‘Mrs Crisparkle’s Closet’

Earlier contributors to this blog like John and Holly have already noted some of the interesting ways in which the letterpress of The Mystery of Edwin Drood connects with the advertisements bound in with the monthly instalment, making us aware of the novel’s production and consumption within a rapidly developing commodity culture. The third monthly …

Third Monthly Number June 1870

What is striking about this third monthly part is how much Dickens manages to pack into 32 pages and how much he demands from his readers. First of all the variety of tone and scene. We begin in Cloisterham, where the Rev Septimus tries to repair the damage Neville has done to his reputation by …

Eye of the Tiger? Reconciling the Muscular Christian and the “Mummy’s Boy”

Rereading the second monthly part this afternoon, I was immediately struck (pardon the pun) by the opening scene of the Reverend Septimus Crisparkle ‘assisting his circulation by boxing at a looking-glass with great science and prowess’. The first time I read the novel, many moons ago, I can be forgiven for not catching this reference …

Second monthly number: case review

The second case notes are now ready and uploaded (see them at http://droodinquiry.com/case_review/notes_two.php), and what a job it is to summarise so much in so short a space! Inevitably with each additional instalment the story becomes harder to summarise as more characters enter the fray – this is particularly an issue this month with the Crisparkle’s …

Is it coz I is black? Ethics and ethnics in Drood.

          This month the Landless twins arrived, bringing with them an elephant into the room. No, not Honeythunder (I always saw him as more of a bull) – I’m talking about race. When they first arrive Dickens describes them as ‘very dark and rich in colour; she of almost the gypsy …

2nd Monthly Part: May 1870

Widdy Warnings: The Death of the Author and Men of Business The first monthly part leaves Mr Jasper and the reader “to ponder on the instalment” we’ve had of Mr Sapsea’s wisdom, an instalment containing his shaped poem (I’m convinced Pete), in eulogy for his wife (or election poster for himself, lovely suggestion Sven). This …

Tomb Raiders

What primarily struck me about this instalment is the melancholy sense of stasis, wearisomeness, decrepitude and decomposition. It is tempting, but possibly facile, to read this tone as the sadness, or heightened sense of mortality, of an increasingly unwell, middle-aged man – a literary foreshadowing of the author’s impending death. Yet, this sense of a …

First monthly number: case review

Today on the Drood Inquiry you can see the first part of our case notes – a graphic summary of the first monthly part and its main plot points (see http://www.droodinquiry.com/case_review/ ). At present of course our followers are all taking the opportunity to read the full text in its original instalments, but when the …

The tenderer scandal of Cloisterham: two early reviews

We’ve been sharing our own initial response to month one of Drood (see https://cloisterhamtales.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/first-monthly-number-april-1870/), but what did Dickens’s contemporaries make of it? It was usual practice at the time for reviews to appear only after the final instalment had been published – so the fact that we have reviews for the first month at all …

First monthly number: April 1870

‘Back to the big brushes’ was Dickens’s observation as he prepared to start composing Our Mutual Friend* in monthly parts in 1863, having previously written two novels on the trot in weekly parts. I’m reminded of this because I’m coming to this exciting Drood Inquiry parallelproject having previously been involved in blogging about one of …