Edward Marston: The Thorn of Anxiety

Отправлено 13 мар. 2014 г., 13:39 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 13 мар. 2014 г., 13:39 ]

FTER com­plet­ing Our Mu­tu­al Friend, Dick­ens threw him­self into his round of pub­lic read­ings, both in Britain and in Amer­i­ca. They were fi­nan­cial­ly very re­ward­ing, as they were to his ego, as he al­ways de­light­ed in pub­lic adu­la­tion, but they took a se­vere toll on his health. It a man in great pain who picked up his pen to start what would be his final novel, The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood.

It is set in Clois­ter­ham, the name Dick­ens gave to Rochester in Kent, near his home at Gads Hill. Edwin Drood and Rosa Bud are an en­dear­ing young cou­ple promised to each other in mar­riage by the terms of their re­spec­tive par­ents wills. Un­known to Edwin, he has a rival for Rosas af­fec­tion, his uncle and guardian, John Jasper, her music teach­er. Jasper is the Cathe­drals choir­mas­ter but is also an opium ad­dict, ac­quir­ing the drug from an old woman called Princess Puffer. He­le­na and Neville Land­less, dark-skinned or­phans from Cey­lon, are sent to Clois­ter­ham by their guardian. Neville is to be tu­tored by the Dean of the Cathe­dral, Sep­ti­mus Crisparkle, while He­le­na joins Rosa and the other pupils at Miss Twin­kle­tons Sem­i­nary for Young Ladies. As soon as he meets her, Neville falls in love with Rosa. He there­fore takes of­fence when Edwin ap­pears to be in­dif­fer­ent to his be­trothed. A fierce row de­vel­ops be­tween the two men. John Jasper ar­rives to calm them down yet he later pro­vokes a quar­rel be­tween them. On Christ­mas Eve, Edwin and Neville go down to the river to watch a storm rag­ing. And that is the last any­one sees of Edwin Drood.

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