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Benny R. Reece: Mystery of Edwin Drood Solved

Отправлено 4 февр. 2018 г., 11:43 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 4 февр. 2018 г., 11:43 ]

My favourite example of this way of seeing the novel [using Dickens’ death as the point from which to read the text] is Benny R. Reece’s utterly mad book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood Solved (1989). It argues that Dickens wrote the book as a sort of inverted roman a clef, so that anyone familiar with Greek mythology could arrive at the ending he would never live to write.

Edwin Drood, he claims, is a puzzle designed by an author who had no intention of completing it (and which can therefore be seen as already finished), made to be deciphered by a reader who could identify the clues provided. Based on the assumption that Dickens had patterned his plot on Greek mythology, Reece makes Dickens’ text adopt the complicated family and intrigue patterns of the Olympic pantheon, making it necessary to conclude that Helena (as Artemis) killed Drood (as Orion) because he tried to rape her. Still according to this logic, Honeythunder (Zeus), Tartar (Poseidon) and Durdles (Pluto) are brothers; and Rosa (Eos) is romantically involved with Datchery, Drood, Grewgious and Joe (the omnibus driver), in what Reece accurately describes as a “frankly lewd” romantic subplot (Reece 1989:46). I, for one, never suspected Dickens had it in him.

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The Mystery of Edwin Drood … Concluded!

Отправлено 4 февр. 2018 г., 11:12 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 4 февр. 2018 г., 11:12 ]

In the summer of 1870, Charles Dickens was exhausted by work and travel and traumatized by the Staplehurst railway accident, which he survived but ten others did not. He died on June 9, leaving unfinished his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Ever since, readers have struggled to figure out how the novel would have ended, and the solutions to its various plot mysteries. Was Edwin Drood murdered, and if so, by whom? Who is the mysterious ‘Dick Datchery’ — a man (or woman?) — clearly in disguise? What is the destiny of the star-crossed nonlovers Drood and Rosa Bud, and the Sri Lankan (‘Ceylonese’) siblings known in England as Neville and Helena Landless? What would the ending have said about Dickens’s final views on the novel’s major themes: the passage of time and regimes, imperialism and colonialism, ‘progress’ and envy, and more?

Several UWGB students taking English 436: Major Authors: Dickens have ‘found’ some lost fragments that look like endings to Edwin Drood. To see the novel concluded, choose your adventure from these possibilities.

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Albert Field: The Mystery of Edwin Drood Solved by Charles Dickens

Отправлено 26 янв. 2018 г., 10:08 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 26 янв. 2018 г., 10:09 ]

Jasper's only purpose in life has been to hold Ned to him. He cannot have had a happy childhood, with no mother and (much of his life) no father. There was no one else but Ned to satisfy his need for love. And Ned, also having no mother and losing his father during adolescence, needs Jasper's love and loves him in return.

But now Ned is about to leave him both geographically and emotionally; when they dine together, he proposes a toast to Pussy, and that evening leaves her birthday present at the school. Grewgious makes it clear the wedding will take place, and the "lovers" are seen to kiss.

He will lose the only person he ever cared about and (more importantly) the only person who ever cared about him. He will be alone the rest of his life.

When Jasper banned the words "uncle" and "nephew," he was trying to bring them closer. Yet for two men who are too close in age to be father and son, there are only two relationships that are closer. It may be that Jasper wants Ned to feel that he is his brother (which is half true but cannot be revealed). Or it may be that he hopes for the closeness of a special friendship. All of his love is focused on Ned; he wants all of Neds love for himself.

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Rolf Parker: Brattleboro's T.P. James - Spiritualist, writer ... and conman?

Отправлено 25 дек. 2017 г., 12:01 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 25 дек. 2017 г., 12:01 ]


UPERSTITIONS has it that on Halloween, spirits of the dead come back to walk the earth. If true, T. P. James might choose to return to Brattleboro. This is where James claimed Charles Dickens' ghost dictated to him the ending to the unfinished novel "The Mystery of Edwin Drood." James published the completed novel in Brattleboro on Halloween, in 1873.

And if James's spirit was to come back to Brattleboro, the Market Block on Elliot Street, (the building which currently houses Taylor for Flowers and the Blueberry Haus Ice Cream parlor) might be a logical place to anticipate his return. James' book was first sold at E. J. Carpenter's store, which was in the center of the three shops housed on the first floor. James worked in the The Vermont Record and Farmer's print shop, which was in a narrow section towards the back of the building. The publishing office of the paper shared the second floor with apartments. Later in his career, James came to work as the co-editor and publisher of the Windham County Reformer, the forerunner of the Brattleboro Reformer, and entered the doorway which now fronts the ice cream parlor.

Did James believe his own story, that he channeled Dickens' ghost? Or was he a gifted literary con-man? Dickens died in 1870 leaving millions of people, who had been reading Drood in installments, without an ending to his murder mystery. This presented an obvious opportunity for writers and publishers.

News that work was being done in Brattleboro to complete the novel came in a long sensational article printed in The Springfield Union in July of 1873. Long excerpts of this article were reprinted in newspapers across the country, and in Brattleboro's Record and Farmer, in August of 1873. A shorter excerpt followed in the Record's competitor, the Vermont Phoenix as well as a vigorously skeptical denouncement of it. An anonymous "special correspondent" for the Union, claimed that in 1872, a poorly educated mechanic, a "Mr. A," encountered Dickens' ghost at s ances held by his landlady, who owned a boarding house on Oak Street. During his first s ance, which he attended reluctantly, the table "waltzed exuberantly around the room, and finally tipped over into the mechanic's lap." At another s ance, the mechanic, who "had never written so much as a newspaper paragraph for publication", fell into a trance, took up pen and paper, and proceeded to write.

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Edward Salmon: Mystery on Mystery

Отправлено 21 нояб. 2017 г., 13:30 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 21 нояб. 2017 г., 13:32 ]

After about a decade of hard work as a litterateur, I was beginning in 1871 to feel that I had secured the very smallest niche possible in the Temple of Fame. I was then, as I am now, a novelist—not a Scott, but still a novelist; not a genius, but a sufficiently capable wielder of the pen as penmen go. To be a great popular writer of fiction has always been my ambition, to be a toiling and inadequately-remunerated scribe has, until quite recently, been my lot.

'If the public or the publishers, or whoever it might have been, had been of the mind of some of my generous critics, I might have been pardoned if I had fancied myself one of those heroes who are born, not made. But whilst one reviewer here detected in my work more than a suggestion of 'quite Dickensesque power,' and another a 'strong Wilkie Collins-like uncanniness,' the public was laughing over Dickens and shuddering before Wilkie Collins and—I was writing. I produced a good deal more than the public ever read. For almost every manuscript that was printed, I placed another in the capacious recesses of several pigeon-holes, charitably determined if I was not permitted to realise the full fruits of my labours, some one, when it was posthumously discovered that my work was worth perusing, should have the opportunity of turning an easy shilling.

'Fame and fortune were, I found, not necessarily identical in the great republic of letters. Of the former I seemed to have enough and to spare; of the latter little or none. But it is unfair to grumble. I earned sufficient to make both ends meet, and lucky is the man who can say so much.

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Свен Карстен: О вещах "мелких, никчемных и жалких"

Отправлено 1 нояб. 2017 г., 14:36 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 1 нояб. 2017 г., 14:36 ]

У меня на­ко­пи­лось несколь­ко со­об­ра­же­ний, опи­са­ние ко­то­рых не тянет на от­дель­ную ста­тью, но ко­то­рые, как мне пред­став­ля­ют­ся, не ли­ше­ны ин­те­ре­са и могут про­дви­нуть рас­сле­до­ва­ние в нуж­ную сто­ро­ну. По­это­му я решил со­брать эти "poor, mean, miserable things" здесь под еди­ным за­го­лов­ком.

1. Иден­ти­фи­ка­ция Ку­рил­ки, вто­рой под­ход.

Ранее я утвер­ждал, что хо­зяй­ку опи­ум­но­го при­то­на, вы­ве­ден­ную Дик­кен­сом в об­ра­зе Прин­цес­сы Ку­рил­ки, звали Ханна Джон­сон, и она была женою ки­тай­ца А Синга, тоже тор­гов­ца опи­умом, кре­щё­ное имя ко­то­ро­го было Джек. Следы этого ки­тай­ца мы на­хо­дим в ро­мане: во-пер­вых, на пер­вом эс­ки­зе ри­сун­ка об­лож­ки, во-вто­рых, в самом тек­сте, где Прин­цес­са Ку­рил­ка рас­ска­зы­ва­ет Джас­пе­ру, что никто не умеет так хо­ро­шо при­го­то­вить опиум, как она, "ну, воз­мож­но, ис­клю­чая ещё Дже­ка-ки­тай­ца с про­ти­во­по­лож­ной сто­ро­ны двора". В поль­зу тео­рии, что Прин­цес­са Ку­рил­ка была женой Дже­ка-ки­тай­ца и дер­жа­ла, как бы, фи­ли­ал его ку­риль­ни, я при­во­дил ещё и тот факт, что в ре­аль­ной жизни Джек-ки­та­ец вы­гнал свою жену из дома за пьян­ство (она снес­ла в трак­тир и об­ме­ня­ла на вы­пив­ку даже сва­деб­ный по­да­рок Джека, шел­ко­вую ки­тай­скую шаль) — а мы пом­ним, что в ро­мане Ку­рил­ка "шест­на­дцать лет пила, не про­сы­хая". По­это­му, я пред­по­ло­жил, что жена Дже­ка-ки­тай­ца про­сто по­се­ли­лась в подъ­ез­де на­про­тив и от­кры­ла там свою ку­риль­ню (раз уж она на­бра­лась уже опыта у сво­е­го быв­ше­го мужа).

Но, по­хо­же всё-та­ки, Ханна Джон­сон ни при чём в этой ис­то­рии.

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Андрей Колотов: Тайна последнего романа Ч. Диккенса

Отправлено 6 окт. 2017 г., 10:34 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 6 окт. 2017 г., 10:34 ]

Намедни, обчитавшись сдуру навязчивой рекламы, совершил я трагический и совершенно необдуманный поступок. Скачал с интернета и прочитал роман Ч.Диккенса, «Тайна Эдвина Друда».

Жестокое разочарование постигло меня после прочтения первых же его страниц. Дурной, неудобоваримый перевод, выполненный, как выяснилось позднее, под руководством М.А.Шишмаревой аж в 1916 году для издательства П.П.Сойкина, где нарочито абстрактные описания чередовались с диалогами персонажей, напоминал скорее чрезмерно затянутую пьесу, нежели художественный роман. Для примера:

«Глава II Настоятель — и прочие.

...Не только день, но и год идет к концу. Яркое и все же холодное солнце висит низко над горизонтом за развалинами монастыря, и дикий виноград, оплетающий стену собора и уже наполовину оголенный, роняет темно-красные листья на потрескавшиеся каменные плиты дорожек ... Несколько листочков робко пытаются найти убежище под низким сводом церковной двери; но отсюда их безжалостно изгоняют, отбрасывая ногами, двое запоздалых молельщиков, которые в эту минуту выходят из собора. Затем один запирает дверь тяжелым ключом, а другой поспешно удаляется, зажимая под мышкой увесистую нотную папку.

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Jolene Zigarovich: Edwin Drood: The Preeminent Missing Body

Отправлено 3 окт. 2017 г., 5:13 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 3 окт. 2017 г., 5:13 ]

This study of missing bodies in Victorian fiction commenced with the enigmatic fate of M. Paul Emanuel in Charlotte Bronte's Villette. Perpetually shipwrecked, M. Paul is purposefully suspended in the narrative. Originally planning to have her hero killed off, Bronte appeased her father's desire for the heroine's potentially happy ending by producing a plot "puzzle" that all readers must attempt to solve for themselves: is M. Paul dead or does he return to Lucy Snowe? Writing Death and Absence demonstrates that the desire for return, for resurrection, is embedded in Victorian fiction. The fact that death is not always final in literature, and that readers can participate in resurrecting a character from mortal oblivion, is innately satisfying. We can thereby understand Rev. Bronte's displeasure with Villette's original ending. As this study has shown, missing bodies, fictional autobiographies, and the textually dead or missing all demand some form of obituary or embodiment. It is appropriate, then, that Writing Death and Absence concludes with a discussion of another novel that dramatizes an eternally "missing" character.

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Margaret Flanders Darby: Rosa Bud Grows Out From Under Her Little Silk Apron

Отправлено 1 окт. 2017 г., 11:13 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 1 окт. 2017 г., 11:13 ]


HARLES Dickens created a visually compelling dramatic entrance for Rosa Bud, heroine of The Mystery of Edwin Drood: "a charming little apparition, with its face concealed by a little silk apron thrown over its head, glides into the parlor". A little silk apron is both sign and travesty of bourgeois housewifery, of child and woman. An apparition that glides into the parlor, head shrouded under cloth, is both flesh and spirit, especially in the Nun's House parlor, with its deep history of female incarceration and denial of nature beneath its current character as stronghold of gentility. The last of Dickens's dimpled, ringletted, marriageable young women — "wonderfully pretty, wonderfully childish, wonderfully whimsical" — Rosa is a pert, willful child on the threshold of maturity, ready to question its assumptions and consider her independence from them. Greeting her fiancé from under an apron presents Rosa as ready to play with convention and also to contemplate casting it off. Owing to the accident of his premature death, Rosa Bud is the culmination of Dickens's reliance on charming young heroines; nonetheless, Rosa is more than last in the series. On the contrary, this essay will argue that she offers a remarkably modern point of view, voicing Dickens's evolving awareness of an effective defense, with Helena Landless's sisterly help, against sexual harassment. [Wendy Jacobson of Rhodes University, South Africa, wrote about Rosa Bud in the June 2001 issue of this journal. Although my focus here is less on the friendship of Helena and Rosa, and more on Rosa's self-determination, I find the earlier work helpful and congruent with my own.] He explored sexual obsession in his previous novel, Our Mutual Friend; in this subsequent novel he delves further than ever before into a woman's perspective as she responds to a dangerous, controlling man. It is Rosa's task to escape John Jasper's control by clearly articulating her situation, growing out from under the apron of genteel femininity, and running away.

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Stephanie Polsky: The Novel Ingestion of Opium and Orientalism in The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Отправлено 29 сент. 2017 г., 13:17 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 29 сент. 2017 г., 13:18 ]


N what would be the final year of his life, Dickens turns his literary attention to documenting the growing influence of the East on everyday British life. Dickens's increasingly strident critique of the wistful contemplation of distant countries in this novel, as well as its predecessors, Our Mutual Friend and Great Expectations, coincides with Britain's progressively more forceful imperial posture in the latter half of the nineteenth century. It is not the titular character of Edwin Drood who anticipates this turn to aggression toward the other both at home and abroad, but rather the mysterious character of his uncle, John Jasper. Through this character, Dickens is able to imagine nefarious allegiances forming that directly threaten an unwitting home front. Whilst on the surface Jasper is a kindly parochial choirmaster, underneath he is 'a Thug-a worshipper of Kali, the goddess of destruction — who has at least attempted to murder his nephew in a ritualistic garrotting.' That strangulation is selected here as the means of demise for his nephew Edwin Drood, touches upon another suffocating quality in the novel: the sumptuous and overwhelming imagery of the over-determined Orient, which threatens at every moment to choke off any local identity for Cloisterham, save for its Cathedral. The market town of Cloisterham, which serves as the fictional setting of the novel, is based closely on the real life English market town of Rochester. Its tower is an English placeholder of day-to-day existence, amidst the endless consumption of the East, taking place everywhere in the town. From Rosa's taste in Turkish sweets to Mrs. Crisparkle's medicinal-herb closet of Chinese curiosities, (which is periodically and erotically opened and closed up), much is made of the avid commerce between Oriental and English private spaces throughout the novel.

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