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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Dickens’s last and incomplete novel has generated a remarkable number of theories regarding the missing end. This chapter explores the ways in which responses to the novel have evolved, dividing them broadly into four groups: the opportunists, the detectives, the academics, and the irreverent. It explores the solutions for their implicit criticism regarding how The Mystery of Edwin Drood should be interpreted, examining the conflicting ideas which have arisen about what genre the book falls into, or what other works it most closely resembles. It closes with a call to recognize and celebrate the comedy in Edwin Drood as a necessary balance to the prolonged morbid fascination with the final book of Dickens.

Keywords: Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, genre, culture-text, comic interlude, unfinished novels, detective fiction.

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