Andrei Baltakmens: The Mysterious Finality of Edwin Drood

Отправлено 25 июл. 2013 г., 12:42 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 25 июл. 2013 г., 12:42 ]

At the end of his ca­reer Dick­ens be­gins but is un­able to com­plete The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood. The mys­tery so con­tained is unas­sail­able. Mor­tal fa­tal­i­ty in­ter­venes and de­feats crit­i­cism, It is not my in­ten­tion to argue, there­fore, that Edwin Drood is in any artis­tic sense a cul­mi­na­tion of the de­vel­op­ment of Dick­ens's art. It was not the point where Dick­ens's de­vel­op­ment of mys­tery tech­niques was al­ways lead­ing to, rather, sim­ply the place where this de­vel­op­ment was brought to an ar­bi­trary halt, and mere­ly an­oth­er point in the con­tin­u­um of Dick­ens's writ­ing. Thus, by be­gin­ning at the end of Dick­ens's ca­reer, I hope to evade the covert tele­ol­o­gy that can come to in­form any study of the treat­ment of an idea in the work of one au­thor. My aim is to at­tempt to un­pick the thread of Dick­en­sian mys­tery by be­gin­ning with the work which is, even to its title, most overt­ly a mys­tery novel. The sin­gu­lar­i­ty of mys­tery in this case al­lows us to con­cen­trate ini­tial­ly on is­sues of nar­ra­tive, yet at the same time Edwin Drood is, as I have al­ready in­di­cat­ed, in one sense a sig­nif­i­cant de­par­ture from Dick­ens's old urban and in­sti­tu­tion­al con­cerns. In Edwin Drood the psy­che of Jasper is at the cen­tre of the mys­tery, and a read­ing for mys­tery in the novel must be a read­ing of the ca­reer of the trou­bled mind of the mur­der­er. It is in the next chap­ter on Our Mu­tu­al Friend that the mul­ti­plic­i­ty of mys­ter­ies in the urban nar­ra­tive will be­come ap­par­ent. In Edwin Drood, we do see the point where the sprawl­ing urban mys­ter­ies have given way to the fo­cused mys­tery of de­tec­tive fic­tion.

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