The Invisible Woman and Drood

With Ralph Fiennes’s big-screen adaptation of Clare Tomalin’s biography of Ellen Ternan set to premiere this month, it seemed an appropriate time to consider the question of Ellen’s role in Drood. Given the great lengths Dickens went to to keep his mystery lady out of the public eye, it is difficult to assess the influence of her […]

The Spirit of Dickens yet to come

The Holy Grail in Drood studies is authority – anyone can provide a solution but in theory there is only one correct solution, the one that Dickens took to the grave. With the absence of the author, authority can be (and has been) sought in other ways, either by referring to the notes left by […]

The sincerest form of flattery – Morford’s Collins-Dickens hybrid

Dickens was dead, and Drood was unfinished, with audiences clambering to know the ending while the publishers Chapman and Hall were denying the reader’s quest for closure. Their frank (and ultimately incorrect) statement at the end of the sixth number that ‘Beyond the clues therein afforded to its conduct or catastrophe, nothing whatever remains’ left […]

The first solution

When not fighting moral injustice, Dickens was having to fight pirates – no, sadly not the “ah-har Jim lad” variety, but literary pirates launching unauthorised versions of his tales while they were first appearing in print. All of Dickens’s novels were published initially in a serial format of either monthly or weekly instalments, which allowed plenty of […]