Pete Orford: The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Charles Dickens' Unfinished Novel and Our Endless Attempts to End It

Отправлено 20 авг. 2018 г., 10:50 пользователем Sven Karsten   [ обновлено 20 авг. 2018 г., 10:50 ]

This is a book about fanfiction, and the extraordinary response of readers to Charles Dickens’ final - and unfinished - book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Since its publication in 1870, there have been hundreds of theories about the existing fragment of the book, trying to argue for how they think the story might end. Depending on your level of cynicism, the volume of responses is either a damning indictment of reader infatuation and conspiracy theories, or a standing testament to the continued admiration and relevance of Dickens and his works. In truth, it is a little of both, and one of the more remarkable aspects of researching the many theories of Drood’s end is the recurring pattern in their structure - be it an article or monograph, the first ten percent of the argument is always a well-argued, objective overview of the theories that have come before, coupled with a sound recognition of how those earlier authors all lost objectivity and succumbed to their own ideas at the expense of any real evidence. The final ninety percent is then a slow descent into subjectivity as the author ultimately becomes everything they have just criticised, pushing their own ideas with the same manic level of certainty in their veracity. Indeed, for many years now Drood studies have been seen in relation to Dickens scholarship much as alchemy is seen to science - an important forebear to the field, of which many prominent figures have previously indulged, but one that most modem-day counterparts try to distance themselves from. Like Frankenstein, or any other scientist of the Hammer Horror genre, he who decides to investigate Drood is looked upon with an element of pity by those who know the ultimate end of all who try to unlock its mysteries, as methodical research in quiet libraries slowly but surely leads to standing in the laboratory of a lightning-struck castle screaming ‘He’s alive! EDWIN’S ALIIIIIIIIIVVVVVEEE!’

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