Item description for The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens & David Paroissien...
Edwin Drood is contracted to marry Orphan Rosa, but they break the engagement off-and soon afterwards Edwin disappears. Is it murder? And is his jealous uncle-a sinister choirmaster with a double life and designs on Rosa-the killer? Dickens died before completing the story, leaving the mystery unsolved and encouraging successive generations of readers to turn detective. In addition to its tantalizing crime, the novel also offers a characteristically Dickensian mix of the fantastical world of the imagination and a vibrantly journalistic depiction of gritty reality. This edition features a new critical introduction that assesses the evidence to show whether the mystery can truly be solved, as well as a chronology, illustrations, appendixes (including one on opium use in the nineteenth century). Edited with an introduction and notes by David Paroissien.
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Studio: Penguin Classics
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.77" Width: 5.09" Height: 1.02" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2002
Publisher Penguin Classics
ISBN 0140439269 ISBN13 9780140439267 UPC 051488008002
Availability 0 units.
More About Charles Dickens & David Paroissien
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation, but also the horror of the infamous debtors' prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and "slave" factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years' formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney's clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work. David Pascoe is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. He has also edited Thackeray's The Newcomers for Penguin Classics.
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and died in 1870.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Penguin Classics)?
Readers Left Stranded: Uninspired and Unfinished. Jul 20, 2007
As a suggestion, avoid the Penguin Popular Classics with the plain green covers (I bought two). They fall apart and do not stand up to a read, especially books over 500 pages - and they have no illustrations. The Regular Penguin Classics with the illustration on the front are excellent, and have maps, illustrations, and extensive analysis - sometimes 100 pages. The Wordsworth Classics are not as good.
I finished Edwin Drood by Dickens and was left scratching my head and wondering why this book is so terrible. After all it is written by Dickens. How can it be so bad?
Dickens has many works and this is down at the bottom of the pile. That is not just my opinion or crazy idea. Currently it ranks below rank #120 for Dickens books, over 110 spots below, for example, Oliver Twist and collections of short stories. That is, there are 120 Dickens novels, DVDs, and collections of stories ahead of it.
Edwin Drood is different. It was written about five years after all the others. It is his last novel. All the sympathetic children are missing here and the story is unfinished, maybe only half written. It is a dark novel in both plot and setting. The characters are mostly around 20 to 30 years in age and relatively lifeless or not fully developed since the novel is half finished. The children - made famous in Dickens novels - are replaced by two drug addicts. Even the villain John Jasper lacks any attraction, nor is he as interesting as other famous Dickens villains such as Uriah Heap in David Copperfield.
Edwin Drood and his fiancée, Rosa Bud, make rather weak appearances, and seem two dimensional. The story, which is set near a large cathedral, seems very gray and somber. The ending - as such as it is - is abrupt and ends in the middle of a page with everything left hanging - and too many questions are simply left unresolved and up in the air.
So, this is an unfinished story and not a very attractive story by comparison to Great Expectations or David Copperfield, or any of the great novels by Dickens. Clearly, the writing is a good in Edwin Drood - since it is Dickens doing the writing - but you need characters and a plot to make it interesting, and most of that is missing.
This is a slow and a mostly dreadful read.
A true mystery May 15, 2006
This is a deep and sordid tale, a tale of love and hate and indifference, of drugs and desire and (just possibly) murder. Edwin Drood feels trapped in a betrothal that was engineered by his dead father. Drood's uncle, John Jaspar, secretly loves Drood's fianc?e, Rosa Bud. The newly arrived Neville Landless has also fallen in love with Rosa, and hates Edwin for his indifference to her. And when Edwin disappears under strange and suspicious circumstances, it begins to look like murder. But, there is more here than meets the eye. Who has done what and why? It's a mystery.
And, to make matter worse, it will remain a mystery! This book was Charles Dickens' (1812-1870) last novel, and the great author died when the book was still only half finished. It has been the source of a great deal of speculation, and even a movie and a musical comedy. (Believe it or not!)
So, if you are a fan of mysteries, and want to read one that is truly a mystery - a you-decide-who-did-it - then this is the book for you. It is a very interesting read, and no doubt would have been considered another great Dickens book, if it had been finished. But, the sad fact is that it wasn't. So, if you are intrigued with the book, as I was, then be prepared to be disappointed with the lack of ending.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and am glad I read it. But, without an ending, there is no way that I can give this book 5 stars. So, let me just say that this is a good book, and I give it a guarded recommendation.
"I have been taking opium for a pain, an agony, that sometimes overcomes me." Oct 10, 2005
Set in Cloisterham, a cathedral town, Dickens's final novel, unfinished, introduces two elements unusual for Dickens--opium-eating and the church. In the opening scene, John Jasper, music teacher and soloist in the cathedral choir, awakens from an opium trance in a flat with two other semi-conscious men and their supplier, an old woman named Puffer, and then hurries off to daily vespers.
Jasper, aged twenty-six, is the uncle and guardian of Edwin Drood, only a few years younger. Drood has been the fiancé of Rosa Bud for most of his life, an arrangement made by his and Rosa's deceased fathers to honor their friendship, and the wedding is expected within the year. Jasper, Rosa's music teacher, is secretly in love with her, though she finds him repellent.
When two orphans, Helena and Neville Landless, arrive in Cloisterham, Helena and Rosa become friends, and Neville finds himself strongly attracted to the lovely Rosa. Ultimately, the hot-tempered Neville and Drood have a terrible argument in which Neville threatens Drood before leaving town on a walking trip. Drood vanishes the same day. Apprehended on his trip, Neville is questioned about Drood's disappearance, and Jasper accuses him of murder.
Tightly organized to this point, the novel shows Jasper himself to be a prime suspect, someone who could have engineered the evidence against Neville, but Dickens unexpectedly introduces some new characters at this point--the mysterious Dick Datchery and Tartar, an old friend of Rev. Mr. Crisparkle, minor canon at the cathedral. Puffer, the opium woman, is reintroduced and appears set to play a greater role, since she solicits information from the semi-conscious Jasper and secretly follows him. This is the halfway point in the projected novel, and Dickens clearly planned to develop these new (or reintroduced) characters to deepen the mystery.
More modern in many ways than his previous novels, the characters here are not simple stereotypes--some are good people who have real flaws and make mistakes. Dickens's tying of Jasper to the church choir, where he was a soloist, suggests some examination of the theme of hypocrisy, in which the good Mr. Crisparkle would be Jasper's antithesis. The opium scenes, vividly drawn, carry the unusual suggestion that opium leads to a kind of intoxication similar to that of alcohol, and Dicken does not use these scenes to offer dire warnings about the drug--at least at this point. Especially intriguing because it is unfinished, this novel continues to fascinate mystery lovers and literary scholars more than a century after its first publication. n Mary Whipple
A bit of a disappointment Mar 30, 2005
At the risk of sounding like a philistine, I really wanted to like _The Mystery of Edwin Drood_, but was disappointed by it. The plot was convoluted, made all the more difficult as the many loose ends are never tied up; many of the characters are, as a previous reviewer mentioned, a bit two-dimensional; and Dickens' social commentary of Victorian class inequities didn't strike a chord with me.
While I can understand the potential of the novel, and appreciate the appeal of the author, _Edwin Drood_ is not a book I would recommend for those wanting to read some Dickens.
More mysterious every time Dec 18, 2002
I've read this several times and this time it seems even more haunting. It would have been a relatively short novel for Dickens even if he had finished it, and the fragment gives the impression of being very carefully planned. There are no unnecessary scenes. Every character seems to havea point. The cathedral town is vivid. I ince visted Rochester on acold day and it was quite eerie having lunch in a restaurant that was actually a house in the book.
But who did it? This time I have noticed more clues. I am sure the answer is something like "The Moonstone". A murder committed under her influence of opium. Jasper seems to try the drug on Durdles (in the crypt) and on Neville and Edwin - who feel very strange after having wine with him. My money is on Neville being the killer - but under the influence of opium - so he actually does it, but Jasper is responsible. I assume Edwin ended up in the quicklime, but he could easily have escaped. It would be a bit daring to kill of an ionnocent character in a family novel. Jasper had wasted his time as Edwin does not want marry Rosa, so in the end I suspect Jasper would confess - but what would happen to Neville? Legally he would still be guilty, so I imagine he would go back to Ceylon. That would leave Rosa to marry Tartar and Crisparkle to marry Helena. Very neat. Oh, and then Bazzard would be Datchery (the black eyebrows...)
But like some other good mysteries there is a strangeness about this book which is beyond the actual plot. Wonderful.