coast, may look along the beams of the warn­ing light to the haven lying be­yond it that may never be reached" (XXIII). It is ap­pro­pri­ate that Jasper's dwelling be com­pared to a light­house, be­cause his soli­tary ex­is­tence is sit­u­at­ed on the dan­ger­ous line of de­mar­ca­tion be­tween inner and outer self. He lives a life at the edge of the land, the outer world; and that edge is the dan­ger zone for the self since there it be­gins con­tact with an in­im­i­cal outer world — as does Neville — or there it has to sub­mit its un­lim­it­ed dreams to the lim­its of a fi­nite re­al­i­ty — as does Jasper. Tar­tar is one whose inner self reach­es the haven be­yond the shore be­cause he sets lim­its to his in­te­ri­or am­bi­tions: "it would never do for a man who had been aboard ship from his boy­hood to turn lux­u­ri­ous all at once" (XVII). Con­trari­wise, Jasper, whose nar­row light beams like that of a light­house upon the dark wa­ters of the night­ed self, sets no lim­its to his bound­less am­bi­tions.

Dick­ens sym­pa­thizes with the in­hu­man Jasper be­cause he (Dick­ens) feels that to be human one needs to dream. He says that the per­fect man, Crisparkle, has a "serene­ly ro­man­tic state of the mind-pro­duc­tive for the most part of pity and fore­bear­ance" (VI) and ob­serves that when Grew­gious speaks lofti­ly of human love, there is "some­thing dreamy" (XI) about him. The dream is to be found by voy­ag­ing from mere lit­er­al, ex­ter­nal re­al­i­ty into the dark wa­ters of self; hence Tar­tar's apart­ment is "a beau­ti­ful place," "like the in­side of the most exquisite ship that ever sailed," and is "Like a dream" (XXII). This in­ward voy­age is also an up­ward climb into the re­gions of the imagina­tion; thus when she vis­it­ed Tar­tar's apart­ment. Rose­bud never quite knew how "she as­cend­ed ... to his gar­den in the air, and seemed to get into a mar­vel­lous coun­try that came into sud­den bloom like the coun­try on the sum­mit of the magic bean­stalk. May it flour­ish for ever!" (XXI). But if one never re­turns from the mind's realm of dreams, the dream may be­come a dan­ger­ous night­mare: of Jasper it is said, "he seems to wan­der away into a fright­ful sort of dream in which he threat­ens most" (VII). One must de­scend back to the level of or­di­nary re­al­i­ty out­side the fan­tas­tic self: " But Mr. Tar­tar could not make time stand still; and time, with his hard-heart­ed fleet­ness, strode on so fast, that Rosa was obliged to come down from the bean-stalk coun­try to earth and her guardian's cham­bers" (XXII).

Below and out­side the self is mun­dane re­al­i­ty. Wrapped in the dark­ness of one's deep dreams, the inner self may never touch the outer light of re­al­i­ty. In con­trasts to Tar­tar's apart­ment, Jasper's is "most­ly in shad­ow." Even when the sun shines bril­liantly, it sel­dom touch­es the grand piano in the re­cess, or the folio mu­sic-books on the stand ... or the un­fin­ished pic­ture [of] Rose­bud" (II). Jasper's self re­mains with­in its own dark­ness; but a sim­i­lar self, Neville's, finds re­al­i­ty by mov­ing out­ward into life's light: "You have only to re­mem­ber," Crisparkle tells Neville, "that you are here your­self, and she [He­le­na] has to draw you into the sun­light" (XVII). Down to earth and in Rose­bud's guardian's cham­bers health can be found through rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of the inner and outer selves. In Grew­gious's quar­ters con­gre­gate all those with gen­uine selves: Grew­gious him­self, He­le­na, Neville, Rose­bud, Crisparkle, and Tar­tar. Had he lived to com­plete the novel, per­haps Dick­ens would have re­vealed that Jasper did not in fact mur­der Edwin and that he, too, would have found his way into the warm-heart­ed cham­bers of Glo­ri­ous Grew­gious. Earle Davis has ar­gued, for ex­am­ple, that be­cause he want­ed to sur­pass the plot of Wilkie Collins' The Moon­stone, Dick­ens in­tend­ed to show that Jasper had not mur­dered Edwin: "But one may le­git­i­mate­ly guess that he in­tend­ed, to write a novel which would be as sen­sa­tion­al and mys­ti­fy­ing as the one Collins wrote. He could lead the read­er to ex­pect that John Jasper mur­dered Drood, be­cause all the signs point­ing that way are in the tale. But if he were to sur­pass Collins, he would have to pro­vide a sud­den and sur­pris­ing con­clu­sion which would star­tle the read­er as The Moon­stone had done. It is there­fore most like­ly that he in­tend­ed to show Jasper, also under the in­flu­ence of opium, think­ing he had com­mit­ted a mur­der, even con­fess­ing to it. The sur­prise would be that Drood had re­al­ly es­caped and dis­ap­peared." Felix Aylmer, whose book of­fers ev­i­dence from with­in the novel to sup­port Davis's con­tention, con­cludes, "There will nat­u­ral­ly be a vi­o­lent change of heart at Sta­ple Inn. Grew­gious and Rosa will be bit­ter­ly ashamed of their sus­pi­cions."

For too long com­men­tary on Edwin Drood has pre­sumed that "it is not pos­si­ble to grasp the gen­uine sig­nif­i­cance of these ma­terials— to know, that is, what Dick­ens would have made of them." Com­men­ta­tors have felt that we must fin­ish Dick­ens' novel for him be­fore we can begin to de­ter­mine its sig­nif­i­cance: "How it would have been con­clud­ed, there­fore, is not mere idle spec­u­la­tion, or a de­tec­tive-game, but an es­sen­tial pre­lim­i­nary to any prop­er crit­i­cal un­der­stand­ing." Para­dox­i­cal­ly, the crit­i­cism has ar­gued that one must spec­u­late in order to un­der­stand, but has then con­clud­ed that be­cause spec­u­la­tion is du­bi­ous one can­not un­der­stand. The in­abil­i­ty to un­der­stand has led commenta­tors to con­clude that the final prod­uct of a ma­ture bril­liant writ­er is an in­fe­ri­or work: K. J. Field­ing con­cludes that "The writ­ing it­self does not show Dick­ens at his best," that "It is not par­ticularly in­ter­est­ing to judge the work sole­ly as it stands"; A. O. J. Cock­shut con­curs: "When a ma­ture artist re­verts to the style of his early pop­u­lar suc­cess­es, we are apt to di­ag­nose fa­tigue and loss of in­ter­est; par­tic­u­lar­ly, per­haps, when we know that his health was fail­ing and that he died with the book un­finished"; and Mon­roe Engel re­it­er­ates: "The rich under­current of sug­ges­tion, the­mat­ic and metaphor­i­cal, that sus­tains the greater nov­els of Dick­ens' ma­tu­ri­ty, is large­ly lack­ing here, where a tired but high­ly con­scious and wily nov­el­ist seems to have fall­en back pri­mar­i­ly on his undi­min­ished abil­i­ty to tell a grip­ping story." The pre­vail­ing crit­i­cal premise that spec­u­la­tion must pre­cede un­der­stand­ing has not only pre­vent­ed un­der­stand­ing, but led to mis­un­der­stand­ing. And so my ef­forts have been aimed at re­vers­ing the cur­rent crit­i­cal logic ap­plied to the un­fin­ished novel by fore­go­ing spec­u­la­tion about the un­known for anal­y­sis of the known. The fin­ished half per­mits us to see that the novel is not Dick­ens' weak­est ef­fort but one of his strongest, one in which Dick­ens "dropped away here all the bur­den of an­a­lyz­ing so­ci­ety," as Ed­mund Wil­son has noted, to con­cen­trate on the psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lem. Yet we may say that the two prob­lems are not dis­tinct, but that the so­cial prob­lem man­i­fests, and has its cause root­ed in, the psy­cho­log­i­cal. It may be pos­si­ble to say of the novel what Wil­son has said of its open­ing pages: that it "is per­haps the most com­plex piece of writ­ing from the psy­cho­log­i­cal point of view to be found in the whole of Dick­ens."


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